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Subject: Thebes or Tikal? rss

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Aurelio Agustin
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I'm looking for an exploration game, I think thebes may be fun and has a lot of theme but too many people says that it involves a lot of luck. on the other hand Tikal seems very interesting too and it also involves exploration and the search for treasures.
so my question is, which one you think is better?
 
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Brian Franzman
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I'm curious to hear what folks have to say on this one, too! I own Thebes but haven't played it yet, and Tikal seems interesting... But I wonder how the game play compares?
 
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Ed
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I'd say you can't go wrong with either of these. Both are great games. "Exploration game" better describes Tikal than Thebes, in my opinion. Exploration suggests venturing into unknown terrain, which you do in Tikal by drawing map tiles and placing them on the board.

My only caution on Tikal is that depending on your group, it can get very slow at the end as players look for the best possible move.
 
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Bill Eldard
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I own and play both Tikal and Thebes. Though they both have archaelogical themes, they are rather different.

Tikal
is more of a resource allocation/management game; the luck resides mainly in the terrain tiles as they get revealed and placed. Players commit action points (from a total of 10 per turn) in order to move workers around the board, establish camps, and explore levels of temples.

Thebes has more of the true archaeological feel, as a player might get lucky early in drawing treasures from the bag, but can mitigate/reduce luck by gaining knowledge and other aids prior to going to the dig. You might call Thebes a "time allocation" design, wherein players have a set amount of time to accomplish their efforts. It takes more time to cover longer distances, and players must decide how much time they will commit to each individual dig -- the more time spent, the greater the number of chits drawn from the bag, and hence the greater the chance of gaining treasures.

I like them both, and can't really recommend one over the other. Both have outstanding bits. Tikal's board changes with each game; Thebes' board is constant, but Thebes does involve more elements of chance.

Another very strong exploration game is Goldland



If you can find a copy, you might consider this one.
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Gabe Alvaro
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The exploration in Thebes consists of moving your pawn to the site and then digging into a black bag and drawing out tokens to see if you find anything. A lot of times you find just dirt tokens (nothing). That's the luck in the game.

Tikal's exploration involves a stack of hex tiles that are revealed one by one on each player's turn. The player takes the newly revealed hex tile and places on the board wherever they choose. This thematically simulates the "exploration" of the jungle where temples and treasures will be found. There is much strategy in Tikal, both in the placing of these tiles and even more so in the movement of your workers and leader who spread out through the jungle in search of temples and treasures. Most of the luck is in the revelation of each hex tiles. Early treasures can benefit the revealing player and those who directly follow him the most, but there are enough treasure tiles to mostly balance out over the course of a game.

Both games are very pretty and have high production values. While Thebes is the most accessible game, Tikal is the deeper game. A hardcore gamer will probably tire of Thebes long before he tires of Tikal.


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Billy McBoatface
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I haven't played Thebes, but I wasn't too impressed with Tikal. My issue was that the movement point mechanism gave you so many possible ways to play out your turn, each of which was essentially predictable, that it encouraged too much AP. I felt like I either had to spend a lot of time min/maxing my turn, or else I had to play by gut feel and make suboptimal moves. Neither was much fun for me.

If you want a lighter exploration game, look at the Entdecker series. Im Reich der Jadegöttin is a light family game with the same theme as Tikal. Im Reich der Wüstensöhne is a more gamer-y version where you explore the desert. (Despite their names, they are in the Entdecker family/series).
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Dennis Leung
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I'm interested in any responses too, as I've been eyeing them for a while. How do the games compare with respect to having only two players?
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Eric Knauer
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It should be noted that Tikal has an auction variant in the rules that eliminates most of the luck in the game. For better or worse, this variant makes it much more of a "gamer's game" compared to the standard rules.
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Ryan Bruns
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Depends on your style of play and who you game with. I have a few in my game group that have issues with AP. In those instances we play Thebes cause this game tends to be alot quicker play.

Tikal can be a longer game than what it says on the box due to the many choices on your turn. I think Tikal has a window of being fun like most games do. I think for 120 mins it's great. But when you start to creep into the 160 to 180+ range it really starts to hurt the experience for me.
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Ryan Bruns
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leungd wrote:
I'm interested in any responses too, as I've been eyeing them for a while. How do the games compare with respect to having only two players?


I've played Thebes with just two people. I think the experience seems to remain the same. Although you don't have more people taking treasure to contend with. It generally for me has the same feel. I haven't tried Tikal with two.
 
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Rob Williams
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Personally I found Tikal a bit dry, like some others. Thebes on the other hand is full of theme, has wonderful components, is easy to play and teach and brilliant fun to play.

I have played it with 2,3 and 4 players and it scales very well. The only thing that is effected is the time limit in the game, with 2 players you play 3 full years. 3 players is 2 1/2 years and with 4 its only 2. What does this mean? Less digs in the bag pulling out blank tokens

I will play Thebes any day, Tikal on the other hand can take a back seat.
 
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mike paul
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Tikal > Thebes for meaty game play.

Thebes > Tikal for more unique game mechanics and lighter play.
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Max Jamelli
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kingofthegrill wrote:
leungd wrote:
I'm interested in any responses too, as I've been eyeing them for a while. How do the games compare with respect to having only two players?


I've played Thebes with just two people. I think the experience seems to remain the same. Although you don't have more people taking treasure to contend with. It generally for me has the same feel. I haven't tried Tikal with two.


