Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Out of Egypt - But Really Out of Utah: The New Game, Feast or Famine

One of my brothers and his family gave me a Christmas gift that really impressed me. It's a game involving Egyptian themes and the story in Genesis of the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine that Joseph predicted and managed. When we opened and enjoyed Feast or Famine from Good Knight Games, I had no idea that it was a game out of Utah. It's been one of the top sellers at Deseret Book, I understand. Cool.

The mind behind this game is Jason Conforto. He helped my brother, David, of Avalanche Studios fame, produce and direct the documentary Mario's Conviction, the film about a Mafia man who became LDS and lived to talk about it. Congratulations, Jason, on an interesting new venture.

Feast or Famine appeals to me because it combines strategy with probability and chance. That way you can feel smart when you win or just a victim of luck if you lose. Uh, yes, I was a victim. The game has a two-sided game board, one for seven years of plenty, and one for the famine ahead. During the seven stages of the feasting phase, players can use points they accumulate every turn to purchase a variety of goods. A lot of chance determine how many pieces you get for your money, but there is plenty of strategy involved as well (what goals to pursue, what to buy, when to spend or save). The goal is to fill in rows or columns on the board with tokens of purchased goods. Completing a row or columns earns the player Egyptian wadjet eye medallions (the stylized Egyptian eye, as in Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham) which are used in bidding for Egyptian card later in the famine phase. During the famine, strategy and luck combine to let players obtain face-down cards that may contain many or few points. There are some really interesting aspects to how one plays this part of the game, with results that are difficult to predict. Keeps the game fresh.

I like the artwork and the stylized elements, including the four Sons of Horus game pieces (the figurines one sees under the lion altar in Facsimile 1). Fun addition to our game closet. And I fell for the game even before I knew of its provenance.

Any of you tried it?


Jeremy said...

I hadn't heard of the game, but it does look interesting. I'll keep it in mind for future game additions.

We got "Hagoth: Builder of Ships" for Christmas, which is from Mayday Games, also apparently out of Utah.

Paul said...

We're always on the lookout for new family games and added this to our collection this year. I agree it's a pretty good game. Doesn't rise to Settlers of Catan (or Zarahemla), but for that it's also more fun for my 10 year to play. We found Side 1 (feast) was more fun than Side 2 (famine), but we'll definitely enjoy playing it again soon.

James said...

One of my many hobbies is board games. It's a great way to socialize with folks and exercise you brain at the same time.

Here's some other games you may like. They are not LDS or religious themed, (but then you've already mentioned the only good recent religious games).

7 Wonders

And if you want to be overwhelmed, check out this site: http://www.boardgamegeek.com The site is definitely for die-hard game geeks, but with a little digging and asking around you can find a lot of info on exactly what type of games are out there that you'd like.

James said...

Oh, I almost forgot. If you are in (or will be in) Salt Lake, I would strongly suggest you check out Game Night Games in Sugarhouse.


The owners are extremely knowledgable helpful and will be more than able to steer you towards a game you'd love. It is an extremely well-run store and I've been very impressed each time I've been in.

Hope all this info helps out.

Stephen said...

I'll be, Mayday Games is still around?