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Top 5 Czech Games Edition Games

czech games edition tzolk'in

We’re back with another of our favourite publishers, and this time it is Czech Games Edition or CGE. The people behind Czech Games Edition came onto the scene in 2006 with Through the Ages and chose to stick together, founding the company in 2007. They boast over 40 different games and expansions in the last 15 years, mostly focusing on the publication of games by Czech and Slovak designers, such as Vladimír Suchý and Vlaada Chvátil. A lot of their games have become household names in the past few years, and there’s no doubt in my mind that their future releases hold a lot of promise. Deal with the Devil made it onto my Essen preview list and that looks VERY interesting. But enough about the future, let’s talk about some board games.

Tzolk’inNathan Coombs

Tzolk’in by Czech Games Edition is a heavyweight game by any measurement. Just lifting the game off the shelf and opening the lid you will find a box that is stuffed full of components. It weighs over 2kg and has a BGG heavyweight scoring of 3.67-but please do not let its apparent complexity and demands put you off.

This game is a visual feast of colour, cogs and components that fills any gaming table. It is in our top ten games as we love the dynamic worker placement element.
Tzolk’in is set in the Mayan civilisation of Central America. Each player is a tribe leader with a handful of workers who are aiming to develop their culture, appease the gods and feed their community. The huge board contains five cogwheels, all connected by a large central gear. Each movement of this central cog will allow the interconnecting wheels to mesh and advance slowly.

On each turn a player can choose to either place workers or retrieve any number of workers from their positions on these five cogs. As a worker is taken off a cog then certain bonuses or rewards are gained. With each turn of the central cog [and surrounding gears] so the workers move. The longer a worker remains on one of their gears, the more valuable action squares are obtained, but this will limit when a worker becomes available.

With five cogs permitting different resource acquisition, there are plenty of options to play. Unfortunately, even to place a worker does require the payment of currency [corn]. Every turn a worker remains unclaimed, the gears will move. Better resources could be obtained but he is unprofitable at that point. A full rotation of the central wheel determines an entire game with additional corn payments to be made at the quarter, half, and three-quarter positions. There is huge satisfaction when, through careful preplanning, all of your workers suddenly pull off a great combination of resource acquisition.

Tzolk’in is a really cleverly designed game with a placement optimization and resource conversion puzzle thrown in. With many options to place workers and a number of pathways to gain victory there is certainly no “one perfect way” to play. This means that all gamers can do well if they are organised and forward thinking! It may be big and heavy, but Tzolk’in is a really satisfying gaming experience for those who love heavy “eurogames”- and it certainly is not beige.

Lost Ruins Of ArnakHannah Blacknell

Remember back in the heady days of 2020 when we had a lot more free time because we couldn’t leave our homes? During that time, the board game gods gave us the gift of Lost Ruins of Arnak. This is a deck building worker placement mashup that is Indiana Jones on steroids. This game has a quite honestly massive board that you will be exploring throughout the game. At the start, the board will look pretty empty, but as you start to explore new regions, you will discover new worker placement spots. During each round you will use your hand of five cards to gain resources and you can spend these travelling and exploring new dig sites in the hopes of even greater rewards.

The game is played over 5 short rounds, and you will be trying to craft a better deck to ensure you are able to maximise each and every round. As well as crafting a deck for a better selection of actions, you also want to make sure you get cards into your deck for end game points too. In order to do this you will need to collect coins and compasses to buy these cards. But you will need the compasses to explore and exploring and defeating guardians will result in getting five lovely points each time. Also the research track, that gets you MEGA points. Don’t snooze on that research track.

There is so very much that you will want to do, and so you will left feeling that you want more after each game. This is precisely why this is one of my favourite games to play.


If you ask me to name the first Czech Games Edition game that comes into my head, it’d be Galaxy Trucker. Love that game but somebody else is already talking about that. So instead, I’m going to talk about another game of theirs I enjoy. Adrenaline.

I grew up playing a lot of Doom and Quake which has led to me having a lot of love for arena shooters. Well, Adrenaline is just that in cardboard. Sort of. Players take on the role of different combatants moving through an arena. You grab guns, load them up and then launch massive attacks at your opponents.

