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Review - 3843 Ramses Pyramid


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#1 LuxorV

LuxorV

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:25 PM

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During the recent 4th of May LEGO offer, I decided to pick up this set for two main reasons: I needed to reach the 55 € mark to be granted free shipping, and the set was on offer. Now, to be honest, I longed for it since I first saw it, but decided to wait for its price to lower. This looked like the perfect occasion (or at least the perfect excuse) to end that waiting. On a passing note, it’s worth to underline the fact that this LEGO set won the Toy Innovation ‘Game + Action’ category in 2009.


Theme: LEGO Board Games
Set name: Ramses Pyramid
Set Number: 3843
Price: 29.99 $, 19.99 £, 29.99 Euro
Pieces: 231 (13 microfigures + 1 extra)
Year of release: 2009


Quote

Ramses Pyramid from LEGO® Games: A new way to play!
LEGO® Games is the world's first collection of games that you build, play and change. With the unique buildable LEGO Dice and changeable rules, LEGO Games is a great way of having fun together with family and friends.

The Mummy King Ramses is planning on conquering all of Egypt with his army of mummies! Unlock the crystal coded layers to climb to the top of the pyramid and defeat the Mummy King, taking his crown and the treasures within. A family game of memory, skill and cunning. Compete against each other or take on the Mummy King together! An entertaining game for 2 – 4 players. Game play approximately 20-30 minutes.

• 1 buildable LEGO Dice
• 13 LEGO microfigures
• 1 rule booklet
• 1 building instruction

Links: Peeron, Bricklink and Brickset

The Box

Front

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The box is almost square (27.5 x 28.5 centimetres) with a height of 6.5 centimetres. About the average size for a tabletop board game. The front shows an interesting composition of the actual set (plus minor lighting and flames effects), designed LEGO minifigures playing the game, and a spirit hovering over a pyramid in a sandstorm on the background. The set name and number, LEGO logo, LEGO Games iconic dice, players and time info and the Toy Innovation award badge complete the whole. I find it pretty interesting and eye-catching.


Back

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The back shows the completed set, without rendering, on a desert oasis/tropical background, some of the play features, the game descriptions in 4 languages (as I choose the DE, UK, FR and IT version). Cleaner than the front, this side of the box helps the buyer in getting a better idea of the actual contents.


Sides

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Three out of four sides show the same composition, with game name, players and time info, set picture, LEGO and LEGO Games logos and finally the set number.


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The fourth side sports the usual LEGO safety information along with the set name and number and the LEGO logo.


Contents

Inside

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Upon opening the box, we find 3 bags, one 32 x 32 studs baseplate and 2 instruction booklets (actually, one for building instructions and one for game rules). The most interesting feature is represented by the two printed inner sides, which show the operations the player must accomplish to store the parts in the box without completely disassembling the pyramid. The main colour is Tan, complimented by some Dark Tan, Reddish Brown and Black; Gold and a bunch of Trans colours complete and liven up the set. The microfigs are mostly White (9 out of 13), plus the 4 rainbow coloured Adventurers.


Re-coloured parts

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This set is pretty interesting for the number of new and re-coloured parts. Let’s start with the former. We get 13 Brick 2 x 4 in Dark Tan, 6 Brick, Round 2 x 2 x 1 2/3 Dome Top also in Dark Tan, 1 Scorpion and 1 Rock 1 x 1 Crystal 5 Point in Pearl Gold, 1 Slope 45 2 x 2 Double in Orange and one in Yellow. Both the latter pieces appear only in this set in these colours.


New pieces

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New pieces are equally as interesting. First we have the 8 Plate, Modified 2 x 2 with Groove and 1 Stud in Center, the of course the Die 6 Sided Rubber Frame with Red Center with Studs (Board Games). The Tile 2 x 2 with 2 Black Dots Pattern and Tile 2 x 2 with 3 Black Dots and Mummy Head Pattern, together with the Microfig Ramses Pyramid King Ramses complete this batch. Note that the last two are included in another set only: the sequel 3855 Ramses Return.


