By Reiner Knizia In the Land of the Pharaohs

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By Reiner Knizia
In the Land of the Pharaohs

Amun-Re takes place in ancient Egypt during the time of the Pharaohs. Players take on the role of rival Dynasties. During the course of the game, they will use their influence to take control of different Provinces and erect Pyramids. As soon as each player controls 3 Provinces, the Old Kingdom ends and a first scoring round takes place. Points are awarded, especially for completed Pyramids. Then the entire board is emptied, with the exception of Pyramids and Building Blocks. The second half of the game begins with the New Kingdom. The game plays in the same way, and ends with a second scoring round. The player with the most points is the winner of the game.
Game Components

66 Gold Cards (18 x 1, 12 x 2, 12 x 5, 9 x 10, 10 x 20, 5 x -3

39 Power Cards

n.b. backs of Gold and Power Cards are identical.

15 Province Cards

15 Single Pyramids

15 Double Pyramids

15 Building Blocks for Pyramids

10 Player Blocks in the 5 Player colours (1 Bidding Block and one Scoring Block in each)

1 Amun-Re Temple

1 Pharaoh for the Starting Player

15 Province Markers in the 5 Player colours (3 each)

45 Farmers

5 Summary Cards

1 Board

1 Rules
Note – throughout these rules I have used ‘he’ to represent he, she or it. No offence is meant!
Setting Up

Before the first game, all the cardboard pieces must be popped out of the frames. The Amun-Re Temple and the Pharaoh must be assembled as they consist of two pieces each.

The Playing Board is laid out in the middle of the table.
Each player takes one ‘Master Builder’ card from the Power Card deck into his hand – the rest of the Power Cards are shuffled and placed face down next to the board.
The 15 Province Cards are shuffled and placed face down next to the board.
All the Pyramids, Building Blocks and Farmers are placed near the board.
Each player chooses a colour and takes the 2 Player Blocks and 3 Province Markers of that colour, as well as an Summary Card, and Gold Cards to the value of 20, plus one -3 Card. Each player places one of their Player Blocks on the ‘0’ space of the scoring track as a Scoring Block.
The oldest player sorts the Gold Cards into their respective values and acts as banker for the rest of the game. With less than 5 players, the remaining -3 cards are placed back in the box, as they are not required.
The Amun-Re Temple is placed on the space to the left of the Temple Track.
The oldest player takes the Pharaoh, and becomes the Starting Player for the first Round.
The Details of the Playing Board and when they are needed.

Phase 1 and 2

  • Symbol and Name of Province

  • Free Power Card

  • Free Building Block

  • Free Power Card and Free Gold

Phase 3

  • Power Card (to buy)

  • Cultivation Area (for farmers)

  • Flat Land (for pyramids)

  • Price Table

Phase 4

  • Temple Track

  • Start Space for Amun-Re Temple

Phase 5

  • 2 farmers (BAHARYA)

  • Income (guaranteed)

  • Income (not guaranteed)

Phase 6

  • Temple in the Province

  • Dividing Line between Lower and Upper Egypt

  • Scoring Track

Playing the Game

The game is divided into two halves, one in each of the Old and the New Kingdom. Each half consists of 3 Rounds, and each Round consists of 5 or 6 Phases :-

Phase 1 – Reveal the Province Cards

Phase 2 – Acquisition of the revealed Provinces

Phase 3 – Player Actions (purchase and use of Power Cards, Farmers and Building Blocks)

Phase 4 – Offering to Amun-Re

Phase 5 – The Harvest and other Income

Phase 6 – Scoring (only at the end of 1st and 2nd game halves.)
After 3 Rounds, the Old Kingdom ends, and the Provinces are scored. In the New Kingdom a further 3 Rounds are played, after which the Provinces are scored once again, to end the game.
1st Game Half – The Old Kingdom
Phase 1 – Reveal the Province Cards
The starting player draws the same number of cards from the face-down deck of Province Cards as there are players, and places these on their respective Provinces on the board.

In some Provinces, additional Free Power Cards (BUTO, DAKHLA, EDFU, THEBES – 2 cards each), Free Building Blocks (ABYDOS, MEMPHIS – 2 stones each) or Free Gold (DAKHLA – 12 Gold) are placed. The free materials are only placed in the provinces indicated by symbol(s) in a box. The Free Power Cards are drawn face down from the deck and placed, still face down, underneath the Province Card. The Free Building Blocks and Free Gold are taken from the general supply and placed in the Provinces.


The following 4 Province Cards are revealed, and placed in the appropriately named Provinces. (4-player game)

In BAHARYA Province there are already 2 Farmers printed on the board. There are no Free Materials (no box showing Free Materials).

