Released by Milton Bradley in 1971, Voice of the Mummy lets players imagine they are explorers hunting for jewels inside the tomb of an ancient pharaoh.
The game is designed for two to four players ages seven to 14, though people over 14 might also find it entertaining. The box includes a tiered game board, a mini record player hidden under the mummy’s sarcophagus at the centre of the game board/tomb, four explorer pawns in blue, red, green, and yellow, four home base temples, 28 precious jewels (worth one point each), one great jewel (worth five points), one cobra spell piece (a five-point penalty), one double-sided record, a single six-sided die, and instruction manual.
The game’s objective is to be the explorer to return to one’s temple with enough jewels to earn top points and win the game. Achieving this objective is full of wins and losses along the way. The game board is decorated with ornate hieroglyphics that set the scene. Players make their way around the game board by rolling the die and moving their pawns. Players may land on spaces that include hieroglyphics (no action required), stairs (allowing players to move up and down the three-dimensional game board), contain jewels (take those for points), or on an image of the mummy. This is where the game gets interesting.
When a player lands on an image of the mummy, they pull a small lever on the mummy’s sarcophagus to hear a command from the dead pharaoh. (Commands are played via a concealed record player and small yellow record.) One of 20 possible commands prompts the player to take action such as: give up jewels to fellow players, take jewels from other players, move up or down the game board, and more. Players race up the board in an effort to land on one of the spaces that allow them to take possession of the single great jewel from the foot of the sarcophagus. This acquisition comes at a cost, however: along with taking the great jewel, the player must also take possession of the cobra-spell game piece that carries a five-point penalty.
To win a player must unburden themselves, of the spell piece as they make their way out of the tomb by landing on the same space as another player and handing them the cobra spell. The game ends when one player makes it back down the game board to their home temple. Players count their gems and the player with the most points wins.
The game retailed for $15.95 USD upon its release. Milton Bradley pulled out all the stops in the game’s design. The board is colourful and ornate, and its three-dimensional board gives the feeling of progression. The disembodied voice of the mummy adds an eerie element to the game. For the legions of kids who longed to be Howard Carter in search of King Tut’s tomb, you couldn’t get much closer than this board-game adventure.
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