I've played many 2P Tikal games. What I like about Tikal is the auction variant. I've only recently started playing auction games online and it really does change the game.

There are differences in 2,3 and 4P Tikal games - obviously the more players, the fewer tiles you're going to lay and the scores are generally lower with more players. I like Tikal though. Have eyed Thebes for a while, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
 
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Peter Hansell
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wmshub wrote:
My issue was that the movement point mechanism gave you so many possible ways to play out your turn, each of which was essentially predictable, that it encouraged too much AP.


I love Tikal but my group did not care much for the endless calculating:If I spend 3 AP here I get 2 vps VS. 4 APs here for 3 vps VS. 6 APs here to possibly mess up your score. It gets very tricky and can completely bog down. On the other hand I have played some very fluid games of Tikal where it has moved along nicely.

I feel that Tikal is more of a brain burner and Thebes is more graceful and light.
 
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Sean Allen
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eimative wrote:
Tikal > Thebes for meaty game play.

Thebes > Tikal for more unique game mechanics and lighter play.


I agree with Mike on this completely. I like Thebes for a lot of reasons (check out my review: Where Everyday is Like Christmas). Thebes is a game that is pulled out for its "gateway" accessibility. But, if you are looking for a bit deeper game play go with Tikal (great theme but not like what you'll find in Thebes).

But, like its been said-- you can't go wrong with either game.

Good Luck and enjoy!
 
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Evgeni Liakhovich
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I really wanted to like both games. I borrowed Tikal, played it and didn't like it. I got Thebes in trade and just traded it away the other day.

"Action points" is one of my favorite mechanics, so Tikal seemed perfect for that. However it felt dry, long and repetitive, with very few interesting decisions to make. We did not experience much of the AP on the first play though.

Thebes is also a beautiful game, with a nice mixture or euro-style mechanics. I actually enjoyed it very much during the first play. However the second time I played with my wife, I would say both of us were consistently making good moves, so the scores should have been close. But the scores were almost completely defined by the values of the artifacts. So, my conclusion was that with players playing reasonably well, the winner will be decided by the luck of the draw. The game might be good with small kids but since my son is beyond that point, off to the trade pile it went.
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    Tikal hands down.

             Sag.
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Darren M
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Both games are worth trying out... they are not really similar and scratch different "itches" with only the general themes being roughly similar.

If I had to personally pick one game as being "better" as in design, quality and mechanisms I would probably pick Tikal... but they are both top tier games and worth trying. Thebes is certainly quicker playing and lighter (and arguably more "fun") and more family friendly... whereas Tikal is the more tactical/strategic and the "gamer" game among the two.

Buy 'em both and trade the one you like least onwards.
 
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Nathan Beeler
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I'm sure I'm not saying anything new here, but I've played Thebes a small handful of times, and I've only played Tikal twice. I'll probably never play Tikal again, as I found it not fun. And I'm not afraid of dry or meaty games (I love Die Macher, for instance). It just didn't grab me, and the AP others describe seemed to be a problem in both games, especially at the end.

Now with Thebes I would happily play again any time. This despite the noted high luck factor, which I usually find very annoying. The reason is the game mechanism involved in moving around and taking your actions is quite fun and different, and overall the game is pretty light and fluffy so the random factor kind of fits. If I play really well and just have bad luck at the digs, I will probably bitch about it for a while but I can at least see the real world parallels with archaeolgical digs coming up dry. It's just fun.
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Aurelio Agustin
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Thank you guys, very different opinions here (as expected), I think I will get thebes first but in the end I'm sure I will get Tikal too. I like meatier games but my friends prefer something light and quick.
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Jeffrey Goetz
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Though I confess to not liking it much myself and have added it to my own trade pile, there seems to be a general appreciation here for Entdecker: Exploring New Horizons as a fairly thematic exploration game. I haven't played either Thebes or Tikal, though I've also had my eye on them both for different reasons, so I can't compare, but there's definitely a "What am I going to get from here?" risk/reward element to Entdecker. Might be worth looking at, and one of the problems I had with it, its length, might be just right for you (though perhaps not right away if your friends prefer light and quick).
 
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Jamey Philipp
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I like both but Tikal is drier for sure. Thebes is pretty stright-forward and fun. I'd vote that way.

yes it has a luck factor, but "too much" is relative. The bags hold the same ratios of debris and treasure for everyone equally so it is the kind of luck that can be taken into account I think. I mean ALL games that have cards have luck if the deck is shuffled.......
 
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Kevin Lloyd
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Superhawk2300 wrote:
I like both but Tikal is drier for sure. Thebes is pretty stright-forward and fun. I'd vote that way.

yes it has a luck factor, but "too much" is relative. The bags hold the same ratios of debris and treasure for everyone equally so it is the kind of luck that can be taken into account I think. I mean ALL games that have cards have luck if the deck is shuffled.......


Agreed. Having played both, and traded away Tikal, I find Thebes lighter and much more appealing to uncommitted gamers (like my wife). I think it is also more aesthetically pleasing and 'fun'. Having said that, if you can - get both.
 
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Stephen Brewbacker
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I like both games; but if it's an 'exploration' game you are looking for then it's Tikal.

For another really cool 'exploration' game try Lost Valley
 
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Brian Forsythe
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I've played Tikal, but not Thebes. Started to respond to this thread, but then ended up writing my first review (Tikal) instead.
 
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