In DAKHLA Province, 12 Free Gold and 1 face down Free Power Card are placed.

In ABYDOS Province 1 Free Building Stone is placed.

In SAWU Province, as in BAHARYA, no Free Material is placed.

Phase 2 – Acquisition of the Revealed Provinces
Each Player acquires exactly one Province. How does this work?

The Starting Player takes his Offering Stone and places it on one of the value spaces on any one of the face up Province Cards. Thus he has placed a bid. The other players follow in a clockwise direction.

  • Each one in turn places his Bidding Block on any vacant number space on one of the Province Cards.

  • If a Bidding Block is placed on a Province Card on which Bidding Blocks have already been placed by other players, then it must be placed on a higher value space than the existing Blocks.

After each player has placed their Bidding Blocks, players check to see if any player has been out-bid. If this is not the case, then the Bidding Phase ends and each player takes possession of their province. However, if at least one player was outbid, then the Bidding Phase continues. Going in a clockwise direction, each player that was outbid places their Bidding Stone on another Province Card, as before. The stone may not be placed on the Province it was just outbid on, and when placed on a new Province card, must be placed in the highest position (if available). Thus it continues in a clockwise direction, omitting those players who were not overbid. When there is only one Bidding Block on each Province Card, then each player takes possession of their own Province.


In the first Bidding Round, Red began and placed his Bidding Block on the ‘3’ space in ABYDOS. Black chose to place his on the ‘1’ space in SAWU. Blue outbid Red in ABYDOS and placed his Bidding Block on the ‘6’ space. White outbid Blue in his turn, and placed his Bidding Block on the ‘10’ space in ABYDOS.

In the second Bidding Round it is now Red’s turn, and he must choose another Province Card. He places his Bidding Block on the ‘0’ space in DAKHLA. Now it is Blue’s turn. He places his Bidding Block on the ‘6’ space in SAWU and thereby outbids Black.
In the third Bidding Round, Black must find a new Province. He decides on BAHARYA and therefore places his Bidding Block on the ‘0’ space. Now there is one Bidding Block on each of the Province Cards and the Bidding Phase is over. Each player now pays the appropriate amount and takes their Province.
White pays 10 Gold, Blue pays 6 Gold, Red and Black pay nothing.
Players pay the required Gold to the bank, and take back their Bidding Blocks. The Province Cards are placed face up in a discard pile next to the face-down deck of Province Cards. Each player then puts one of his Province Markers on the Symbol Space of the Province he has just bought. If there is a Free Power Card or Free Gold symbol in the Province, the player takes these into his hand, as indicated. If there are Free Building Block symbols, the blocks are placed in the Province. The player can use them in Phase 3 to build a Pyramid.
Players must not bid higher than they can afford to pay. If this occurs, the offending player must give up all his Gold, and the Bidding Round starts again.
Note: In Phase 2, the Power Cards ‘Bid Blockade’ and ‘Outbid in the Same Province’ can be played. See ‘Description of the Power Cards’.

Phase 3: Player Actions (Purchase and use of Power Cards, Farmers and Building Blocks)
Beginning with the Starting Player, each player can now carry out the following 3 actions in the indicated order: Buy and Use Power Cards, Farmers and Building Blocks. Each player carries out all of his desired actions. Then the next player takes their turn in a clockwise direction. A player can carry out less than 3 actions or forego carrying out any action if they wish.
The prices for items are always the same – 1 piece of any type (Card, Farmer or Block) costs 1 Gold, 2 pieces cost 3 Gold, 3 pieces cost 6 Gold etc. (see Price Table on the board.) More than 7 pieces can also be bought (8 pieces cost 36 Gold, 9 pieces cost 45 Gold, 10 pieces cost 55 Gold etc.)

2 Power Cards cost 3 Gold - 4 Farmers cost 10 Gold - 3 Blocks cost 6 Gold

The player pays a total of 19 Gold.
Action a. Buying and Using Power Cards

A Player may buy Power Cards. Purchased Power Cards can be played immediately or my be retained for later Rounds. Power cards always feature positive actions, which can be used in different rounds. How and when Power Cards can be used is explained in detail on page 12.

How many Power Cards can a player acquire? The highest number (card limit) that is shown in the top margin of the Provinces controlled by a player is the highest number of cards that player can hold.

In Round 3, Red owns MEMPHIS, AMARNA and AVARIS Provinces. He can buy up to 3 Power Cards, because MEMPHIS’ card limit is 3, which is the highest.

