Monday, August 9, 2021

Excitement Reigns! The Mummy's Curse™️ Board Game

While visiting fine artists Frank Holmes and Jill Mackie last week I was introduced to a unique board game called The Mummy's Curse™️. It has all the elements you want in a game, including that undefinable "cool" factor. I mean, who hasn't been fascinated by the Sphinx and Great Pyramid at one time in their lives?

The Mummy's Curse is a family board game that has been designed to be easy enough for kids yet interesting enough for adults. As you can see in the photos here there's a Sphinx, a Pyramid, a Golden Mummy, and a Curse. 

The goal, if you want to play, is to break the Curse by taking the Mummy from its Burial Chamber in the Pyramid, then get back safely to the Start/Finish with it. To achieve this players must equip themselves with Supplies and Answer a Question from the Sphinx.

Whereas the game is an entirely new entity, it has some traditional elements, such as moving pieces around the outside rim as in Sorry or Monopoly. As in Monopoly, which has Community Chest and Chance cards, this game has a number of cards as follows.

The Sphinx's Questions are on cards (all different) that each player receives. The answer to a Question is on two other cards that rhyme with each other and with the Question. (The Sphinx is very clever.) The cards are drawn as players roll a die and move around the outer path. Answering the Question is a primary objective.

It is equally important to gather Supplies, which you can do by landing on a Supply square and rolling a certain number. When a player has Answered the Question and gathered the necessary Supplies, the player gets to present him or herself to the Sphinx, receive Amulets and proceed to the Pyramid.

While all this is going on, Eye cards are being drawn as well. Eye cards are valuable and allow players to do many things. For example, the Freeze card allows you to stop another player for two turns. The "Go Where You Want" card lets you do just that. The "Wild Card" let's you move one to six spaces without rolling the die. And then there's the "Help Yourself" card, a nasty little maneuver that allows you to take an Answer card or Answer Rhyme from another player. Finally there's a "Supply Grant!" card, which will assist you in getting the Supplies you need the most. 

The first player to reach the Pyramid lifts it from its place and sets it on its side. Underneath is a chart which is now visible. The Chart shows which supplies are required to traverse a labyrinth-like network of paths to reach the Burial Chamber. (Who doesn't like labyrinths?) Once there, the two sarcophagi must be removed to expose the Golden Mummy. Whoever lifts the inner sarcophagi gets to take the Mummy, as well as the special Blue Amulet it rests on... and heads for the Start/Finish.

This last dash, however, is not so easy. Other players want it and may take it by landing on whoever has it. (Don't despair. You can get it back.) The Mummy can also be lost to the Curse if a certain number, established in the Burial Chamber, is rolled. Amulets, including the special one, offer protection but it's a treacherous time. The Mummy is almost certain to change hands in this final phase of the game. You may be assisted by Eye cards here, if you have held on to them. Oftentimes players who thought they were without hope come back an win. 

Created and perfected in Narrowsburg, New York
To quote Sir Winston Churchill here: "Never, never, never, never give up." 

* * * 

One of my earliest published articles, and the first for which I was paid, was titled Make a Game of It. My theme was that teaching can be fun when we use a little creativity to make a game of it. Over the years I created a number of games, and it was fun to see the intriguing project Frank Holmes and Jill Mackie had concocted as you can see here.

"We've played it hundreds of times," Jill said, the primary aim being continuous improvement. 

If you're a board game publisher, this is a game that's ready for prime time. 


Frank and Jill get the ball rolling. 1988.
Long ago in very ancient Egypt, there ruled a pharaoh who cared more for gold than anything else in the world. He put a terrible curse of greed on his people, from which they suffered greatly, fighting amongst themselves for wealth and power. When he died his mummified body was wrapped in bands of gold and buried deep within a massive pyramid--to be guarded forever by an all-knowing sphinx.

Now, many centuries later, the dreadful curse still emanates from the pharaoh's tomb and greed has enveloped the entire world--you may have noticed it yourself! The only way to end this plague of avarice is to find the golden mummy and to take it from its chamber of evil power, away from the pyramid to, according to legend, the very place the curse began.

So, players, an exciting and ennobling experience awaits you. Prepares well and honor the sphinx's demands, which will allow you to enter the pyramid. Your task is not an easy one and pitfalls await--any or all of you may succumb to the debilitating effects of greed. Whatever happens, remember your one and only goal is to break the curse!

Related Links

Veteran Painter Frank Holmes Discusses His Prix de Rome and Life as an Artist

"Paintings Now & Before: Figures, Flowers, Landscapes" and an Introduction to Jill Mackie

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