English language edition
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Tikal is the most important and largest of all Mayan sites. It is located in the midst of an impenetrable jungle in northern Guatemala. The Mayans lived in Tikal from 600 BC to 900 AD, but little is known of the civilization that thrived there for 1500 years. As of this writing only a small fraction of the site has been excavated and investigated. Up to 4 expeditions plan to further explore the site to excavate and recover other temples and treasures.
Each player is the director of an expedition intent on exploring Tikal in search of the secret paths that lead to the temples and precious treasures that have remained hidden for over 1000 years. A player receives his points during four scoring rounds for each recovered treasure and for each temple that he controls. But, both temples and treasures can change hands. The expedition that earns the most points exploring Tikal wins the game.
Tikal is a unique, medium-weight strategy game. The board and overall gameplay are different every time.
You must carefully plan how to use your limited resources each turn. You have to stay on your toes or your opponent will spoil your plans. You may think you have a little area of the board carved out just for yourself, only to have your opponent plunk down a base camp right there and begin grabbing those remaining empty spaces.
Two possible negatives in this game are "analysis paralysis" and the fact that you have very little to do during other players' turns. But if all players agree to play expeditiously, these two things aren't too much problem. And if you do have slow turn- takers, you can always use a timer. But despite this, Tikal is still one of the best games I own.
I have not played the auction variant described in the rules, but I've heard it's more challenging.