In Round 2, Blue owns BUTO and MENDES Provinces and therefore cannot buy any Power Cards, because no Power Cards are shown in the top margin of either Province (card limit = 0)
A player may hold as many Power Cards in his hand as he wishes. When played, a Power Card is put on a discard pile, face up near the face down Power Card draw pile.

Players may discard Power Cards at any time during the game. For each Power Card discarded to the discard pile, the player receives 1 Gold from the Bank.

If the face down draw pile is exhausted, the discarded Power Cards are shuffled and turned over to form a new draw pile.
Action b. Buying and Using Farmers

A player may buy Farmers, who will bring him Gold at Harvest. If he buys any, he must place them immediately. He announces how many he wishes to purchase, and pays the price according to the Price Table on the board. He may then distribute them as he wishes amongst his provinces. However, each province may only take as many farmers as it has free Cultivation Spaces. Exception – ‘Free Farmer’ (see ‘Description of Power Cards’ on page 12).


Red owns BAHARYA and BERENIKE Provinces. So far, no Farmers have been placed in these provinces, however there are two already printed in BAHARYA, which Red does not have to buy. He buys 2 Farmers, therefore pays 3 Gold to the Bank and places the 2 Farmers on BAHARYA. No Farmers can be placed in BERENIKE, as there are no Cultivation Spaces in this Province. Exception – if Red plays the ‘Free Farmer’ Power Card, he can put one on BERENIKE, placing it on the flat land.

Note: the ‘Free Farmer’ Power Card can be used here (see ‘Description of the Power Cards) .
Action c. Buying and using Building Blocks

A player may buy Building Blocks in order to build Pyramids, which score points in both Scoring Phases of the game.

If a player buys Building Blocks, he must place them immediately. He announces how many he wishes to purchase, and pays the price according to the Price Table on the board. He may then place them as he wishes in his provinces. As soon as a player has 3 Building Blocks in a Province, he immediately returns the Blocks to the general pile, and places a Pyramid in their place. If a player builds a second Pyramid in a Province, he replaces the Single Pyramid with a Double Pyramid, as long as there is one left in the general pile. Pyramids and Building Blocks may not be moved from one Province to another.

In MEMPHIS there are two Building Blocks and in MENDES there is one Pyramid and one Building Block. Red buys 3 Building Blocks (paying 6 Gold). He places one Building Block in MEMPHIS. There are now 3 Blocks there, so he exchanges them for a Pyramid. He places the other two Blocks in MENDES so he has a total of 3 Building Blocks there. He exchanges them also for a Pyramid (and can exchange his two Single Pyramids for a Double Pyramid.)

Note:The ‘Master Builder’ Power Card can be used here (see ‘Description of the Power Cards’ .)
Phase 4: Offering to Amun-Re
Now an offering must be made to Amun-Re. The success or failure of the Harvest depends on the level of the Offering. How does this take place?

Each player must choose one or more of their Gold cards or the ‘ -3’ card and place them face down in front of themselves. The ‘ -3’ card must be played on its own! (Exception: ‘Change the Offering). In order to keep the number of cards offered secret, players may cover them with their hand. Any errors made are considered to be an Offering of -3.

Now all players reveal their Gold cards. The total of all the Gold cards (including ‘-3’ cards) is the value of the Offering. The Amun-Re Temple is moved to the space on the Temple Track corresponding to the Offering total.

Offering Bids

Red: 9 Gold

Blue: 4 Gold

Black: -3 Gold

White: -3 Gold
Total Offering: 7 Gold
The Amun-Re Temple is moved to the second space on the Temple Track, because the Offering is in the 3 – 12 range.
Amun-Re now rewards the players who have brought him the largest offerings with Power Cards, Farmers and Building Blocks. The player with the highest bid may take 3 items of his choice in any combination; (e.g he can take 2 Farmers and 1 Building Block, or 3 Power Cards.) Next, the player with the second highest bid may take 2 items of his choice, then all other players who have not offered their -3 card may take one item each.

In the case of two or more players offering the same amount, the Starting player always has the advantage, or the next player following him in a clockwise direction.

A player who lays a ‘-3’ does not take an item (he has stolen 3 Gold from Amun-Re’s Offering). He draws 3 Gold from the Bank.
Specific Rules when drawing Items:

  • If a player draws Power Cards, he is not bound by the Card Limit in his Provinces.

  • If a player draws Farmers, they must be placed on unoccupied Cultivation Areas in his Province. The ‘Free Farmer’ Power Card cannot be played now!

  • If a player draws Building Blocks, they must be placed immediately in one or more of his Provinces. If this results in 3 or more Building Blocks being in a Province, they must immediately be exchanged for a Pyramid. The ‘Master Builder’ Power Card cannot be used now!

