Publisher: Synapses Games
Player Count: 2-4 Players
Game Length: 45 Minutes
As architects under Pharaoh Mido, you’re tasked with designing the most impressive pyramid to serve as the eternal resting place for the pharaoh. Prove your worth and earn the title of Vizier and all its power and benefits.
In this family-friendly, open drafting and tile-laying game, players will score points based on the position of certain domino-style tiles. As the pyramids rise, the opportunity to score in unique ways increases. Careful planning, staunch defense and a little luck will be necessary to outshine your opponents and earn the pharaoh’s favor.
ON YOUR TURN
Pyramido takes place over 4 rounds with each round representing a new layer built on your great pyramid project.
The game plays quickly and is centered around drafting domino-style tiles. Each tile features a combination of 2 colors and an assortment of icons specific to that color.
On your turn you draft 1 of 3 available tiles and place it onto your pyramid grid. Players will attempt to connect as many like-colored tiles. Jewel markers placed on color sections will score points based on the number of icons present across that color block (adjacently connected same-color tiles). Players each have 1 jewel marker for each color and HAVE to play 1 when placing a new color tile. Tile icons vary in number on each tile so you’ll obviously want to group as many higher-scoring tiles together as possible.
As the rounds continue, players will be able to use the edge of previous pyramid tile layers to contribute to future round points. In the end, you may score points thanks to a certain color stair-stepping down the entire side of your pyramid.
This might sound simple and fairly casual, but Pyramido is more of a dog fight than you’d expect. After playing 1 of the 3 available tiles, the active player then chooses a new tile from 1 of 2 adjacent, face-up tile stacks. This new tile will help refresh the available tiles for the next player. Everyone’s pyramid is on display, so choosing a tile to limit scoring opportunities for your opponents is half the battle.
Players also have access to a limited number of resurfacing tiles that can change the color and value of any tile at any time. It’s easy to waste these precious resources, so choosing the right moment to use them is critical.
Each round players total up their points. The player with the most points after completing their pyramid is the winner.
ARTWORK & COMPONENTS
The majority of Pyramido’s artwork sits on the packaging. Tiles are relatively simple, but the icons are well done. The colors feel nice, but this is a game that could provide a few problems for color blind players.
Component-wise, the tiles are plenty thick and the jewel markers each feature wooden, 3-D Egyptian symbols that add a nice flare to the game.
The rulebook is clear and easy to read and understand. You shouldn’t have any problem jumping directly into Pyramido.
PROS & CONS
➕ Light, friendly game that plays quickly and is great for families
➕ Fun, simple choices keep you engaged
➕ Easy to teach and pick-up
➕ There is a nice level of strategy that challenges your planning and defensive skills
➕ Both building your pyramid and connecting and scoring multiple layers are each satisfying processes
➕ Well produced game with quality components and artwork
➖ Despite being a fun experience that will be different from game to game, I’m not sold on its long-term replayability. This seems like a game where you could build a strategy to maximize your opportunities thus eliminating any new avenues to victory.
➖ Randomness of the tiles can either be exciting or frustrating if the color tile you’re looking for either never arrives or is held hostage by opponents.
WHY WOULD YOU LIKE THIS GAME?
There are some similarities to games like Kingdomino. Fans of relatively simple, straightforward tile-laying games are going to find the most enjoyment here. Pyramido is great for families with kids of all ages.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THE GAME?
Despite its simple mechanics, Pyramido presents some interesting strategic choices. While seeing your finished pyramid might be the most satisfying, executing a multi-tiered scoring plan definitely elevates the game.
There are certainly some strategic practices in Pyramido that can only be learned with repeat plays. I’d hate to spoil anything here, but I found my score rising dramatically over the course of my first 3 games. Afterwards, I turned my attention to a more aggressive defensive approach, often sacrificing my own scoring opportunities to keep my opponents at bay.
For a simple, family-weight game, there are some nice, strategic choices available here. Planning and speculation are going to be necessary to put yourself in the best position to align your scoring tiles, but the defensive gamesmanship is where swords begin to cross. While it’s absolutely unnecessary to think this deeply about the game to enjoy it, there is an opportunity to even bluff and outfox your opponent just based on the tiles you make available after your turn. A bit of a “game within a game” that reveals itself with repeat plays with the same group of players.
The majority of players are going to enjoy Pyramido because it’s easy to learn, great for families and you get to build a pyramid… There is nothing wrong with that. My kids had a blast going through the actions and playing with the jewel tokens. More aggressive gamers are going to enjoy the ability to outfox their opponent and bring their personal planning and strategy to life.
I’ve really enjoyed the game so far, but I do think there is a small potential for it to wear out its welcome. As I stated above, I worry that optimizing your approach—despite the built-in tile variability—will limit your creativity and make the game very “same-y” over time. I’ll attempt to update my thoughts after 10 or 15 plays, but it’s true we currently love games that are giving us less in return.
With its easy accessibility, quick turns, fun theme and mass appeal, Pyramido is a game that provides a nice challenge that works well as a gateway game for families and casual gamers. Its surprising strategic depth makes it one that will keep the interest of both gamers and non-gamers alike. I have no problem recommending Pyramido for the right crowd.