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Nile published on 4 Comments on Nile
(4 customer reviews)

Minion Games

IIllustration of box cover art, and playing cards.

Nile the card game consists of 92 cards. There are 5 suits each representing a resource type in Egypt. There are also specialty cards showing multiple resource types. Players draft cards into their hands and play them following simple rules. At the beginning of every turn a flood card is drawn showing one or more resource type. That resource type is harvested by the player currently growing it.

Nile DeLuxor is a reprint of the card game Nile that includes the original game plus a new expansion. The expansion adds several new cards including two new crop types, monuments, and turn counter cards. The number of players is also expanded to allow for as many as 6.

Note – The version for sale here is the US Nile DeLuxor boxed edition, not the Metal Tin edition shown in the photos. That was only available in the Dutch market.

SKU: MNI-NIL200 Category:



Nile the card game consists of 92 cards. There are 5 suits each representing a resource type in Egypt. There are also specialty cards showing multiple resource types. Players draft cards into their hands and play them following simple rules. At the beginning of every turn a flood card is drawn showing one or more resource type. That resource type is harvested by the player currently growing it.

Nile DeLuxor is a reprint of the card game Nile that includes the original game plus a new expansion. The expansion adds several new cards including two new crop types, monuments, and turn counter cards. The number of players is also expanded to allow for as many as 6.

The tin box edition was in dutch and only released in the Netherlands.

Additional information

Weight 0.75 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.2 × 1.8 in


A lot has already been written in other reviews here. Simply stated, I own a hundreds of board and card games. I collect them. This beautifully designed card game has hit the table a lot lately. My wife and I both love it. It plays in 30 minutes almost every time. If you buy it, please play WITH the 3 expansion cards. They make the game deeper, meaner and more fun to play.

Highly recommended above many games.

First, I’d like to commend the creators of this game for managing to make a card game that has fairly simple rules but offers a wide range of strategic play. I found that I was often thinking about which cards I should play and which cards I should hold onto until later. It seemed advantageous to play what you had so as to “control” the board. The more crops you have going at one time, the less options other players have.

I thought the game would take a while to play, seeing as how we had five players and thus had five seasons. I quickly discovered though that the later seasons were shorter since we were scoring cards in the interim, which results in the draw pile diminishing with every passing season. Season one took a good five to ten minutes whereas the fifth season was over within a few minutes. It balances out well into a nice thirty to forty-five minute game, depending on how many people are playing and how often they procrastinate.

I have to say, the kids picked up the rules very quickly. The biggest hurdle that they were often faced with was what they could and couldn’t play during the “plant or speculate phase”…after all, there are a lot of restrictions and stipulations as to what crops you can and can’t plant based on what is currently on the board. Once we played for a while, we got the hang of all of the special rules without having to consult the rulebook.

Vinnie Jr (11), Anthony Jr (16), Carolyn (13), and Jennifer (she’s not telling) all thought the game was fun and expressed interest in playing it again. They all couldn’t pinpoint why they thought the game was fun, just that it was. Jennifer, my girlfriend, can be picky when it comes to games and for her to admit that she’d play it again is high praise. We definitely have a winner for family game night.

I highly recommend this game to players of all ages. It serves as a great go-to game for when you want to introduce friends and family to the wonderful world of board games. Nile DeLuxor is simple enough to attract casual gamers but also in-depth enough to keep hardcore gamers from becoming bored…sort of a “not too hot and not too cold” deal.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a semi-casual card game that would appeal to all audiences, then you wouldn’t do wrong in picking up this little gem.

NILE DeLuxor places you and your friends into the roles of Egyptian farmers, planting and harvesting a diverse selection of crops, building monuments and speculating on crop futures, all while at the mercy of the mighty Nile river. The river is unpredictable and conforms to no man – flooding crops on a whim and forcing a player to harvest their crops, while at the same time allowing only certain types of crops to grow. If that weren’t enough, plagues of locusts may also find their way into your fields, consuming the largest crop! In the end, only one farmer can be successful, but it’s going to take keen observation and a little bit of luck to come out on top!


