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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Good quality components.
  • Different interactive board.
  • Replay-ability with new players.
  • Expansion available.
  • Great value for money.

Might Not Like

  • Big rule book.
  • Confusing rules at time.
  • Can get less interesting if played with the same people all the time.
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Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar Review

Tzolkin-The-Mayan-Calendar-Review.jpg

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar is a fun, competitive game based on the theme of the Mayan calendar. You go through the days of the calendar and collect resources and earn favour with three gods, Quetzalcoatl, Kukulcan and Chaac.

The more resources you have will help you advance in victory points or on the three Gods temples. You want to advance on the temples before the other players to gain more rewards which in turn will gain you more victory points.

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar is designed by Daniele Tascini and Simone Luciani, and published by Czech Games Edition. It is a 2-4 player game and takes about 90 minutes to play. As this game works well with three or four players there is a dummy player introduced in the two player version.

The box and the components are very eye catching, even if you are not particularly interested in the theme at the beginning by the end you will be trying to beat your fellow players to race above them in the eye of the Mayan Gods.

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar - Components

There are many different components in this game which can put people off sometimes, but there is a place on the board for most of them. You have your own colour of workers, markers and scoring counters in red, blue, yellow and green. Then there are the resource cubes. Grey for stone, gold for gold and brown for wood. There is also nice blue skulls which are the more unusual of the components.

You have two types of token for corn, a small one representing one corn and a larger one, for five corn. Both look good and are a nice thickness, which helps with the life of the component. Lastly we have the tiles. There are five different types of tile: harvest tiles, monuments, buildings and starting wealth tiles. All the tiles have simplistic but nice art that pictate actions or resources.

All in all a very nice variety of components that are sure to please most people. The biggest and the most impressive component in this game is the board itself. There is a large gear in the centre with five smaller gears connected to the central gear.

The central gear will be moved at the end of each round allowing the players to perform certain tasks. This is definitely the main focal point in the game and is a big reason why I enjoy Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar so much.

You have two types of token for corn, a small one representing one corn and a larger one, for five corn. Both look good and are a nice thickness, which helps with the life of the component. Lastly we have the tiles. There are five different types of tile: harvest tiles, monuments, buildings and starting wealth tiles. All the tiles have simplistic but nice art that pictate actions or resources.

All in all a very nice variety of components that are sure to please most people. The biggest and the most impressive component in this game is the board itself. There is a large gear in the centre with five smaller gears connected to the central gear.

The central gear will be moved at the end of each round allowing the players to perform certain tasks. This is definitely the main focal point in the game and is a big reason why I enjoy Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar so much.

Gameplay

Setting up Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar for the first time can take a while as you have to attach the gears to the board, but after that it is just like any other component based game. Once you have chosen your colour you are randomly dealt four starting wealth tiles, pick two and you will get the items depicted on each tile. You can get food, resources, skulls, favour with a specific God or be able to advance on the technology board. Some tiles will give you three different items while others will give you many of the same item.

The starting player is the person who recently sacrificed something, this usually gets a few laughs as everyone starts shouting out the ridiculous things they sacrificed last. A round is pretty simple, you either place as many workers as you wish, as long as you can pay for them with your corn, or pick up as many workers as you wish. When you pick up workers you get whatever action you are next to.

On your first round, everyone will be placing their workers and if you are lucky enough to be the first player your workers are free. If you're playing the two player variation there may be a dummy player already on the first free space. All players after the first must place their worker on the next available space of whichever gear they choose, but they will then have to pay the cost of the space - One corn, two corn etc.

In this game you will have to think ahead a few moves as the longer you stay on a gear the better the reward when you pick up that worker. Sometimes it's good to not place all your workers at the same time or be willing to pick up one early if you are trying to let another get further on a dial, as you have to either place workers or pick them up - you cannot skip a turn.

At the end of each round, the dial is moved one or two notches around. Each player can only turn the board two notches once per game. This is an interesting mechanic as when you suddenly move twice instead of once it can put a spanner in other player's plans.

The thing to remember when playing Tzolk'in is that the higher favour you get with the Gods the more victory points you will get. But in order to get favour or resources you need corn.

On the centre gear there are two green stickers and two orange stickers. When they reach the start marker you either have to feed your workers with corn or score what points you have at that time. If at the feeding days you don't have enough food or any tiles to help feed your workers you will have to beg, which will lose you victory points. Once the first sticker is back in the starting position the game ends.

At the end of each round, the dial is moved one or two notches around. Each player can only turn the board two notches once per game. This is an interesting mechanic as when you suddenly move twice instead of once it can put a spanner in other player's plans.

The thing to remember when playing Tzolk'in is that the higher favour you get with the Gods the more victory points you will get. But in order to get favour or resources you need corn.

On the centre gear there are two green stickers and two orange stickers. When they reach the start marker you either have to feed your workers with corn or score what points you have at that time. If at the feeding days you don't have enough food or any tiles to help feed your workers you will have to beg, which will lose you victory points. Once the first sticker is back in the starting position the game ends.

Final Thoughts

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar is a good fun game that is also aesthetically appealing. There is enough to do that when it is another player's shot you are not twiddling your thumbs, you're planning what you need and cursing when someone else uses the move you were going to do.

Once you have played the game a few times and you know what you want to do it doesn't take as long and I found myself wanting it to go on longer. I think there is good replay-ability with new players but if you are playing with the same people you will become familiar with their strategies.

On the whole, the rule book is very well laid out and easy to understand especially as it's 16 pages. But there is one section that gave us some trouble as it was easily misinterpreted, Technologies, and it took us a couple of games to realise we had been playing that part wrong. You can buy this game for for very little which is great for everything you get.

There is now an expansion for Tzolk'in called Tribes and Prophecies. This expansion increases the game from a four player to a five player and gives you 13 tribes! Each player becomes the leader of their tribe and has a special ability that only they can use. It also introduces prophecies that will affect the players. That is now a definite on my to get list.

I think this could be a good way to get more replay-ability out of Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar, even when playing with the same people. This expansion can be bought for so little! So for not that much money you could have a really good game plus an expansion for about the same price as a lot of games by themselves.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Good quality components.
  • Different interactive board.
  • Replay-ability with new players.
  • Expansion available.
  • Great value for money.

Might not like

  • Big rule book.
  • Confusing rules at time.
  • Can get less interesting if played with the same people all the time.

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