The player who bid the most gold will be the new Starting Player, and becomes Pharaoh. If all players bid ‘ -3’, the Starting Player does not change. The offered Gold is put in the Bank.

Note: The Power Card ‘Change the Offering’ can be played during Phase 4. Following is a brief explanation, but see also ‘Description of the Power Cards’.

What is it, and what does it do?

A player lays the ‘Change the Offering’ card together with his chosen Gold cards or the’-3’ card, face down in front of him (this is the only exception to the rule that the ‘-3’ card must be played on its own). After the calculation of the value of the Offering, any player who has played a ‘Change the Offering’ card, beginning with the Starting Player, says if he wants to increase or decrease the total value of the Offering by 3 Gold. The total is then amended accordingly.

Attention: the ‘Change the Offering’ card always changes the total value of the offering, and does not affect the individual bid of the player playing the card.
Phase 5: The Harvest and Additional Income
Beginning with the Starting Player each player now draws Gold from the Bank. There are two types of income – Harvest Payments and Other Income. Harvest Payments are made wherever there is a Farmer. Other Income comes from Provinces where there is a picture of a coin, with or without a camel. Some Provinces deliver both types of Income (e.g ABU).
Harvest Payments:

For each Farmer in his Province, a player is entitled to the number of Gold indicated by Amun-Re’s Temple.

Additional Income

The owners of ABU and BERENIKE Provinces always receive 4 or 8 Gold.

The owners of KHARGA, SAWU, and AVARIS Provinces receive 5, 7 or 8 Gold if Amun-Re’s Temple is on the first or second space of the Temple Track. A camel is pictured on these spaces as well as on the Province to indicate this. (The ancient Egyptians would sell camels during a bad harvest.)

Attention: Players receive this additional income regardless of whether they have Farmers in their Provinces or not.

The Amun-Re Temple is on the second space of the Temple Track and Red owns MEMPHIS, ABU and SAWU.

The position of the Amun-Re Temple means that each Farmer earns 2 Gold as Harvest Payment. SAWU also earns 7 Gold in Additional Income (because of the camel!)
Red earns:


1 Farmer 2 Gold


2 Farmers 4 Gold

Additional Income 4 Gold


Additional Income 7 Gold

Red earns a total: 17 Gold
Note: The Power Cards ‘8 Gold’ and ‘Harvest Increase’ can be played in Phase 5 (see ‘Description of the Power Cards’).
When all players have received their Income, the next round begins at Phase 1. Phase 6 only takes place at the end of the first and second halves of the game.
Phase 6: Scoring (only at the end of the first and second game halves).
During scoring, players earn points, which are marked on the scoring track.

Points are earned for the following:

  1. For Pyramids

Each Pyramid is worth 1 Point. (4 Pyramids = 4 Points)

  1. For complete lines of Pyramids

Each complete line of Pyramids (one Pyramid in each of a player’s Provinces) is worth 3 Points. Each further complete line is also worth 3 Points.
Complete Line 3 Points

Complete Line 3 Points

Incomplete Line 0 Points
Red earns 6 Points
(For reasons of clarity, no Double Pyramids are shown in this example).

  1. For the Province with the most Pyramids, both west of the Nile and east of the Nile.

The owner of the Province earns 5 Points. If there is more than one Province with the highest number of Pyramids, the number of Building Blocks in the Province is counted. If there is still a tie, then all tied players receive 5 Points each.
West of the Nile Blue owns the Province with the most Pyramids (EDFU).

East of the Nile both Blue and White own Provinces with the most Pyramids and Building Blocks (ABU and BERENIKE).

Blue gets 10 Points

White gets 5 Points

  1. For temples in the Provinces of DAMANHUR, EDFU and AMARNA

A Temple is worth 1, 2, 3 or 4 Points depending on the space that Amun Re’s Temple is on on the Temple Track at the end of the first and second halves of the game.
Black gets 3 Points for each Temple in DAMANHUR

Black gets 6 Points

  1. For Bonus Power Cards

Each of these cards is worth 3 Points, as long as their condition is fulfilled.

  1. For Gold (Gold is only counted at the end of the second half of the game – on other words, at the end.

The player with the most Gold gets 6 Points. The player with the second highest amount of Gold gets 4 Points, and the player with the third highest amount gets 2 Points. The other players receive nothing. In the case of a tie, all tied players get the full amount – the next position is then void.

For example: 2 players have the most Gold. Both receive 6 Points. The player with the second highest amount only receives 2 Points.
Example of Scoring in the second half.

