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King Maya Pacal was born on March 26th 603 a.c. from Mrs. Zuc Kuk. Nobody knows Pacals real name. He was called Pacal in many writings in order to show everybody that he was a person because his armor was found after a war and in the Mayan language armor is called Pacal. This king had a throne and he was in charge for over 68 years. Now there has to be a successor, and the players have to build their pyramid. The greatest value has to be upside and the lowest has to be on the base ascendant sorted from left to right. Whos going to build his pyramid first and will be the new king?
My 12-year-old daughter and I play Pacal regularly. It's very simple, yet can become quite involved strategically. I like games that are quick but with depth. Pacal fits the bill nicely. Still, I am far from mastering it. You're never sure what cards your opponenet has, because 18 cards are always out of sight and out of play. It's so easy to trip up by guessing incorrectly about which cards are likely to play next or where to leave your open spaces.
Pacal will not grab your attention with lots of bits and pieces, or flashy cards with colorful graphics. It will however, draw you into a simple but clever game of trying to complete your 'pyramid' while avoiding handing the game to your opponent.
As described in other reviews here, the core of the game revolves around choosing two cards from your hand, one of which your opponent gets to pick FIRST and put on their pyramid, then you get the other to put on your pyramid. Sounds pretty easy, but I was surprised how much thinking you put into your card play. Good balance of skill and luck makes the game easy enough to play without draining your brain.
Having played this with several different people about a dozen times now, it must be admitted the game has an addictive quality. Comparisons to Lost Cities are fair and accurate. Each offers very simple rules with much more depth and strategy then what first appears.
You can make a deck and get the rules elsewhere all for free, but I prefer to support designers and companies and decided to buy the game. I am happy to have it in my game collection.
4 stars, well deserved.
I finally got to try this game. I would rank the game right up with Lost Cities in the fun factor, and clever play mechanics, category.
The object is to build your pyramid. You offer up two cards for you and your opponent to use. Your opponent takes one of the card and puts it down, and then you take and place your card. Your opponent then offers up two cards. Play continues until someone can't make a legal move, and their opponent wins the round. Winner is the first person to win two out of three rounds.
The game is an intense battle, with a round being a quick 10 minutes, at most. A lot of 'shoulda woulda coulda' in it. Highly recommended.
Prepare to invest some time in a perfectly legal pyramid scheme! You and your opponent are each dealt 10 of the 50 cards (numbered 1 to 50) facedown. These remain unrevealed to both players, and form pyramid-shaped playing areas. Both get hands of 15 cards from the rest of the deck. Each turn, show two cards. Your opponent picks one and places it on a facedown card in his pyramid; you place the other on yours. Cards must run in numerical sequence from bottom to top. You can cover a placed card with another only once. You win by either (1) completing your pyramid first, (2) revealing cards the opponent cannot use, or (3) having the largest variance between high and low cards if both pyramids are simultaneously completed. Simple, fast-moving, and unexpectedly strategic, Pacal climbs to the apex of tense gameplay.
Pacal is a 2-player card game that seems to have gotten lost in last year's shuffle. Using only a deck of cards numbered 1-50 with no repeats and no suits, each player tries to construct a pyramid faster then the other or force the other to give up construction. The rules call for three wins as a victory, but this is an arbitrary number since the card draw is somewhat mitigated by the way the game is played.
Each player is dealt 10 cards face down, and these are laid out in a pyramid structure (one on the top, two below that, etc.) without being revealed. This becomes the base for the development in the card play. The top cards of each are then revealed to determine who starts. The remaining cards are dealt out, 15 to each, and the play begins. Each player will try to construct a pyramid of face-up cards that must meet two rules: the lowest card must be placed on the bottom right-hand location, and the card value must continually increase to the highest card on the top. During the play, once a card is built on a location it cannot be moved and can only be covered once by another card. The winner is the first player to complete their pyramid or alternatively the one who forces the opponent to take a card that cannot be placed.
On your turn, you select two cards from your hand and place face up. Your opponent selects one and plays it on his structure, then you take the other and build onto your own pyramid. Play alternates, and if the play extends through 14 pairs of cards (leaving each player with only one left), you are allowed to play your card on your own pyramid if it meets the rules. Here are three examples:
This creates a very interesting dynamic, as almost half of your hand will be played by your opponent, and you have enough information to develop a good strategy but not enough to be sure it will work. There are two basic strategies to employ: pairing and splitting. By pairing, you choose two cards close in number that ensures you can place in a friendly position. This works well when, for example, you are in a position with one empty spot between the already-played 34 and 41. By playing the 36 and 38, you can easily fill the gap but must watch to see how the other card will help or hurt your opponent. By sorting your hand into logical pairs, you can assure yourself as many as seven spaces on your structure. Splitting, conversely, means playing cards with very different values and forcing your opponent to choose the high or low value. This is used less often, but helps to gain insight on the player's hand and can help set up a future pairing situation.
The game moves quickly, and it feels a bit like breaking a serve in tennis when you play a set that forces your opponent to cover their card while you fill an empty slot. You now have a one-card advantage that can only be lost by being put into the same position yourself. Choosing where to place the early cards is often the key to victory, as is assuring yourself of filling slots by proper use of your own hand. If both pyramids are completed at the same time, the winner is the one with largest variance between the low and high cards, giving extra emphasis to choosing carefully on the first and top spaces.
Pacal is fun, and the card play is more important than the draw. Each round is different, since 18 cards are never revealed, and it often feels that you could have played something smarter when you find yourself in a hole. The game comes with a small board and two pawns to use to keep score of the hands won, but these are superfluous and only make the game a little more expensive. You can play with any deck that has cards numbered 1-50, but like most of us I prefer to buy an original copy and support the designer if I am actually going to play it beyond the test run.
With all of the hype given to Lost Cities (and I like the game, too), it is odd to me that Pacal does not have more visibility. Obviously people are comfortable with a two-player card game that requires planning and fast play, and Pacal fits this exceedingly well. Get the rules from the Gaming Dumpster and try it with cards from your 6 Nimmt deck, and you likely will not be disappointed.