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Tikal
 
 
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Tikal

original German edition


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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 90 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Wolfgang Kramer, Michael Kiesling

Manufacturer(s): Ravensburger Germany

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Product Description

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.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Strategy Game, 2000
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game, 2000
Spiel des Jahres
Game of the Year, 1999
Deutscher Spiele Preis
1st place, 1999

Product Information

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Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4 in 44 reviews

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A classic that belongs on your game shelf
January 14, 2010

My first exposure to Eurogaming was sometime around 1996, when Settlers of Catan was still new to the gaming world. For several years the Eurogames were coming out so fast and furious my game group couldn't keep up. We'd play one for a while and quickly move on to the next one. Tikal was caught up in that shuffle. We played it quite a bit at first, and then this little gem called Puerto Rico came out and Tikal was shuffled off to the Island of Misfit Eurogames. Eleven years later I write a review for Tikal. You can probably guess where this story is going already....

My game shelf has seen a lot of games come and go. For several years poor little Tikal sat on the shelf, waiting its turn. As things started to slow down in our gaming group Tikal started creeping its way back up the list of games most likely to get played on gaming nights. The reason being this game is simply a classic. But I have to put a caveat on that, the game is a classic for veteran gamers provided you play the auction variant. While the standard version of the game is fun enough, random chance plays too large a role in the outcome.

Three years ago I began playing this game online as well as in person. Playing online has some obvious advantages from a time perspective, but it is definitely a different experience from playing the game in person, especially when you are playing a bidding game. But given that I could play several games at once online (given that the game is turn based and does not need to be played in real time), I began playing this more. And more. And more. Next thing I know it's 2010 and I have played well over 200 games of Tikal online in addition to the 50 or so I've played in person and I still love the game. If you haven't played yet, buy a copy and treat yourself to a classic. You won't be disappointed. Start with the standard version and if you are a veteran gamer dive straight into the auction variant after just a play or two.

Tikal is very simple to learn and like chess it follows a certain script, particularly in the opening moves. And just like chess that script changes with every game after just a few moves. That's what has kept the game fresh after eleven years. Each game feels like it is different from the last one, I can honestly say that I've never finished a game and thought, "Wow, that played out just like the game I played a few weeks ago". So if you are relatively new to Eurogaming and are wondering how to flesh out the gaming library, give Tikal an opportunity. It is money well spent.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
 
 
 
 
 
by John M.
A well balanced game suitable for expansions.
January 17, 2007

Ok, this game is a Spiel Des Jahres game of the year winner from 1999, the same year my Camaro was built, and rightfully so (the game not my Camaro). This game is AWESOME! But, it is also not for the initiate gamer, or the timid. This will make the third review I've made of a Spiel Des Jahres game of the year winner from 1999 to 2001 (CF my reviews of Torres and Carcassonne). I have a lot more to go, although I have played and reviewed Rummikub too, so you might want to go check that out as well, and I guess that makes 4 reviews! I never even knew Rummikup won up to a few weeks ago! I also have a public wish list of as many Spiel Des Jahres winners as I could find here from as early as I could go back (1978). I hope to one day offer a review for each winner. Anyway I'm getting off subject here, or am I? It occurs to me that I've given ALL the previous Spiel Des Jahres winners I've reviewed a favorable review so far, therefore I'm willing to say this much... I believe overall if YOU decide to buy ANY game that won this same award, that it's more than fair to say that THAT game will also ROCK. I really feel that the boys and girls that run the Spiel Des Jahres know what they're doing over there in Essen.

From the same design team that brought us Torres, Tikal from what I understand is one of a trilogy set in Central and South America. I have not played those other games, I have played this game. And it plays very well.

It is a bit complicated in it's play, and if your familiar with Torres, then you should be able to grasp this game. The box says 2-4 players for 90 minutes, some descriptions say 20 to 30 minutes learn. Once you do that, the game becomes quicker to you each time. My friend and I have only played it three times, and we can bang a game out in about an hour, shaving 30 minutes off the box markings.

I would not however recommend this game right away to any novice gamer as stated earlier. This is a complex game, with fairly advanced parameters, and multiple levels of strategy. If you really must insist on playing this game before trying something more easy like say, Torres, you might be able to grasp this game in about a half hour, if you've either: played an RPG like D&D or you're familar with the German Style of gaming. Otherwise it could take you considerably longer to figure out.

I love building games, where one either builds with a card game (Citadels, Illuminati, Water Works), builds with tiles (Carcassonne, Rummikub, Torres) or just games in general where there's a planned progression (Chess, Pente, Dominos). This game certainly delivers all that and more. I can certainly see where there could be many expansion modules for this game. Whether you add a new set of decks or offer alternate decks, a larger board to introduce room for more tiles, and players... say 2-6 players? Or just the addition of new and different set of treasures to find, there are many avenues the manufacturer could take this game. I think the mechanics of this game are brilliant. I think the design, and layout, and especially the printing are also brilliant. I would love to see some expansions for this game, as long as it's done within reason. Who here doesn't think Hans Im Gl├╝ck didn't go a bit overboard on the whole Carcassonne theme (no matter how much you love or hate Carcassonne)???? <raises hand> <loves Carcassonne too>

Now, I have not played any of the other games in this theme, but I have played Torres (CF. my review). I think that Torres makes a great jumping off platform for Tikal. Torres, to Tikal is a logical transition and, Torres is quick to learn and play, and will teach the mechanics of this game. The designers, Kiesling and Kramer, seem to know what they're doing, I will certainly keep playing their games, and looking out for new ones they create. I can't wait to own my own version of Tikal, so until then, I will just have to continue playing it at Kevin's house. But I did win the very first time I played this, and the second time too.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
 
 
 
 
 
Maya, Oh Maya, a Treasure Worth Digging Up
December 30, 2005
I had never heard of Tikal until I saw it at a local Board Game Cafe (one of those wonderful places where you can test out games and have a snack with friends here in South Korea). I would eye it on the shelf, but I never got the nerve to play it thinking it would be one of those games with complex rules that would take half the evening trying to comprehend before I could get around to actually playing it. I only wish I had tried it month's ago!

When the Board Game Cafe announced it was closing, I lined up to buy some of the games he had, and Tikal was top of my list. The board design and the packaging catch your eye, but the real fun comes in the actual play. It is an extremely genrous game giving each player 10 action points to play each turn and the chance to control your destiny with carefully placed markers.

The premise is that players are excavating the temples of Tikal in Guatmala and earning points from discovering treasure and uncovering and laying claim to temples. Every action taken is strategic from where you place the terrain hexagons to how well you distribute your "team" throughout the dig site.

We began the game feeling a bit overwhelmed at how much was required of us per turn, but after each of us had taken our first turns, we soon began to see the multiple levels of strategy involved and started getting competitive right away. Just when you think you have the game figured out, an unexpected volcano erupts causing players to scurry to retain and claim as many points as they can, and with 10 action points per turn, it can be a large pay-off for the keen-eyed player.

About half-way through the game, we were out of our seats hovering over the table anticipating the next moves we would be making and praying the volcano (the point at which points are scored) would delay just a bit longer until we had secured one more treasure to make a complete set or had stationed a temple guard to guarantee the value of that excavation.

Even more rewarding was the notion that any one of us could be the winner and the top excavator would not be revealed until all the points were tallied. It is not a foregone conclusion who the winner will be and that one point you manage to secure could be the one that makes the difference.

The Board Game Cafe may be gone now, but thankfully I escaped with the real treasure! Tikal is a real find.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Show all 44 reviews >

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