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Subject: The Mask Trilogy rss

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T. Rosen
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I recommend checking out this GeekList I made in July of 2005 when I had the same question

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/9169

Personally, I greatly prefer Java and would recommend trying to track down a copy. Between Tikal and Mexica, I don't think Mexica is really much lighter, and I think Tikal has a slight edge, but they are pretty different games actually. Tikal is not as good with just 2 players, better with more people I think, although others will differ. Good luck deciding, in the end you might decide you need to own all of them...
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Tony Chen
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I've only played Mexica. It's not that light. I like heavy games and I enjoyed it. Another game that isn't in the mask trilogy but plays somewhat similar to Mexica is Arkadia. I liked both, Arkadia slightly better.

Which one would I buy? I suppose Tikal even though I've never played it because I trust the BGG rankings.

I heard Mexica plays best with 4. I think for 2 players Arkadia will be a much better choice.
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Brandon Richards
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I just put Java on the marketplace. I was actually going to put it on Ebay tonight, but I will postpone for a few days. If you don't want to pay what I have asked, you can wait for me to put it on Ebay and maybe get it for a better price. It has been going for $35.00-50.00 lately, with the most recent at $36.00.
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Rick B
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filovirus wrote:
I just put Java on the marketplace.


That seems to me to be a pretty good deal, particularly with your offer to ship it with Mexica. If I didn't already have Java, I'd definitely get Java and Mexica for $75, shipping included.
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Ed
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If I had to pick one, I'd go with Mexica because it's simpler and plays faster, and that's what I prefer these days. I'd put it slightly above Settlers in terms of complexity. I've played both games with three or four players, and they both play fine that way. I've never tried either game with two. Not to complicate your decision further, but if you're looking at the Mask games, you should also consider Torres, which uses a similar action point system and I would say is the best of the four games (edit: and scales well from two to four, with two being the best).
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Andrew Faehnle
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Having played all games in the trilogy several times, I have to recommend Tikal and Java as my favorites. I find Mexica to be the most abstract of the three (by far), and also the lightest of the three (by far).

As for choosing between Java and Tikal, that's a tough choice. Tikal is, to me, the most thematic of the three (having grown up with Indiana Jones), but Java may be the better game. You probably can't go wrong with either (or both!) if you are a fan of heavier-than-average action-point-based games.

Finally, I find the sweet spot to be three players for the entire trilogy: not enough competition with two (which, in turn, reduces your available options by not changing the board too much between turns), and too much downtime with four.
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David Gibbs
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I've played all of them, plus Torres. Torres is a good game, but feels the driest of the the four. I used to play a fair bit of Tikal, and still play it occasionally. I've also got Mexica and like it. I want to get Java.

I've played Java the least of the group, and I currently think it is my favourite, but that could change with more plays. All of them are good games. Tikal is, I think, thematically the strongest -- and has always amused my friends with a background in Classics or Archaeology.
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Matt Tonks
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Funny you should ask; I was in a similiar position trying to decide whether it was worth getting the other two Mask trilogy games (I already had Tikal) not long ago. See the thread below:-

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/280272

Perhaps that gives you some more useful info?

Anyway, following these replies to my post, I eventually decided to buy Mexica (easy to find) & Java (harder, had to pay extra for a shrink copy from Italy).

Both are excellent games & of a different complexity to Tikal. After playing all 3, my preferences in order would be:-

Java
Tikal
Mexica
Torres

Thanks,

Matt...
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Nico Solitander
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Maksimov wrote:
Ok, I'd been thinking of buying Java, but apparently I waited far too long as it seems to be out of print at the moment. I've done a bit of research on the other two games in the mask trilogy and I'm slightly leaning towards Tikal, because it's visually more pleasing, but ofcourse that doesn't mean it's the better game.

I've understood Mexica is supposed to be good with just two players, but how about Tikal? Is there a big difference in how well they scale for different number of players? I've understood Mexica is the lightest game in the trilogy, but how light is it really? Are we talking light as fluff, or what? And how much lighter is it compared to Tikal? Questions, questions...

So...if you didn't have either of the two and could only have one of them, which would you buy and why?


I enjoy playing both Mexica and Tikal, and they hit our tables pretty often. Mexica is a crowd divider for sure, much more so than Tikal. It is abstract, more overtly than Tikal-and it does have an element of spatial awareness-a somewhat odd game. I have no clue why there is seemingly a dominant view that Mexica is lighter than Tikal. I could not disagree more. Mexica grows on many (but not on all) and opens up more depth than Tikal. Mexica is not heavy (I like heavy games and it is a sturdy medium for me, Tikal being medium-light) but it is more rewarding in terms of strategies than Tikal. There is a more overt element of analysis paralysis in Mexica than in Tikal, and the latter has some as well. Both can be played with 2, Mexica is better (or it might be that it is easier to find two players liking Mexica than three or four). Both are visually pleasing.

Java is very good and in between the both, I like Java better than Mexica and Mexica better than Tikal.
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I like Mexica and Java the best, more than Torres and much more than Tikal.

Unlike the other games, in Tikal, the process of getting your dudes on the boards as well as routing them to where you want them is a slow and laborious process. As such the game feels much more stiffled and slow moving than the other mask games where pieces can whiz around the board in a much more open fashion.

As such Java, Mexica and Torres focus more on geometry and manoeuvre. Tikal feels like more of a logistics planning game.
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Seth Jaffee
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Admittedly I haven't even played all these games, but I don't really like the amount of math you have to do to play a game of Torres or Java. All the permutations on your turn, and if you're going to play well you really need to consider each... takes forever, then you have to wait for 3 other players to do the same before you go again...

The same designers made Bison: Thunder on the Prairie, which is similar of course, but I think a lot better for a few reasons. See my review of it if you like: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/125981

I guess it's not in the series, but if you like that series (or sort of like it), you might check out Bison.

- Seth
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