Nile DeLuxor is a game for two to six players and the number of rounds (referred to in the game as “Seasons”) is based on the number of players. If you’re going to engage in a two player game, for example, you’ll only play through two seasons before naming a victor. If you can wrangle up five friends, five seasons will elapse and so on and so forth.

At the start, each player is dealt a hand of five cards. The game features a number of different card types, but the bulk of the cards are going to come in the form of crops – Wheat, Lettuce, Castor, Onion, Papyrus, Flax, and Grape. Ultimately, these are the cards that will determine your fate, so careful planning will go into the planting, trading and harvesting of these cards. Other cards will come into play as well, including:

Speculation Cards – Which features two different crops and are used to predict the outcome of the flood cards.
Flood Card – Which shows the current crop that is being flooded by the Nile.
A Plague of Locust Card – The one truly bad card in the game, these little guys will feast upon the largest crop currently in a player’s field .
Also in the game, we’ll find two other types of cards which make up the DeLuxor expansion:

Stone Cards – Similar to a crop card, stone cards are “planted” to create monuments, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
Monument Cards – The Sphinx, The Obelisk and the Wall. These cards provide a special ability to the player who builds it.
Once cards have been dealt, player one begins his/her turn by flipping over the top card from the draw pile, placing it face up on top of the flood card – whatever crop has been drawn has now been flooded by the mighty Nile (in the case of a speculation card, where two crops are shown, BOTH crops are flooded)! When a crop is flooded, two things occur:

First and foremost – any player who currently has the crop in play must harvest ONE card from their field. If the flooded crop is flax, for example, and player two has two flax cards, they take ONE of their flax cards and place it face down next to them. This is now their storage pile. Anytime a crop is flooded and you have to harvest it, the harvest card moves to your storage pile for use in trading and, ultimately, to determine the winner of the game.
Secondly, in the planting phase, the crop currently in a state of flooding cannot be planted. If you were holding on to some onions, for example, and onions come up on your turn as the flooded crop, you’re going to have to wait until your next turn to plant them – and hope that they don’t end up flooded again!
Once the flood phase is done, the player’s turn continues into the next phase – trading! In the trading phase, the player can take a combination of cards and trade with the draw pile in order to either gain a new card (or cards) or to create a new flood. Players are NOT allowed to trade with one another, as this would work against them in the end. Negotiations, no matter how fun they can be, would be somewhat damaging to the game and thus all trades are made with the draw deck following these basic rules:

Cards being traded MUST be from your hand or from your storage area. You cannot remove cards from your fields in the hopes of trading them in.
A player may take two cards from their hand or remove two cards from their storage (or one from each area) and sell them at market (the “market” being the draw deck) for one new card, which they place in their hand.
A player may alternately make an offering to the Egyptian deity Hapi – in this case taking their two cards (again in the combinations listed for the market trade) and discarding them in order to flip a new flood card. This is advantageous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the ability to screw other players in a number of different ways.
Trades can continue for as long as you have cards to trade – and believe me, trading comes in very handy.

Once the trading phase of the player’s turn has come to an end, it’s time to get out into the fields and start planting! If you don’t plant, you can’t harvest and if you don’t harvest, you don’t win. It’s just that simple.

As with the other phases, planting has a number of rules which player’s must abide by. To plant crops, you can do one of the following:

Take TWO or more cards of the same crop type and place them in a new field. If you have two papyrus cards, that works. If you have four lettuce cards, till that soil and plant those seed. If you have one onion, however, you’re out of luck. That is unless…
You plant two different crops using one card each. Take that onion and start a field, while at the same time taking that lone castor card you’ve got and create a second field! Planting one card is dangerous, as you’ll see in a moment, but it’s a way to get a crop on the table.
You can also add as many cards as you want to any existing field in your play area. If you’ve got castor, flax and onions in your field, and you have one card of each in your hand, feel free to plant them all!

Remember, you can’t plant crops that are currently represented on the flood card!

