Pharaoh is dead and his funerary barge sails slowly down the Nile toward his tomb where his spirit will stand before the judgement of Osiris.
Pharaoh had no offspring so tradition holds that the governors of the land be tasked with building monuments to Pharaoh’s glory so that Osiris will favor his spirit in the afterlife. Accordingly, Pharaoh’s successor will be the governor who builds the greatest tribute to the late king.
Resources and labourers are limited, the gods are capricious, and time is short; the memorials must be finished before the barge reaches the temple of Osiris at Men-nefer.
Sailing Toward Osiris is a euro-style game with worker placement, resources management, project completion, and no direct conflict. Down-time is kept to a minimum via a single action, round-and-round turn structure that emphasizes timing decisions and subtle strategies.
The game takes place over four "seasons" with the movement of Pharaoh's barge tracking the game's progress. Each season, after players draw workers from a communal bag, play begins with each player taking a series of one-action turns from a list of 10 possible actions:
1. Play a worker to harvest resources
2. Play a worker to a city for cards
3. Play a worker to a caravan as leader or follower
4. Hire an extra worker
5. Trade at the market
6. Plan a monument
7. Build a monument
8. Play a city card
9. Play a boon card
10. Withdraw from further actions.
Players work to build sphinxes, obelisks, and pylons to the glory of the late Pharaoh and to earn extra glory by building the monuments on certain river segments and in certain configurations. However, as more monuments are built, resource harvesting becomes less productive and viable locations for future monuments become scarce. By the last season, players will have to be creative to find enough resources or available land on which to build.
The player who has amassed the most glory points by the end of the game will be crowned the new Pharaoh.
Sailing Toward Osiris was inspired by the real events surrounding the death of Rameses XI at the end of Egypt's 20th Dynasty and the ascension of Smendes, a powerful governor in Lower Egypt.