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Also new, and exclusive to this set, are the following pieces: Tile 2 x 2 with 1 Black Dot and Pyramid Pattern, Tile 2 x 2 with 2 Black Dots and Black Triangle Pattern, 1 Microfig Ramses Pyramid Adventurer Blue, 1 Microfig Ramses Pyramid Adventurer Orange, 1 Microfig Ramses Pyramid Adventurer Red, 1 Microfig Ramses Pyramid Adventurer Yellow and 8 Microfig Ramses Pyramid Mummy.


Extra parts

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The only extra part is a 1 x 1 Tile in Reddish Brown. Personally, I can never have enough, so I’m happy to get it.


Building Instructions

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The cover has the same main shot as the back of the box. The look is clean and the large white background is refreshing.


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The back cover sports the old style WIN ads. No annoying screaming kid this time.


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The random page shows the plain light-blue background and the fact that there are no pieces call-outs. The building is pretty simple, so it was a good move to skip them and avoid complicating the look of these pages.


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The parts summary is all in one page, since most parts are multiples of one type, like the many 2 x 4, 2 x 6, 2 x 8 and 2 x 10 bricks.


Rules

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The cover sports the same image as the top of the box, plus the flags of the countries for which this version of the game is intended.


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The sections are Build, referring to the building instructions manual, Play, and Modify. The rules themselves are well explained and fairly simple, to allow maximum fruition for all audiences.


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As usual, the fore last pages show the other games in the line, with a short description in the same languages of the rules manual.


Building

Start

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We start by building the base of the pyramid, which contains the main treasures, and setting up the starting areas and the Adventures’ “tents” (the coloured Slope 45 2 x 2 Double). Now, granted the microfigs are smaller than standard LEGO minifigures, the tents are still a bit too small for them too. I mean, how can they possibly fit inside, when they do not even have functional joints to bend over?
Notice how the 'super-jumper' tiles in the lower right (screen-wise) corner are left without dome stands. That is because part of the game consists in switching places for the domes and the treasures they hold/hide.
One thing I would have liked to see in the game rules is a role for the scorpion(s), either the one on top of the entrance, the golden one in the treasure room, or both. Unfortunately there is nothing about them. But since imagination is the limit, one can mod the rules to include it/them.


Going up

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Level by level, the pyramid grows towards the sky. The modular level system is meant as a play feature, since you can choose to rotate the levels 90° to align the coloured cones on the sides and make your climb easier. If you look carefully, you’ll notice the cones are placed so that they hide the Brown tiles from the outside. This is a clever solution to keep a good outward look while still retaining differently coloured tiles to facilitate the building.


Topping the cake …err… pyramid

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It's a fortune the Pyramid King does not have bendable legs/hips, since that crown must be heavy on his small head!


Almost done

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I don't know what you think, but the top of the pyramid sure looks a bit crowded to me!
Once we add the Adventurers, die (or dice) and small tool, we get to the …

Finished set

Front

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I did not mention it before, but as you can notice this set comes with the old wrench piece instead of the toolbar of the more recent ones for removing the tiles form the dice.


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Why the Adventurers should be facing the opposite direction with respect to the pyramid entrance is not clear. It may be interesting to note that the equivalent picture in the rules book has them facing the pyramid’s entrance.


Bonus images

Rising the next generation

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After retirement from active duty, Johnny Thunder took up the role of instructor for the next generation of Adventurers, or as Marvel would call them, The Next Adventurers!


Size does matter #1

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Since the diminutive Adventurers were not able to ride camels, a replacement had to be found.


Size does matter #2

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Troll nurse, or tiny appetisers?


Size does matter #3

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- I thought Tyrannosaurus were bigger.
- And I thought Raptors were smaller!


Size does matter #4

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- And you'd be the Big Bad Boss? Pffff!