When planting, it’s also important to remember that players cannot, at any time, plant a crop in their fields that is already represented in another player’s field. If player one is growing lettuce, for example, player two can’t plant it – UNLESS they play more cards in their field than those in the opposing player’s field. To illustrate:

“Pete has two lettuce cards on the table. He’s been working diligently over time in the hopes that he can harvest his crop and keep his family fed with delicious, nutritious salad. He ends his turn and the next player up is Evie. She draws her flood card and it’s onions! That’s too bad, because Evie has four onions in her hand and only two lettuce cards – meaning she can’t plant onions, due to the flood and she can’t plant lettuce because she doesn’t have more lettuce cards than Pete. However, Evie is a smart cookie and decides to head to market in the hopes of making an equitable trade. She gives away two onions and is rewarded with a fresh new random card from the draw pile- a lettuce card. Now, Evie has three lettuce and a plan! Taking her three lettuce, she places them in her field, laughing manically, as Pete sighs. He removes his two lettuce and discards them. There will be no salad in the coming months for his family. Evie, however, managed to gain the upper hand through smart trading and a bit of cunning.”

The moral? No two players can have the same crop, but you can take a crop from another player by playing MORE cards in your field than your opponent has in theirs. And yes, the illustration was a true story.

If you opt not to plant, you can, instead, choose to speculate on crop futures. This is the “wheeling and dealing” part of the game. If you’ve got a speculation card in your hand, you can play it onto the table instead of planting a crop. In fact, you can play multiple speculation cards on the table instead of planting! Speculation cards cannot be harvested, but can be used to gain bonus cards. If you look at a speculation card, you’ll notice that it features two distinct crops. During the flooding phase, a speculation card causes those two crops depicted to become flooded. During the planting/speculation phase, however, you’re essentially betting on the next crop card to be downed by the mighty Nile! If you played a speculation card that had flax/papyrus and flax is flooded on the next player’s turn, you receive three bonus cards! If you had a second speculation card that featured flax/castor, you’d receive a total of six free cards! Is that great or what?

Of course, if you were to play the exact same speculation cards and wheat happens to be drawn, you get nothing. Plain and simple. Regardless – speculate, speculate, speculate! It may give you the upper hand in the end.

Finally, after all is said and done, once all the flooding, harvesting, trading, planting and speculation have been completed, the player draws two cards and play goes to the next person, who then starts their turn by flipping over the top card of the draw pile thus flooding a brand new crop! Play continues like this until the draw pile is exhausted, at which time the current season ends. Depending on the number of people, the draw pile is reshuffled and a new season begins. Once the final season is completed, the game is over and the victor is revealed…

But first, let’s talk about the expansion and how it works prior to ending our game!

If you add the expansion to NILE, you’ll place a new commodity into the game – Stone. Stone is “planted” in much the same way as a typical crop, but it works a bit differently in harvest phases. Planting stone uses the same planting rules, so you can either plant two stone cards (or more) at one time or plant one stone card, along with another crop. When a stone card is placed in your field, you’re granted one of the three monument cards included in the game. These monuments have special abilities and powers, all of which come in pretty handy:

The Sphinx – The Sphinx is generous and allows you to harvest TWO crop cards instead of one during your harvest phase.
The Obelisk – The Obelisk grants the player the power to gain three cards, instead of two during the draw phase. It also provides the player with double the cards for a successful speculation!
The Wall – The Wall is my favorite of the monuments, as it forces a player to play TWO more cards in their effort to usurp your field. If I have three lettuce, for example, a person would need four lettuce to force me to discard my field, but if I have the Wall in play, they would be required to have five, making it a bit more difficult to get rid of my field.

Once a person has a monument, they are free to use it until either another player steals it, which in this case is done in exactly the same manner as planting a crop another player has – you just need to have more stone than your neighbor, or if the monument is removed during the harvest phase (every time a stone card is drawn during the flood, you remove one stone. When you remove the last stone you had, the stone is discarded and the monument returns to the general play area, waiting to be created once more).

The expansion adds a lot to the game and is honestly the way I’ll play NILE from now on. It adds a bit more strategy and makes the game a little more cut-throat. Players can control as many monuments as they have stone fields to handle them, too!

