iwonka dytko
Poland
flag msg tools
I'm not going to write yet another Tzolk'in game review....
There is plenty of them already well done by other people, so I will skip the overall description of the game and the rules explanation. I assume that you already know the basics of the game or just read a preivous review... I link here an excellent on by Graham Dean

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/876338/tzolkin-mayan-cal...

...so why should I post another review of the game?
I had the chance and the honor to try an advanced prototype of the game, and played it toghether with expert players.
I then played several games with the actual game, and could appreciate the changes and balancing made with it. Also went deeper into the game features and the strategies that can be played with it.

Now I will try to give you a deeper sight of the game.
(And apologize for my english of course...)

- Gears.

First of all a couple of words about the wheels... I heard several times people discuting if the wheels are essential or gimmick and if the game could stand or not without it...
The game IS the CALENDAR. The gear is the core of it.
So, NO the gears are not gimmick and NO the game won't stand without them; but not because the game itself it's not good and needs the gear to appear good, but because the game is built around it and simply features something totally new.

- Mechanism.

I heard someone (few people indeed) saying, it's yet another worker placement game.. with a nice twist (the gear ).
Well... this game is sooo far from being just another working placement game. The mechanism itself consisting of place or remove the worker (taking the action only when you remove it), even if it was implemented without the gears, is something so fresh and new to put the game over the mass....
But the implementation of this mechanism toghether with the gears is so elegant and easy, and it flows so smooth that brings this game to the top among the best development&resources-managing games out there.
The designers named this mechanism dynamic worker placement, and in my opinion this will become an archetype for a genre, as it was Puerto Rico for the 'Roles Picking' and Caylus for the 'Workers Placement'.

- Strategy and Replayability.

I also heard a few people saying that this game is only a matter of tactitcally place the workers on the gears... or that it is not very strategic... or better that it's not balanced because some strategies are better then others... and also that it might not be very re-playable, compared with other eurogames.... and all of this after ONE or maybe A COUPLE of plays!!! wow

There are several paths to victory in this game, and all of them perform different in different games. There are a couple of straight away strategy that are easy to follow, so they seam to be stronger then other... but there are other who are more difficult to manage, but in the end can provide more victory points, but only if you plan everything good.
Also the changing starting setup is enough to make each game different from each other. The monuments available make some strategies more effective in some games then in others, and also may pilot your strategies choices.. or not (it depends on you!)
The starting wealth tiles (that you choose 2 out of 4) give you a different start in each game, and the chance to maximize a certain strategy among others.
All of this gives to the game an great replayability! Much more then Caylus where only the starting tiles on the board change, and also more then Agricola, where the illusion of the different game has given only by the cards that introduce a big alea in the game.
Also the way and the order in which you can perform the action on the wheels varies so much during the game that you never has the feeling that you are doing the same thing.

- Strategies

It's not easy to explain how to play this game at best... you have to play a few times and develop your own feeling with the gears... you will end up to love or hate them...
I will give you a few hints.

- This game can be won just keeping the 3 starting workers, or making all six of them. The main issue is the managing of the corn, and how to use it to place the workers (feeding them it's not a big issue). If you keep the number low you will need less time (that's a true resource in the game) to spend to make corn, so you can use it to do other things; on the other side having many of them will cost you much, not only to feed all of them (that's now a issue..), but also to use them efficiently, because if you don't have enough corn to place several of them each turn you don't get any benefit by having so many! But if you manage to use them at best you will have a great boost when making actions.
For the games I played and observed, a straight away and easy way to play is having 4 workers and placing 2 of them each time. You just pay 1 corn (plus the position costs) each time and you can easily play them efficiently. Of course you won't be able to do this always, but it's a hint on how to play the game until you become expert...

- An easy strategy to follow is placing skulls... the better thing to do is to quickly take the first two advancements in the tehology technologies row, while you get the first skull... and always get a double step up on the temple each time you place one of it. Then take the 3rd tech advancement so you will get 2 skulls the next time you get them.. or take one with a further development...
As for the Chizten Itza gear... consider that early in the game it's better to place skulls in the lower position, because Chaac rewards you better in the first age, and also you don't keep workers busy too long since the beginning.

- An extreme strategy you can try, is making early in the game all of the six pawns, and use the most of the early turns to place them on the Palenque gear, making a few wood (better if taken in the starting tile) to develop the agriculture.. you will plunder that gear making a lot of corn and also taking it out from other players... you will probabily spend the most of the first age to just develop and survive... but in the second age you will kick asses...
Consider that this strategy is far from being easy, but it can be applied on different subsequent strategies to make points... i.e buildings using Uxmal... and using corn to buy gold to the market toward the end of the game to buy monuments...

- Winning the game concentrating to resources developments and buildings is probabily the most difficult strategy... and if you try it in your first games you will probabily be frustrated by the lack of results... but when you will be able to manage it at best you will realize that is extremely powerful not only because it will provide you many points but also because it can be use tactically in different ways during the game!

There are several other things you can do... I'm not going to ruin your exploration of the game but all of them are balanced, because the slightly stronger strategies are more difficult to play at best and so more prone to mistakes...

- Tactic

I'm not going to tell much here, since it's so evident the tactical implications of this game during the placements.
Also the use of the double gear turning can be used in different ways. Use it when you have more workers then other players on the gears (or possibily when you are the only one on ), will give you a fair advantage, but also using it to screw some other players that planned exactly what to do that turn can be fun...

