Sailing Toward Osiris Kickstarter Preview

Sailing to Osiris
Daily Magic Games
W. David MacKenzie
Denis Martynets
2–5 Players

With over two weeks to go on its campaign and very nearly funded, Sailing to Osiris is a worker placement game set after the passing of the great Pharaoh .  The players will erect monuments in the late leader’s honor over the course of four seasons, as the funerary barge approaches the great pyramid.

Sailing Toward Osiris

**Kickstarter prototype advisory! – We received this very well-made prototype from the folks at Daily Magic for this preview.  Final components not shown, but knowing them, will be awesome**

Jess:  So, its a game all about honoring a great king?

Andrew:  Nah, it’s a game about squabbling governors vying for power.

Jess:  Oh…so it’s a cut-throat game of political intrigue?

Andrew:  Nopers.  It’s all about decorating a river.

Jess:  See, that I can get excited about!

In Sailing to Osiris, 2-5 players will act as these governors, controlling workers to gather resources and build monuments.  The game, played over 4 rounds, features several possible actions available to each player, and centers around gathering resources and then spending those resources to erect structures to honor the dead king.

Like most professional bureaucrats, the governors need laborers to actually get anything done.  Each season begins with players drawing laborers from a bag.  Laborers are different colors based on the resource they specialize in, and some are designated as ‘master’ laborers, who can be used to better effect than their mundane counterparts.

The actions available on each turn are:

  • Harvest a resource: Place a laborer on a terrain space to get the resources that space produces.
  • Visit a city: By sending a laborer to a city, the player draws 2 city cards, keeps one and gives the other to another player.  City cards are all beneficial.
  • Hire a laborer:  Spend 2 resources to gain 1 laborer
  • Trade:  Using the market prices indicated on the board, pay one set of resources to get another.
  • Lead/Join a Caravan:  Send a laborer to gain the resources of the caravan.  The first player to place is the leader.  Anyone who joins also gains resources, but must pay one to the leader.
  • Plan a Monument:  Pay the resource cost to place one of your monument pieces on the planning cartouche.  This stops any other player from planning a monument using that particular cartouche.
  • Build a Monument:  Move one of your monuments from the planning cartouche to a valid spot on the board.  Different monuments have different rules about placement, with bonus points for building in the current segment of the river that the barge sits, as well as opportunities for scoring points based on area control at the end of the game.
  • Play a City Card:  For either the depicted resource or the power described on the card
  • Play a Boon Card:  Each player has the same boon cards, and you cannot play a card that has been previously played in the round.
  • Withdraw:  End your activity for the current season (round).  If you are the first to do this, you gain some bonuses and become first player in the next season

Andrew:  So, that must seem like a lot of options per turn.

Jess:  And it is!  But fortunately, Sailing to Osiris is a snappy game, and we found that turns tend to go by very quickly.  While it’s true that the placement of other players’ pieces can definitely impact your choices, you still have a good ability to plan ahead, and most turns moved quick.

Andrew:  Absolutely!  Actually, I generally found Sailing to Osiris to be one of those games that was over kinda before I knew it.  Those four seasons pass by, and you never quite feel like you’ve had enough time to do everything you intended.

Jess:  Yeah, especially when you were totally counting on having some stone, but then somebody decides to place there right ahead of you…

Gameplay-wise, we liked Sailing to Osiris a lot.  It’s lighter than its size and components might suggest, so it is perfectly appropriate for folks looking for a less-dense worker placement game.  Despite its plethora of bits (and knowing Daily Magic, the production quality will be through the roof), it is not a fussy or complex game, making it appealing at higher player counts, which is normally the bane of heavier games.

Jess:  Of course, at higher player counts, things get pretty claustrophobic.

Andrew:  True, though even at the low end, spaces get blocked off to ensure that we all bump uncomfortably into each other as we place laborers and build our structures.

Once all four seasons are complete, a round of bonus scoring gets applied, relating to area control and contiguous blocks of monuments.  Whomever has managed their resources the best and built the most impressive array of monuments is named the next Pharaoh!

Overall, we enjoyed Sailing to Osiris quite a bit.  While it does live on the simpler side, there are enough per-turn options that it nearly always felt like there was something productive for us to do, without us getting paralyzed by endless assessments of optimal placements.

Andrew:  Though it’s far from a point salad – having a plan will definitely help you here.

Jess:  Yep, though overall, I’d say its just thinky enough to be engaging, without being a brain burner.

You can get yourself a copy of Sailing Toward Osiris by checking out the Daily Magic Games Kickstarter running right now!

(Gameosity was provided a prototype for preview, and will be provided a final copy for follow-up review.  We were not otherwise compensated.)

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