Oh, before I get to the end of the game scoring mechanics, I’d like to talk about my favorite card – THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS! To put it simply, this is the only card in the game that can truly mess you up and believe me, it will mess you up! As I stated before, the only way to plant a crop type that’s already on the board is to pony up a field containing more cards than the player whose crop you wish to plant. To keep players from doing this, a smart farmer will keep adding cards to their field so that the cost to replace a field becomes more trouble than it’s worth! If I have six flax cards in my field, not many people are going to waste the time to put down a field of seven and force me to discard!

That’s where the locusts laugh in your face.

You see, when this card is drawn, something terrible happens. The largest crop yield in any ONE field is devoured, leaving that farmer cursing their fates. If there is a tie, all fields in the tie are consumed and many farmers will cry out to their respective deities in anguish, rueing the day they made the decision to plant so much flax! In NILE DeLuxor, there is but one plague card, but when that card is drawn (as it will be each and every season), someone gets screwed. Royally.

Honestly, I’ve been playing NILE DeLuxor for a number of days with a host of different people of all ages (and gaming interests) and have gotten in more games than I can possibly discuss. What’s really wonderful is that an average game of NILE, even with a full complement, is roughly a half an hour, meaning that you can cram a number of games into a short period of time if you’re really on top of it. The rules are so simple to learn, the game itself is easy to teach and the gameplay is easy enough that every person I introduced it to could get into it with little effort. My daughter absolutely loved the game, both enjoying the Egyptian thematic element and the whole concept of managing different crops. At nine years old, the basic strategy was easy enough to comprehend and she was busting my chops every chance she could get – be it from forcing me to discard whole crops (several times in a row) or simply harvesting more crops than I could keep up with due to her “mad trading skills”! Where we did run into trouble, both with her and some of the other play groups, was in the final scoring. I think people misunderstood how the victor is crowned in the end and instead of making sure to have at least one of every crop in their storage bin, players would simply harvest and plant what they had. In fact, in our first few sessions, we weren’t even trading as often as we did in later games, simply due to the fact that we didn’t see a benefit in it. Of course, as you get one or two games under your belt, you start to understand that trading is a crucial part of the game and that you can really cause a lot of damage by gaining an extra card from the market or praying to Hapi in order to cause another flood!

In the end, I found that two groups really got more out of it than the others. My daughter and her friends liked it and those who weren’t as hardcore about gaming enjoyed it. In all honesty, almost every person who played it enjoyed it in some way, but the hardcore gamers saw it more as filler than anything else – that game you play while someone is setting up Arkham Horror, for example. For the most part, however, the majority of those who played actually kept up through a number of several hours sessions – a task they said they’d love to do again.

As for me, I quite enjoyed NILE DeLuxor. I can see where the expansion makes the game more interesting (and is almost necessary to add more depth), without distracting from the relative simplicity of the gameplay. That’s not to say that the game itself is a simple one! The concept is easy to grasp, but there is a fair amount of strategy involved, a lot of which is purely observational. A favorite tactic of mine was to try and monitor which crops people had yet to plant and do my best to prevent them from ever being able to do so. In this way, I could attempt to harvest every crop, while forcing the other players to miss at least one, thus making me the winner. With four or more people, this tactic becomes insanely hard, but when you’re dealing with two or three, well, it’s certainly easier. The act of causing multiple floods in the same turn also offers up some nice opportunities to (hopefully) force people to harvest crops so that you can either eliminate their crop through the harvest itself or reduce their cards enough so that you can destroy their crop and plant it yourself. It’s a nasty tactic and it has it’s downside (they still get to harvest), but it does provide more opportunities to plant. Not to mention that you could harvest multiple times in the same turn (as my daughter loved to do). Her tactic of taking surplus from her storage area in order to cause more floods was brilliant!

In the end, this is a game I’d highly recommend. The rules are well written and simple enough to be grasped by a number of demographics, the gameplay is paced well and there is no downtime at all, the artwork and theme is delightful and well produced and the game itself is simply fun – for both a night of gameplay or a quick game at lunch!

* This review is a shortened version of a review I wrote for *

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