Blue plays the following Bonus Power Cards:

Blue gets the following Points:

1. He has built 7 Pyramids 7 Points

2. He has 1 complete line of Pyramids 3 Points

3. He has the Provinces with the most Pyramids:

West of the Nile 5 Points

East of the Nile 5 Points

4. He has a temple in EDFU. The Amun-Re Temple

is on the first space of the Temple Track 1 Point

5. He has played 2 Bonus Power Cards, and

their conditions are fulfilled 6 Points

6. We assume that he has the least Gold of 4 players 0 Points
Blue gets 27 Points
Between the Old and the New Kingdom
After the Scoring Phase of the first half of the game, all players remove their Province Markers from the board. All farmers are removed from the board and returned to the general pile. The Pyramids and Building Blocks are left where they are. They are acquired when the Province is purchased under the New Kingdom.

All the revealed Province Cards from the Old Kingdom are shuffled and placed face down to form a new Province deck fro the New Kingdom. Attention: Any unplayed Province Cards from the Old Kingdom (only in a 3 or 4 player game) are not used in the New Kingdom and should be returned to the box.

2nd Game Half – The New Kingdom
This half plays exactly as the Old Kingdom. The Starting Player begins the 1st Round with Phase 1.
End of the Game and Final Scoring
The game ends at the end of the second half, therefore after 6 rounds.
The player whose Scoring Block is furthest along the Scoring Track is the winner. If there is a tie, then the player with the most Pyramids is the winner. If there is still a tie, then Building Blocks are counted. In the event of there still being a tie, then several winners are announced …
Description of the Power Cards
Generally, and additionally to those already described, the following conditions apply to Power Cards:

  • They may only be used in the indicated Phases

  • They can be exchanged for Gold with the Bank at any time (1 card is worth 1 Gold)

  • A player can never play 2 identical Power Cards at the same time.


In Phase 3 (Player Actions) a player plays a ‘Master Builder’ card and converts 2 Building Blocks into a Pyramid. He has another ‘Master Builder’ card, but he cannot now play it here, nor in another Province.


In Phase 6 (Scoring) a player plays a ‘Farmer Bonus’ card. He has another ‘Farmer Bonus’ card in his hand. He cannot now play this, although he can play other Bonus Power Cards.

Power Cards [I have included the German titles in square brackets]
Bid Blockade (x2) [Bietblockade]

Other players must outbid this player by at least 2 spaces higher on the Province card. If the owner of the Province changes the Province card, this Power card also applies to the new Province.

Use in Phase 2.

Free Farmer (x5) [Gratisbauer]

The player takes one free Farmer from the general pile. He must immediately place it on the flat land of one of his Provinces.

Use in Phase 3.
Change the Offering (x4) [Opferkorrektur]

This card can change the total value of the Offering by plus or minus 3 Gold.

Use in Phase 4.
Harvest Increase (x5) [Erntesteigerung]

The player lays this card in one of his Provinces. The Harvest Payment in this Province is increased by 1 Gold per Farmer.

Use in Phase 5.
Farmer Bonus (x2) [Bauernbonus]

If a player has at least 9 Farmers in his Provinces, he gets 3 Points.

Use in Phase 6.
Province Bonus – West or East of the Nile (x2) [Provinzbonus – Nilseite]

If a player’s 3 Provinces all lie West of the Nile, or if they all lie East of the Nile, he gets 3 Points.

Use in Phase 6.
Outbid in the Same Province (x2) [Überbieten in gleicher Provinz]

The player may outbid players on the same Province card. They do not therefore have to change cards when re-bidding.

Use in Phase 2.
Master Builder (x8) [Baumeister]

The player may exchange 2 Building Blocks in one Province in return for a Pyramid.

Use in Phase 3.
8 Gold (x3)

The player lays this card in one of his Provinces and receives 8 Gold. The Harvest Payment and Additional Income still take place in this Province.

Use in Phase 5
Power Card Bonus (x2) [Machtkartenbonus]

If a player has at least 7 Power Card Symbols in his 3 Provinces (Power Cards in the top border, plus Free Power Cards), he gets 3 Points.

Use in Phase 6
Province Bonus – Upper / Lower Egypt (x2) [Provinzbonus Unter-/Oberägypten]

If a player’s 3 Provinces all lie in Upper Egypt, or if they all lie in Lower Egypt, he gets 3 Points.

Use in Phase 6.
Province Bonus – Bank of the Nile [Provinzbonus Nilufer]

If a player’s 3 Provinces all lie on the bank of the Nile, or if none of them lie on the Bank of the Nile, he gets 3 Points.

Use in Phase 6.

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