Do they have these where you come from?

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- Beware the mighty jackal-demon Anubis!


Iron Man or…

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- Look, I'm Iron Thumb!


Kicking your luck

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Throwing the dice - Johnny Thunder style.


Final comments

Overall, this is a very nice set, both for the parts collector and the gamer. The parts are interesting and in colours one has never enough of. The microfigures are really cute and their designs are more details than one would expect given their size and generic use.

Design & Colour scheme – 10/10 (Very well proportioned, tents apart, and well designed for the game schematics. The rich haul of Tan and Dark Tan parts in this set is always welcome in one’s collection, and the baseplate is a happy addition in a time when they are so rare.)
Minifig – 10/10 (A happy fusion of cute and well characterised guys. Granted, there are a lot of identical mummy figs, but one never has too many cannon fodder characters.)
Parts – 10/10 (Great selection, given the relatively small set and simple design. Some new parts and many useful re-coloured ones raise the level, as well as the exclusive ones.)
Playability – 10/10 (The set is clearly designed to play according to the rules, but it also allows a vast amount of customisation as well as totally free play.)
Build – 8/10 (Nothing too complex, but some efficient solutions are used, especially to allow the modular levels build and to hide the ‘random’ coloured tiles here and there.)
Price – 10/10 (Given it includes a 32 x 32 baseplate, this set is worth its original price. Getting it on sale is even better!)

Overall: 9.7/10 Excellent

As always, questions, comments, and pic requests welcome!

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#2 Alexandr

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:45 PM

Great review!  :sweet:
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#3 Rufus

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 09:07 AM

Thanks for reviewing this, Luxor!  It's great to see a high-quality review of a Boardgame.  

I think these Games sets make great parts packs, particularly if you can get them on sale.  We bought this one purely for the baseplate, but the tan and dark tan blocks are very useful for landscaping, and, like you, we can never have too many tiles.  

We actually have several games sets, but I don't think we ever played them!  :blush:

#4 LuxorV

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 09:40 AM

Thanks both for the comments.

Indeed, I mostly see the Games sets as parts packs, but I've also played with this one, and I must say it's quite funny, even if not too challenging or entertaining as modern boardgames go. :wink:

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#5 WhiteFang

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 03:23 AM

Nice entertaining review! I didn't get this or consider getting it. Most of the time, I never try attempting to play with these boardgames, mainly because I don't have anyone to play with! Still, I view this more like for getting for parts, if it ever goes on 'sales'. The microfigs are something that I am fond of. Pretty cute looking too.  :laugh:

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#6 Erik Leppen

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 09:02 PM

View PostLuxorV, on 29 May 2012 - 04:25 PM, said:

Rules

The sections are Build, referring to the building instructions manual, Play, and Modify. The rules themselves are well explained and fairly simple, to allow maximum fruition for all audiences.
(emphasis mine) Are you serious? When I and a few friends started playing this game, already after a few minutes we concluded "this is too complicated" and put it away in favor of the much simpler and more intuitive (and above all, much more fun) Minotaurus and Shave a Sheep games.

The build looks nice and it looks like a nice parts pack as well...but as a game? Not so much, in my experience.

#7 just2good

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 02:08 AM

Great review, 'LuxorV'! :classic:
I actually have two copies of this set. The first one I got at full price ( :wacko: ) back in June 2010, and the second one I got recently in December 2012 for around $10! I really regret not picking up a few more copies of the set when it was on sale, as the pieces are excellent (especially the baseplate).

#8 Darth Hagrid

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 02:19 AM

Very nice review! With regard to the aesthetics, parts, and set design: I totally agree with you, the set is amazing.
However: For me, actually playing the game is astonishingly repetitious, arbitrary, frustrating, and boring...
Net result: the game sat, mostly unplayed with, under a desk for a few months, until I finally disassembled it for the parts.
Still, great review!  :thumbup:
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