Tal Der Koenige (Valley of the Kings)
Translated by Chris Mellor with edits by John Lyne.
Valley of the Kings is a game about pyramid building in Ancient Egypt. Each
player bids for building blocks and tries to construct homogenous pyramids on the
sites he has acquired. The winner is the player with the most value of pyramids
at the end of the game.
All the colored building blocks are placed in the black bag. Each player takes
the 5 worker pawns, 2 overseer pawns, 8 bid tablets and 8 scarab markers of the
same color. Each player also receives a pen and an aide memoire which gives an
outline of the rules, the points value of each type of pyramid and a space to
note movement of the overseers.
The players' workers and overseers are placed in the central area of the board
(16). If there are only three players the sites marked with 3 red suns are not
used and should be marked with scarab counters of a color not being played. If
there are only two players also take out the sites marked with 2 red suns.
(see illustration page 6 of the German rules)
These run round each site and are the spaces where workers and overseers are
placed. Each is identified by a letter and the number of the site. Only one
figure may stand on each space.
There are two main types of site; large and small. Large sites will take big
pyramids, which when finished will stand 3 layers high and contain 15 blocks.
Small sites take little pyramids which when finished stand layers high and
contain 5 blocks.
There is also the central Pharaoh pyramid site which when completed is 4 layers
high and holds 30 blocks.
The board consists of 7 areas numbered 16-22.
The value of a pyramid is not only determined by the size, but also by the color
of the blocks used. The more a pyramid is built of the same color block, the
higher the value. The illustrations on the aide memoire show the value of each
type of pyramid. Note that with big pyramids the center block of the bottom layer
is not visible and so its color is not important for scoring purposes.
The Pharaoh pyramid is built by all players and scores no points. However the
game ends when it is completed!
Determine a start player and hand that player the Pharaoh disc . The game is
played in turns and each turn consists of several phases. The start player goes
first in each phase and players follow clockwise in order. When all have acted in
one phase then the next phase starts with the lead player. The Pharaoh disc
passes clockwise at the end of a turn to a new first player.
The start player takes building blocks from the bag without looking. These are
placed beside the board in groups of 5 blocks. The player should place one more
group than there are players (e.g. with 4 players there will be 5 groups of 5
Beginning with the start player, each player in turn places his/her bid tablets
face down next to bid for groups of blocks. You will see that 4 tablets are
marked 1, 2, 3, 4 = 10 points and 4 are blank. Players may place tablets as they
wish and do not have to use all of them. However the blank bid tablets are useful
to hide your bidding intentions from subsequent players.
When all players have bid, the tablets are revealed. A player gains the group of
blocks if he has the highest bid. In a tie, the player who bid earlier in the
sequence wins. Groups which received no valid bid are returned to the bag. Each
player takes back his bid talents.
Overseers start in area 16. Each player has six movement points to allocate to
his overseers. It costs one movement point to cross a line into another
area/space. To move from central area 16 to 15/B would cost 1 point; to move
from 6/C to 20 would cost 2 points. Movement points may be split however desired
between overseers e.g. 4 points to one and 2 to the other.
If a player moves an overseer into a space of an unoccupied site, he can take
possession of the site by placing a scarab marker on the black circle next to the
site. An overseer may only take possession of one site per turn. Once a player
has possession of a site he may build on that site, even if the overseer
subsequently goes elsewhere.
You will need workers in the building spaces of a site in order to place blocks
on the pyramid. Beginning with the start player, each player moves any
combination of his workers up to six areas/spaces e.g. one worker could be moved
two spaces and another four spaces.
Each player can now build using the blocks they obtained in the bidding round.
You may only build on your own sites. Two blocks may be placed for each worker at
the site. Overseers do not need to be present and do not add blocks.
Pyramids must be built a layer at a time. One layer must be completed before the
next is started. Once placed, a block may not subsequently be moved elsewhere by
the player. When a pyramid has been completed, the player takes his scarab and
places it on top. Completed pyramids are safe and can never be stolen by other
players. Blocks which are left unused by the players this round must be placed in
the center to build the Pharaoh Pyramid.
After the first turn there are a few additional activities open to the players.
Players secretly record the moves of their overseers on the aide memoire and then
reveal simultaneously. The pieces are then moved in player order as recorded. If
a player moves more than 6 spaces then his whole move is canceled. If an overseer
is ordered into a space which has become occupied, it is placed in the
Overseers may be moved on to rival sites in order to take over the site or to
Workers are moved openly, in player order, up to six spaces. Workers can also be
moved onto rival sites either to steal bricks or to take over the site.
If you have more overseers than the owner on a site then you may steal bricks
from the pyramid. You need to move workers on to the site and each worker allows
you to steal 2 blocks. Blocks must be taken from the top level first. No blocks
may be stolen from a completed pyramid. Stolen blocks join the blocks the player
acquired in the bidding stage. It is possible for more than one player to steal
from the same site.
If you have more overseers and more workers than the owner of a site, you may
take over the site. This occurs on your turn the instant you have the double
majority. Swap the scarab for one of your own. Completed pyramids may not be
Players build pyramids as in the first turn. They use blocks acquired by bidding
and also any stolen that turn from other players. Unused blocks go to build the
Pharaoh Pyramid in the center.
The game ends on the round when the Pharaoh Pyramid is finished or (rarely)
when all sites have been completed. Each player calculates the value of his
pyramids as per the values on the aide memoire. The player with the most points wins.
For a shorter game, return any unsold lots of blocks in the bidding stage to
the center of the board to build the Pharaoh Pyramid. This basically means
that the Pharaoh Pyramid is completed much sooner.
- Translated by Chris Mellor
- Typed by John Lyne
- Scanned & Edited by Mike Siggins
- Distributed by Mike Siggins from The Sumo Rules Bank
- Electronically distributed to The Internet by Ken Tidwell
- Revised August 1994
The Game Cabinet
- Ken Tidwell