Alexandria: A Library in Cinders Is A Unique Eurogame About Saving Books From The Burning Library of Alexandria

Seth Ryals-Fernandes

Seth Ryals-Fernandes is the owner and main author at TableTopCrazy. His love for modern board games is still budding, and he enjoys writing here at TableTopCrazy as a hobby.

The Quick Deets on Alexandria: A Library in Cinders:

    • 2-4 Players
    • 45-60 min playtime
    • $29 for Basic Edition
    • $44 for Deluxe edition (more on this later)
    • Expected Release Dec. 2017
    • Mechanics: Set Collection, Action Point Allocation
    • Kickstarter Page

Alexandria, a quick summary

Alexandria is a board game that takes place in ancient Egypt during the burning of the library of Alexandria. Supposedly this event took place when Caesar was besieged there. There are also several other theories, but those are irrelevant for the purposes of this game.

In Alexandria: A Library in Cinders you play one of several characters who are not specifically named. Each with their own abilities. The goal of the game for 3 of the characters is to save as many things from the library as possible before it burns.

The players score points for saving books, relics, or people from each room before it burns up. Some of these come in sets, which you get extra points for collecting. Some characters might also get more points for saving specific types of people or objects. The game ends after 5 rounds, and the winner is the player with the most points.

Burning up time in Alexandria to save books

The main mechanic by which players take their actions is to use time. Each player has a time marker on a centralized time counter. All players start each turn with 8 time. Players use their time, and occasionally other players’ time, each turn to perform actions. Actions like moving, using unique character cards, and drawing. Once a player’s time runs out, they can’t take any more actions for that turn. On the next turn, the time resets for all players.


This seems, without having played the game of course, to be a cool way to “gameify” something that would really be happening in that situation. I mean if you were in a burning building you wouldn’t have infinite time to do all the things you wanted to do. Which in this case is saving burning books, and people.

Replayability in Alexandria

If you’re a regular reader here at Tabletopcrazy, you know that replayability is really important to me. When I buy a game I want to be able to play it until just the thought of playing it makes me want to beat my head against the wall. At least that’s how I like to evaluate replayability.

That all being said, Alexandria has something that a lot of games attempt to have but not many pull off. And that is semi-random map generation. The map in Alexandria is actually different every time you play. This is achieved through a semi random, semi guided tile placement at the beginning of every game.

During setup all tiles are stacked and shuffled. Then on the back of each tile there is a direction indicated. You place the tile in the orthogonal direction in relation to the last tile placed. This is a cool, and intuitively simple way to randomize the map for every game.

Just the tip of the iceberg

Alexandria is a very complex game. The full rulebook can be found here. I read the full 12 pages of the rulebook, but there is honestly too much to cover there in a single post that is a reasonable length. I tried to highlight some of what I thought were the more interesting mechanics here.

Overall though, I think Alexandria is a really cool sounding and looking game. The art style is unique and matches the theme well. The mechanics of the game make a ton of sense with the game. Even the historical aspect of it interests me to a certain extent, even though I am not a history buff by any means.

The game gets a two-thumbs up from me, at least in concept, as I have not played it. But if you want to play it you can for free here at tabletopia. You might be seeing a review of it up here around December of this year!

Seth Ryals-Fernandes

Seth Ryals-Fernandes is the owner and main author at TableTopCrazy. His love for modern board games is still budding, and he enjoys writing here at TableTopCrazy as a hobby.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.