Last night was the third week in a row that I played Tikal as it is our groups Game of the Month. But it ws the first time I played the Auction varient.
Having done pretty good the last two weeks, I felt I knew what I should do, but it didn't work out so well.
Treasures were evenly spread for the first two or three rounds, but three of the four players playing sort of expanded out away from the starting base camp while the fourth, Don, took up residency on the 1 point temple printed on the board and a 2 point temple he placed right next to it along the edge of the board.
While the three of us went out in search of new treasures and temples, Don stayed near the starting base. I found myself often in direct competition with another player. The two of us were also the ones that bid more points to play while the other two players rarely paid more than 1 or 2 points. I believe Don only paid once and that was 1 point.
Don was able to excavate those two temples to a level 10 and a level 7 and then place a guard on each of them - both without competition - No one even came close to causing him any problems. He actually got to the level 10 before the second scoring round and didn't have to remove any pieces from the game - just the one placed on top of the temple.
I was able to get the level 9 temple, but I had to use my Expedition Leader and two more worker to do so. My other temple was a 6 or 7, One other player grabbed an 8 and the last got a 7 and a 6. But none of us could match Don.
He got the most points from his big temples, got several more points from nearby 4's, 5's and maybe a 6 by the end of the game, but the rest of were using lots of actions to grab treasures. Don did seem to complain that he wasn't getting the treasure points he wanted, but from my experience I believe treasures are nice but should be secondary. The definately weren't worth the effort I gave them last night.
At the end of the game Don still hadn't played either of his base camps and didn't have a single worker out of the game and most of his that were still on the board were very close to the starting base camp. He played the best and ended with a score of about 120 to our 105, 95, 90 (approximately) scores. (I was the 95)
Next time, don't let another player build up large temples uncontested
I like to do that myself. I'll often put a leader plus one or two guys on a temple and build quickly. When it comes time to cap, move the leader off somewhere else, and you only lose 1-2 guys.
The key is to make sure it would take too many action points for someone else to go after you. Once you get into a big war over a high scoring temple, it's hard to stop.