Thematically, it really feels like an old school arena shooter. But the clever bit is how the gameplay works. Sometimes what is fun to do in a videogame feels slow and monotonous when you make it turn based. That’s not the case with Adrenaline though, CGE have taken the essence of a multiplayer deathmatch videogame and added mechanisms that work in boardgames.

Adrenaline is sort of an area control game, you see, where you and your friends are the areas to control. Every time you deal damage to a player, that gets recorded. When that player takes one to many hits and dies, points are doled out with the person who dealt the most damage taking the lion share of the loot. You also get a bonus for landing the killing blow too. It’s a great system that although it’s not 100% how a videogame would do this, works really well here.

There are also a massive number of weapons that all feel act thematically. Rocket launchers can’t be fired next to you but hit everybody in the space you target and knock them back. There are also some power ups you can grab as well as variable maps. The maps are as close as this game gets to a disappointment for me. There are only 4 different layouts you can play on, I’d have loved a few more. There is also a great expansion which adds team play as well as a few character specific weapons as well. It’s not essential but it’s worth keeping an eye out for.

But yeah, that’s a quick look at Adrenaline. Well worth a look, especially of you also love an old school FPS shooter or two.

CodenamesPete Bartlam

Codenames is one of the most successful Czech Games Edition games. This compact box of loveliness has sold over 5 million copies in 40+ languages and has spawned many variations in both game play and theme. Zatu currently lists 11 different versions. This is because it is excellent and infinitely variable. It’s straightforward to learn and quick to play and you get a chance to show off to your friends how clever you are.

That is unless they misinterpret your brilliantly worded clue and accidentally uncover the assassin instead!

Codenames sees two teams (cells?) of agents being led by their spymaster to uncover their fellow agents from a field full of enemy agents, innocent bystanders and one deadly assassin. They are hidden by cards that each contain a single word. The spymasters see a grid corresponding to the 5x5 layout of the cards showing which are Red, Blue, neutral or deadly Black. Taking turns they give a single word clue to their team followed by a number. This indicates how many of their agents they can find by working out which words the clue relates to. If they reveal their own agents all well and good. If they reveal a grey innocent bystander their turn stops and if they reveal an enemy agent that is passed to the enemy team and again their turn ends. If they reveal the assassin it’s instant game over.

The skill lies in trying to link as many words at once without leaving yourself open to misinterpretation. In the example shown I might say as Blue : “Up 2” hoping they’ll guess “Line” and “Beat” and not go for “Belt” and horror I just realised “Wind” which I read like a breeze can also be read to rhyme with ”Find” and be another mis-step!

It helps if you know your team well and can lean on shared experiences and in-jokes. If all else fails, you can always employ the tactic used by a losing team of Zatu bloggers at Zatucon and explode a beer glass to end the game. (Editor’s note: I don’t know what he’s talking about, we weren’t losing…)

Galaxy TruckerLuke Pickles

Czech Games Edition has some absolute bangers and we’ve covered most of them already. But one which is always going to bring a smile to my face and have a laugh whilst playing is Galaxy Trucker. In Galaxy Trucker, you are part of Corporation Incorporated, building cargo ships to take across the galaxy. Players first have to build their spaceship by picking up tiles and frantically adding them to the board, making sure the connections are all legal. You’ll be grabbing tiles with engines, shields, batteries, storage and habitats for their workers. Once you have built your ship to your own standards (or you’ve panicked and you want to finish), you can grab an order marker and set off.

Once everyone has built and all the ships have been checked for legal placements, you enter the flight phase and set off into space. Various flight cards are revealed, based on the round you are in, and players deal with the consequences of their actions and positioning. Being first means you get first refusal of the loot but you get delayed in picking it up. It also means you’re first to be hit by a meteorite or pirates so there’s a fair bit of risk and reward. At the end of each voyage, you tally up how many credits you’ve received, and at the end of the third round, the player with the most credits wins.

I love this game, partly because of how nuts it is but also because it’s a game I can convince my non-gamer friend to play with me. I also really enjoy the stories that come from the flight phase. Such as a junker ship flies off, it’s immediately hit by meteorites and loses all its engines. It’s not one you can take too seriously because you never know what will happen.

That concludes our list of the top 5 Czech Games Edition games. Is there any we missed? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.