Dale Yu: Essen 2016 Preview of Deus: Egypt expansion

Deus: Egypt

  • Designer: Sebastien Dujardin
  • Publisher: Pearl Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 14+
  • Time: 60-90 minutes

deus egypt

In this first expansion to Deus, one of my favorite games to come out of Essen 2014, players now get to play as if they are in Dynastic Egypt.  While this is termed as a single expansion, it might be better to consider it as a box with six expansion modules.  The reason for this is that Deus: Egypt is actually six sets of 16 development cards; one for each color in the base game.  They can be added in piecemeal or they can be used to completely replace the cards from the base game.


As the cards are meant to be interchangeable with those of the base game, it follows that the rules of the base game are essentially intact.  The changes that come from Deus: Egypt are simply rules that are added onto that basic framework.  Some of the new cards have a “1X” action at the very top of the card; this optional action comes into play only once – when you play the card to your tableau – though you can choose whether to enact the “1X” action before or after the main action written on the bottom of the card.


I think that I would consider each color as a separate module because each comes with new expansion rules that are specific to that color of cards.  In some cases, there are also new game components that will be added to the game if the corresponding card deck is used.

Maritime Cards (Blue)

These cards use a Market tile – which has three different spaces on it.  One resource of each type is placed on the middle space of the Market.  When this expansion is in play, the cost of purchasing resources to build is NOT a fixed 4 gold per resource; instead the price per resource is 2, 4, or 6 gold – depending on where the matching marker is on the board.  During the game, each of the Maritime cards has a “1X” action that modifies the position of the resources on the Market, and thus changes the price of those resources.  The Market also determines the VP value at the end of the game for having the most of a particular resource; instead of being a fixed 2 VP, resources may be worth 1, 2, or 3 VP depending on their status on the Market board.


Science Buildings (Yellow)

There are no special rules or components, but per the rules, “all have particularly powerful ‘1X’ effects”


Civil Buildings (Brown)

For this module, each player is given a single Scribe token in their color.  This token starts off the board, but then is placed/moved under the wooden building for each Civil Building that you build.  Many of the Civil cards have actions which refer to the placement of this Scribe token.

deus brown gold blue



Production Cards (Green)

These cards use Barque tiles, these tiles can have 1, 2 or 3 spaces on them; each space holds one resource.  You start the game with 5 Barque spaces.  You can always re-arrange your resources freely amongst the Barque spaces.  Each green card has a “1X” action that gives you an additional Barque.  The big change here is that at the end of every turn, you must store any unspent resources on a Barque; all the rest must be discarded to the supply.

deus egypt boats 2


Military Buildings (Red)

Each player gets 5 sword-shaped combat tokens outlined in their color.  These combat tokens appear to be placed via the “1X” action of the Military cards.  The tokens have a hybrid nature – they can occupy a region for your color and they also are counted when determining when a barbarian village is attacked; however, they do not count as Military units when resolving that attack.

deus combat2


Temples (Purple)

The huge difference in the expansion temples is that the purple cards all have permanent IN-GAME effects as opposed to endgame bonuses.  Many of the Temple cards award VPs for playing them to the board, others come with activation counters that are triggered by meeting the criteria on that card.  Each counter that is scored is essentially worth 4VP.



deus purple red gold

Overall, I am super excited for the set. Deus was one of the few games from 2014 that still gets fairly regular requests for play, so I’m looking forward for a chance to breath some fresh ideas into the game; though to be honest with you, as we’re still getting requests to play it – so the base game is clearly not out of legs yet.

When we get our copy, I think we’ll probably not try to add in all six new decks at once; some of the new concepts, especially the green (storing resources on the barques) and blue (using the Market board to determine costs/VPs for resources) sound like that they will each take a game or so to figure out how to deal with the changes.  Though, on the other hand, I suppose that if we just play with only the new cards, all of the gamers will have to learn to deal with all of the changes at the same time – no one will be at a disadvantage in that scenario either.

At first glance, I cannot decide which color will have the greatest effect on the game – having read through the entire card deck, I can see scenarios where each of them would be awesome… But, if I had to pick the one that I want to try playing with first, it would be the Yellow Science buildings.  The “1X” powers on these cards seem like they might almost be enough to turn the game on its head, yet not quite enough to feel broken.  This set is the one that could most easily be exchanged with the base set as well as it is the one to not have any other components.

In any event, in a few short weeks I hope to have a copy in my hands and then we’ll put them in play.  I am trying to find out how big the box is –and whether it is even necessary to have it at all.  As space is always at a premium in my luggage, I might just put the cards and bits in a baggie and store it that way in my Deus box at home.  We’ll have to see what comes from my test packing at Essen!


Until your next appointment

The Gaming Doctor






About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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