I love a good two-player game that keeps both players engaged. We first saw Sobek: 2 Players at Origins in 2022 and jumped at the chance to review the game. Erin and I are super competitive and this seemed like a great fit for our weekly gaming dates. Sobek: 2 Players is a new spin on a Bruno Cathala card game that is more than a decade old.
The Bustling Market
The market board in Sobek: 2 Players is seeded with goods tiles, Sobek tiles (wilds) and character tiles. In this market, players will move the Ankh token, collecting the good that the Ankh token lands on. If you want a tile that’s further away, any tiles the Ankh moves over must be taken as corruption.
Players work to collect sets of goods in order to sell them for the most victory points. The scarab symbol that shows up on some of these crates is a multiplier for that type of good. Collecting valuable sets is important, as long as you can get to them.
On a players turn, they can take a tile (moving the Ankh), sell a set of 3 goods or more, or play a character tile that they previously collected. Character tiles are added to the board face down and each one has a unique ability. Some are helpful to gather sets, earning Deben coins, or they may just ruin your opponents plans.
Sobek: 2 Players has players vying for just the right spots in the market without giving your opponent too much of an edge. Each time you collect a goods tile, the Ankh token is oriented in a specific way based on the tile you just received. The board is constantly changing as tiles are removed and gaps in the board open up.
Don’t Get Too Greedy
Big sets of goods with a number of scarab icons means big points. It can be easy to fall into the trap of holding onto everything just to collect points. At some point, you need to sell your items to lock in those victory points. There are 2 characters that can penalize you for your greed by cutting down your collection when you’re holding more than 6 goods.
Timing is everything in this game and watching your opponent is key. When you sell your goods on your turn, the other player may still use their turn to take another tile from the market. Trying to sync up with your opponent is helpful as you get into a rhythm of collecting goods and setting up big sales opportunities.
Along the side of the market board are Pirogue tokens. These are bonuses that are earned after the first 5 sales that take place. Being the first to grab these tokens can be a big win for players. If your opponent sells their goods before you, they’re gaining these bonuses along the side of the board.
Once the market board cannot be refilled with tiles, the game is over and it’s time to score.
Riches Along the Nile
Sobek: 2 Players is a pure set collection game that offers players tough decisions throughout. On some of the tiles, you’ll notice a Deben coin symbol. This is a coin that is pulled from a cloth bag that counts toward your end game victory points. Sometimes these coins can be a bigger point boost than gathering the actual goods tile. To be a real jerk, it’s fun to gather these specially marked tile with the knowledge that your opponent needs it for the featured good.
I really like the way that the Ankh tile dictates what’s available to the next player. It’s a creative way to move around the board and potentially put your opponent in tough situation. Burying the Ankh token behind a lot of tiles means your opponent might take on multiple corruption tiles to get what they need.
While corruption in Sobek: 2 Players sounds harsh, it’s really not too horrible. For each 3 corruption tiles you collect, your opponent gets to pull a Deben coin from the bag. Since these coins range from 3 to 9 points, this random swing of points can be rough. Keeping your corruption pile in line with your opponent will keep them from possibly pulling out a win at the end of the game.
At the end of the game, tiles that cannot be sold in a set are added to the corruption pile. Don’t get caught with too many of these stray tiles!
Sobek: 2 Players is puzzley, a little mean at times and plays in around 30 minutes which is just right. This is a welcome addition to our gaming date nights and one that will stay in the rotation for years to come.
You can purchase Sobek: 2 Players from your local game store or through the Pandasaurus webstore.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- Ankh movement in the market is a great puzzle
- Character abilities are powerful and diverse
- Quick turns keep players engaged
- Market is always different each game
- Deben coins can be a big influx of random points