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Nile card game by Minion Games

By Tim Kidwell
Published: September 14, 2010
Nile card game from Minion Games
Nile cards and instructions
Product: Nile is a card game for two to five players, ages eight and older. In it, players attempt to grow and harvest crops of papyrus, flax, castor, wheat and lettuce. The danger is that other players can destroy your crops, while the flooding Nile may prevent you from getting crops planted. Then there is always the plague of locusts that could arise at any time to feast upon your crops!

Gameplay: Once you’ve played a round of Nile, it is very easy to understand. For the competitive, there is a fair amount of “mess with your neighbor” as players can wipe out opponents’ crops or block other players from planting crops that they may need.

The most rewarding part of the game is scoring. In order to keep players from simply trying to get the most of any one crop, players must separate the crops they’ve harvested at the end of the game, from least to most. The player who has harvested the most of his smallest crop is the winner.

For example, if Hal harvested 1 wheat, 4 flax, 5 castor, 6 papyrus and 7 lettuce, and Jenny harvested 2 flax, 3 wheat, 4 castor, 5 papyrus and 6 lettuce, Jenny wins the game, because she harvested more of her least sizable crop (wheat).

What’s more, once you harvest a crop, you set the card aside, face down, so you and your opponents must try to keep track of what you’ve put into your silos. It’s a nice little dynamic that forces players to think about what they have, pay attention to the other players and strategize.

Marketing: Nile is a quick and easy game to learn. The art is colorful and it works as a delightful distraction for both kids and adults. On the downside, however, the cards are a bit thin, and this makes them a tad hard to shuffle and prone to early wear. Be that as it may, I can see Nile becoming a regular at our lunchtime gaming sessions.

There are a couple of different options when it comes to marketing Nile and similar card games.

Nile’s Egyptian theme lends itself to marketing with similarly themed games, such as Cleopatra and the Society of Architects (Days of Wonder), Ra (Rio Grande Games), Valley of the Pharaohs (Front Porch Classics) and Horus (Mayfair Games). If you have a changing display just beyond the decompression zone in your store, consider putting together a special display with these and similar games.

A similar option is to put together a display of card games that are accessible to youngsters and family-friendly. Games such as Glowfly’s Hecho, and Aquarius and Fluxx from Looney Labs would fit the bill nicely. Make sure to make a sign that says these are the store’s featured games for the week.

Design shelf talkers that list the salient features for each of the games. Who is the target audience? Will moms like to play it with their children? Is it educational? Does it promote cooperative or competitive play? Don’t overwhelm shoppers with small type, but give them something to think about.

Also, when you plan displays or events ahead, this gives you and your employees the chance to learn the games that will be featured. Nothing helps sell like an intimate knowledge of the product itself. Make knowing the game a fun part of employee training.

Product: Nile
Publisher: Minion Games
Stock No.: MNI NIL100
MSRP: $16.99
Availability: Visit for more information

Fun and family-friendly
Cards are a bit flimsy
Games are quick; good replayability
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