Sobek Board Game Preview
I’ve really enjoyed games produced by Pandasaurus Games, so when the opportunity came to check out their latest, a 2-Player re-launch of Sobek, I couldn’t wait to dive in.
The backstory for the game is pretty straightforward, “Sobek awaits the creation of a grand temple in his honor to be built in Faiyum. To support the construction, a huge market has emerged, bustling with rich goods. You and your opponent will vie to take advantage of this opportunity. Sobek will tip the scales of fate by offering up his favors to the least corrupt merchant!” While the theme is outstanding, does the gameplay hold up? Let’s take a look!
How to Play
Find all the details on how to play Sobek thanks to a fantastic video by the games producers, Pandasaurus Games!
After the game is setup, the first player will take on of the 4 tiles from the middle of the board. Each tile has markings in the corner, and once a tile is placed, the player will take the Ankh piece and oriente it so the tips match what was on the tile, point ing a specific direction.
That could be a direct row, a direct column, or in a diagonal. It is now the next players turn, and there are three options. They can either take a tile from the marketplace, in the direct line from the Ankh. Or, they can sell a set of tiles to earn points. Finally, they may choose to play a character a tile.
When a player takes a tile from the market, they again grab the Ankh and reposition it according to the arrows on the tile they just selected. That process will continue throughout the game.
If the player did not choose the tile directly beside the Ankh, they must take any tiles they “jumped” over and add them to their corruption pile. Some tokens havea Deben (money) icon in the top corner, and if taken players can grab a tile from the bag. If a character card is chosen, the Ankh can be positioned in any direction.
To sell tiles, a player must reveal at least 3 tiles of the same time, noting that the Sobek statues are wild. A corresponding character tile with the matching icon in the upper left corner can also be used to complete a set. If you’ve already sold some of a set, just add your new tiles to the existing set. Remember, you must always sell at least 3.
Finally, players can play a character card they previously selected from the marketplace. Once played, simply perform the ability of the character.
If a player ever needs to take tiles, but the row beside the Ankh is empty, the market must be refilled. Begin with the inner circle of 4 tiles, then the middle circle of tiles, and finally the outer circle of tiles, always moving clockwise. Anytime the market is refilled, the next player MUST choose from the middle 4 tiles.
The game ends when a player cannot perform an action – there are no tiles to take, they cannot sell a set of at least 3 tiles, or they have no characters to play. After settling a few end of game items – varies depending on the final hands of players – the two players compare their curruption piles. Whoever has the least number of tiles takes a Deben from the bag and adds it to their supply. They also draw extra Deben tiles for every 3 tiles they have less than their opponent.
Add to the Debens in your supply the sets you sold. To calculate your score, take the number of tiles in the set and multiply it by the number of Scarabs on cards in that set. The player with the most points wins.
Is it Worth It?
Finding good two player games is incredibly difficult, and Sobek has made playing games with my wife that much easier. The concept and setup are so simple that we can have a game ready to go in less than 5 minutes. And with a fairly short play time, we can get a couple games in each evening, if we so choose. The concept of the game is easy to comprehend, but mastering it can be tough.
You will need to make good strategic movements to make sure that you are maximizing the tiles you get, wile minimizing what your opponent might be able to do on their turn.
The components are great, and the concept is even better. For those who love two player experiences, there is a lot here to love. It’s such an easy game to teach too, so having new players try the game is fairly simple.
While someone who has played more than others will obviously have an advantage, that can be said of any board game, and isn’t a deterrent to teaching this to new players. Sobek easily falls in my top 5 2-player games of all time, and it is just hitting the market now. This is well worth the investment!