Always keep an eye of what other players do... it might seam you can play alone but it's absolutely not true. Always aware of the temples revenues and try to steal the top to other player before the ages end.
Control what other player are doing to see if they can make alot of points with some monument... in that case if you are not able to take that monument at least buy other buildings or take corn or wood tiles or whatever can help disrupting the opponents strategy.

- 2 and 3 players game.

A few words on this to say that the dummy workers thing is great and really makes even the 2 players game experience very satisfying. It really gives you the feeling of playing with more players saving all the difficulties and advantages of it.
Something that cannot be said of any game...


- Conclusions

In the end, we have an archetype for a new elegant and powerwul mechanism, that origins from the worker placement, but it brings it to a further level.
I put this game among the very top games like Puerto Rico, Caylus and Power Grid. All games that has introduced something really new in the eurogames genre!
And above other very good games including Agricola, Le Havre, Pillars of the Earth, Trayan and so on...

My rating is a full 10
47 
 Thumb up
5.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kolby Reddish
United States
Nampa
Idaho
flag msg tools
designer
the Yellow Sign?
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with many of your opinions here. In fact the only thing that I get tired of with this game is the AP that some players have due to the wheel.

I still think this is a great game that will definitely be a classic in a few years.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron
Switzerland
Leysin
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Great overview! Game isn't worth the premium cost it is going for (cough, cough, Funagain...$72.99, which is JUST below their free shipping mark) but it will be a sure pick-up in my circle once it reaches a reasonable price!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alkis Moraitis
Australia
Sydney Olympic Park
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
We gotta get out while we 're young, `cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review iwonka!

But seriously man, I am so drooling now. I can't wait to get a copy of this game. I can see it in my all time top ten very easily.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Sutherland
United Kingdom
(just) West of London
Middlesex
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent positive review of my favourite game (so far) of this years Essen games. A good counter to all the "nay sayers" who are dismissing the game. This game has "clicked" for me. whereas, say Hawaii, did not. I can only guess that the game did not click for them.

reddish22 wrote:
I agree with many of your opinions here. In fact the only thing that I get tired of with this game is the AP that some players have due to the wheel.

I still think this is a great game that will definitely be a classic in a few years.

Ah, I suffered this in a recent play. Really frustrating because although the game demands good play, over analysing it is almost a waste - it's not that complicated at all. I think it might be a little early to think it might be a classic in a few years, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable game at the moment.

jaxommm wrote:
Great overview! Game isn't worth the premium cost it is going for (cough, cough, Funagain...$72.99, ...

Yikes! In my rating of the game I have said "Wonderful production values especially at the price. Other manufacturers/publishers of games should take note that quality and great game play can be made affordable". But I paid 30 Euros including shipping (and I live in the UK). Even allowing for shipping and duties, the price to you does seem a tad steep!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
manolo mr
Spain
Sevilla
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
I love this game. My favourite mechanics are worker placement and resorces management, and this game achieves both of them, and of what way - due to its new dynamic.

Besides, the design of the board is incredibly beutiful. Two things more: (1) you are right with the title of the review --> one of the best eorogames ever; and (2) my rating is also a full 10.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The games price here in the States should be much more reasonable once it's released over here. Funagain prices are high because these are copies they purchased at Essen and then had shipped over here.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin
United Kingdom
Colchester
Essex
flag msg tools
Helllow Bayyybee
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A good and positive review iwonka.

I am getting this soon and your review has given me some food for thought. When I read the various reviews I did think it would be a good game, perhaps not a 10, but I am looking forward to it.

You English is very good and a lot better than my Polish.

Dziękuję.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ik ben een kleine boefje
Spain
Madrid
flag msg tools
2006/2011 (Amsterdam - Maastricht - Apeldoorn - Den Haag -Delft) Vijf jaar dat ik ga nooit vergeten.
badge
Warning: Very handsome user.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review, I can´t wait to play the game again next tuesday...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gabriele Pezzato
Italy
Padova
PD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Can someone give me a comparison between Tzolk'in and Stone Age? They seem to be quite similar but what I would like to know is how they compare in the following categories:

- interaction: Stone Age is a bit "multiplayer solitaire".

- scalability: SA plays well with 2 to 4 players (5 with expansion).

- flow/tension: I think this is the worst aspect of Stone Age: the game is slow from start to end and you always repeat the same actions without any particular "surprise". Also, there is not very much tension.

How about Tzolk'in?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Grogan
United Kingdom
Cullompton
Devon
flag msg tools
designer
Check out all my instructional How to Play videos at youtube.com/GamingRulesVideos
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Apart from they are both worker placement games, gathering resources and building buildings, they are nothing alike

Seiously, Stone Age is lighter, I would play with family. Tzolkin I would not.
Interaction is about the same, maybe more in Tzolkin, but subtle in both.
Scalability, I think Tzolkin scales better.
Flow: Tzolkin starts off slow. By 1/4 of the way through the game, most players will have 0VP and only have done a 'bit' of something, but then it all ramps up and near the end, players can be doing all sorts of stuff.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lisa Schensted
United States
Lakefield
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with you that the dummy players do not detract at ALL from the 2 player mechanics. I was pleasantly surprised!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.