1974 is an important year for the gaming hobby. It is the year that Dungeons & Dragons was introduced, the original RPG from which all other RPGs would ultimately be derived and the original RPG from which so many computer games would draw for their inspiration. It is fitting that the current owner of the game, Wizards of the Coast, released the new version, Dungeons & Dragons, Fifth Edition, in the year of the game’s fortieth anniversary. To celebrate this, Reviews from R’lyeh will be running a series of reviews from the hobby’s anniversary years, thus there will be reviews from 1974, from 1984, from 1994, and from 2004—the thirtieth, twentieth, and tenth anniversaries of the titles. These will be retrospectives, in each case an opportunity to re-appraise interesting titles and true classics decades on from the year of their original release.
The Valley Of The Pharaohs: Role Playing Adventure in Ancient Egypt appears to have been reviewed just the once. This was by designer Jonathan Tweet, in the ‘Game Reviews’ department of Different Worlds Issue 45 (March/April 1987). He wrote, “The biggest obstacle to running a Valley of the Pharaohs campaign is the lack of motives for adventuring. The rules sanely remind gamemasters that armed adventurers freelancing as monster exterminators do not belong in 'the civilized, orderly land of Egypt but do not offer alternatives to the kinds of adventures players usually enjoy. If the game was designed so that the scholar, merchant, and soldier characters could have exciting adventures in civilized country like Egypt using all the noncombat skills described, Valley of the Pharaohs would have been given a better rating, but the game left me with no excitement as to the possibilities for scenarios.” before concluding that, “The Valley of the Pharaohs, then, would be a worthwhile game for those with deep interest in ancient Egypt and for those gamemasters with enough energy and imagination to synthesize historical background and basic game mechanics into an original and exciting campaign. Good luck to those of you who try.” He awarded The Valley Of The Pharaohs: Role Playing Adventure in Ancient Egypt just one-and-a-half stars.