Jesse Mundis
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San Jose
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First day at BGGCon started out with a bit of good luck. My wife and I wandered into the "Hotness" game room, and at the first table was an open copy of Tzolk'in, with one player looking through the rules. We joined, and were quickly joined by a fourth.

Mad geek props to the BGGCon staffer (sorry, I didn't catch your name) who magically appeared to teach the game. Afterwards, as we set it up for the next group, I got the chance to "pay it forward" and teach the new group before going off for food.

Basics: This is a worker placement / resource management game with a twist (literally). Workers are placed on notches in one of five physical gears, all of which are interlocked with a big, central gear. After each round of turns, the central gear is advanced, which turns all five sub gears, advancing all the placed workers to the next action space on their respective tracks. On your turn you must either place workers, or remove workers, but never both. Removing workers triggers whatever action they were currently adjacent to (gathering resources, building structures, etc...) The game is over when the big gear finishes one full rotation.

At the quarter points of the game, your workers must be fed, and either VPS are scored or extra resources are received.

The game has the usual array of big-VP buildings for end scoring, as well as utility powers for mid game, and other specials.

The game is good, very good, or so is my opinion from just one play. Yes, the gears are clearly a gimmick, but they are a _good_ gimmick. A player needs to balance a number of resources, and plan ahead for the timing of the gears. The better action spaces are later on all the gears, so you may have to invest a worker early, let him ride for a while taking other workers off and putting them on, to let the early one get to the action space you want. The paired constraints of costing extra money (food) to play multiple workers in a turn, and the fact that you can only place or remove workers, and never both, make for some interesting decisions.

But, don't take strategy advice from me, as I came in dead last and made the winning possible. I over invested in workers early, and spent most of the extra ability they provided getting utility buildings to offset the extra workers' additional food cost. My wife won, never buying any additional workers, but making massive bonus points from the crystal skulls track. Yes, this game has crystal skulls. How cool is that?

This was a fine game to start the con off with, and the ability to just sit down and play it without waiting was a nice bonus. If you like worker placement / resource management, I'd strongly recommend this game.

With teaching and four new players, it was on the order of two hours.
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Paul Grogan
United Kingdom
Cullompton
Devon
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Nice article, but I'd have to disagree that the gears are a gimmick. Not sure how else you could really do it without them.
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Jens Hoppe
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Frederiksberg
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PaulGrogan wrote:
Nice article, but I'd have to disagree that the gears are a gimmick. Not sure how else you could really do it without them.

A straight-forward alternative would be a track for every location, and a new "advance workers" phase at the end of every turn. Of course, the gears get the job done in a much easier way, and look great to boot.
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Richard Ham
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Yup, that's what you'd have to do, literally manipulate around 15 pieces (lets say on average) by hand, 26 times over the course of the game. And the game would be deemed one of the most annoyingly fiddly games ever. Hence the gears being really essential, I think - more than just a gimmick to achieve the gameplay offered
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Mathue Faulkner
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rahdo wrote:
Yup, that's what you'd have to do, literally manipulate around 15 pieces (lets say on average) by hand, 26 times over the course of the game. And the game would be deemed one of the most annoyingly fiddly games ever. Hence the gears being really essential, I think - more than just a gimmick to achieve the gameplay offered

Or meeples could be placed around a wheel that has action spaces on it (so the action spaces and meeples would be opposite of the current configuration), and then the five wheels could be turned every round...

A bit fiddly, but not even as close as it would be to move all of the meeples every round.
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Richard Ham
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true, and that's basically what the game comes with
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Loren Cadelinia
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rahdo wrote:
true, and that's basically what the game comes with


, I think he meant 5 wheels a la Macao.
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Don D.
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Miami
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JohanCarstensen wrote:
Love the game, easily the best game released at Essen this year.


Hmm...
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Jesse Mundis
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"Gimmicks" aren't necessarily a bad thing. They get the job done. I acknowledge the gears *do* efficiently move multiple workers along a track without requiring the players to do a cumbersome manual update step. Like I said, it's a *good* gimmick.

But it's a gimmick because the big plastic gears are the "ooh shiny!" that make you stop and look, laid on top of a solid Euro worker placement / resource management game.

The first definition for "gimmick" is:

gim·mick
   [gim-ik]
noun
1.
an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.

I claim the gears do that, in addition to being functional. Like I said, it's a _good_ gimmick.
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