My mother said do something with your life. Learn new trades, teach our people and travel to new Islands in a canoe. Be a noble. I am halfway up a mountain to give pig poo to the prophets to keep their fire burning. This wasn’t in the job description.
Tindaya is the first game by Red Mojo Games and gained over 1800 crowdfunding backers. Essentially this is a cooperative survival gameplay but with a difference. Every tribe needs to survive at the end of each era and end game conditions as well. If you all survive, there is final check to see if won the game (cooperative mode) or the winner (competitive mode).
Where On Earth Am I?
It is the 15th Century in the Canary Islands. The Imazghen tribes live a peaceful life, farming, fishing and keeping animals. Travelling the seas and learn new trades. Carefully using the island’s limited resources. Their villagers tend to the settlements. Nobles seek out knowledge and appease the gods. Their lives were shattered by the arrival of the evil Spanish conquistadors. Killing the people and overrunning the islands.
There are 8 Canary Islands. Each island with a volcano, lush forests, sweeping shore and high mountains. Great for crop growing, pig farming, fishing or goat herding. Build a new home for the expanding tribe, they must be fed. Explore the islands and meet new people. The Spanish conquistadors start to populate the beautiful islands and build forts.
Your small tribe of 2 nobles and 3 villagers must plan out their lives. Making the Gods happy is their main priority. They are fussy and will only accept certain food, animals or resources each era. Human sacrifice is an alternative, who is going to miss a few conquistadors? An angry God will increase their wrath. Causing widespread disaster occurs or even total destruction.
Living in fear, survival is the name of the game. Everyone’s tribe must be fed, sheltered and no wastage otherwise the Gods are upset again.
The prophets Tibiabin and Tamonante can help. They reveal the future of Mount Tindaya. Where the Gods will cause catastrophe and their intended choices of destruction. Which islands will the conquistadors’ ship appear near, only the prophets know. At the start of the era, the prophet’s fire needs to keep burning. Each tribe offers materials for information but if there is not enough it will be a dark future.
Don’t forget your mission goal or objectives. A plan is the key but it will be tight by the time you reach the end of the era.
Time To Take Action
A villager’s life is very simple. Gathering raw materials and producing goods. Livestock need tending and bartering with visiting tribes. The nobles are wiser and travel the islands by canoe. Establishing new settlements or learn new trades. Leading the battle to fight off unwanted conquistadors’ settlements to reclaiming land. The toughest job is visiting a volcano and appeasing the Gods.
Developing your trade will boost your goods and weapons. You need to look to the future and survive. The Artisan Market is where you can buy an idol, a large vessel or walls. Idols can be used for one-time benefits or destroyed to gain a resource. Walls can protect against conquistadors or some catastrophes.
Each Player has a trade board and tribe panel. Goods and materials are represented by resource tokens and placed on your boards. A cube represents 1 action and a cylinder means you can take the same action twice. Managing these well will ensure success. Bear in mind, raw materials and wild animals are limited. Exploitation is not always beneficial.
The End Of An Era
The wilderness displays the end-of-era routine. The first group relates to people and animals. In life, reproduction will happen. Any area with at least 2 humans or animal, a new life will appear. Villagers need feeding and shelter. Don’t upset the Gods by allowing them to die. Gods hate waste, don’t overproduce food. Too much garbage and they get angry.
If the Gods have received the offerings, they will lower their wrath level. The destruction begins. The higher the wrath level, the greater the impact area. Careful planning and everyone survive but the islands may change. The conquistadors arrive and you must fight. Empty islands will become occupied. Survive and a new era will dawn.
At End Game, the wilderness displays more survival conditions. Keeping control of the islands. against conquistadors. This is a goal you watch during the whole game. Finally, the mission or other objectives are reviewed. The final game score is applied if necessary.
Alliance (cooperative) vs Dominion (competitive)
Tindaya is based on survival. Playing the Dominion mode doesn’t feel like it is an afterthought. More things to think about. secret planning and use opportunities to gain solidarity (victory) points or minimise losses. It’s very easy to be so engrossed in surviving, you can easily forget other objectives. It doesn’t mean Alliance mode is easier. There is a mission to complete.
The Dominion mode introduced something new. Secret player objectives where you only look at these when you pick them. They are kept face down in front of you. Players place positive and negative point tokens on anyone’s card. If you complete the goal, you only gain or lose points if there are token(s) on them.
The sea tiles (bases) are nicely designed. Solid with little restrictions when shaping the sea. Creating the islands with terrain tiles is fun. The various terrains are recognisable. The dual-layered player boards are beautifully designed with great iconography. The nobles and villagers are nice and are distinguishable on the islands. The card designs are well thought out. A combination of lovely pictures and is easily identifiable. The rest of the pieces are generic and the cardboard tokens are not outstanding.
Tindaya is a tough game and very tight in surviving each era. Make a mistake and it is possible to put yourself back on track. Although it never got to the point it’s not worth continuing and you felt you could still survive. Tindaya is very well-designed and thought-out. Every time I played it, I appreciated it more.
The tutorial is a great way in introducing you to the gameplay. The rulebook is very good. The player aid is good once you have learnt it. Setup can take some time but is enjoyable creating islands. I haven’t achieved 30 minutes per player game and felt it is an underestimate.
I have lost count of the number of OMG moments. At the end of each era, islands could change shape and size. Tindaya is a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. It felt satisfying.