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Store:  Family Games
Theme:  Exploration, Ancient American
Format:  Board Games


English language edition

Funagain Games does not stock this edition of this title [], but it may be available in another edition. Try: Mexica

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 60-75 minutes 2-4

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Product Description

As they wandered through Mexico, the Aztec, or Mexica, as they later called themselves, searched for the sign prophesied by their God, Huitzilopochtli: an eagle, perched on a cactus, eating a snake. There, they would settle.

Many years later, in 1325, the Mexica finally found the sign they sought and settled in their home on an island in Lake Texcoco. They spent the next 200 years exporing their chosen home and building their famous capital city Tenochtitln. They built dams to channel the water around land on which they built their homes. They called the building groups that were contained within the canals Calpulli. The Calpulli formed the basis for Aztec society.

In 1521, Hernn Corts destroyed Tenochtitln: a city of 15 square kilometers that had been home to over 200,000 people. Later, Mexico City rose on these ruins. Today, there are only a few remnants of the capital city of the Mexica.

In this game, the players return to the time of the Mexica. They build districts (Calpulli) surrounded by canals, build bridges connecting the districts, and build buildings in the districts. Players score points for founding districts and, twice in the game, for the buildings they have built in the districts. The player who scores the most points will win the game.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Strategy Game, 2003
Deutscher Spiele Preis
5th place, 2002

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Michael Kiesling, Wolfgang Kramer

  • Manufacturer(s): Ravensburger Germany, Rio Grande Games

  • Year: 2002

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 60 - 75 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 1,614 grams

  • All-Time Sales Rank: #208

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.

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German language edition

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.5 in 6 reviews

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Great two player game
May 02, 2005

I've played this as a two-player game several times and the balancing problem is not very noticeable. This review is written from the opinion of a "lite gamer".

This game is light, fast, easy to play, with high replay value. The buildings are made of durable plastic and the board is beautiful bi- fold (folds in half and then in half again). The canals are durable cardboard, as are the point tokens and bridges. The remaining scoring pieces and pawns are small cubes of wood and matching wooden pawns, respectively. Everything is sturdy and well made, except the paper on the fold of the board is already wearing after less than a dozen games.

This is one of the "don't bump it or everything gets scattered" games so if you have small children, keep it in mind. On the other hand, the plastic buildings lend themselves as natural "stacking blocks" and have occupied my young children "on the side" while I played with my husband.

After playing only a handful of times, our stragegies have evolved. Sometimes our games are serious and sometimes just plain backstabbing fun. Too much backstabbing can be hilarious or annoying depending on everyone's moods at the time.

This is my current favorite and I expect to get many more hours of fun out of Mexica.

by Wong SH
Very competitive game
June 11, 2003

I like this game well enough, and appreciate the mechanisms. The availability of action chips and fewer action points certainly improves the play compared to Tikal, which is more prone to drag. However, my wife disapproves of it as categorised under family strategy. Besides the fact it is easy to learn, this is actually a very competitive game, with the leadership in every district changing hands pretty often. So unless your family is competitive YET non-rancorous, I consider this game more a gamer's game.

Another Kramer & Kiesling hit.
February 23, 2002

First, let me say that I agree with Mike Sedeker's excellent description of play and the game equipment, so what I'm offering in here are just a few additiontal impressions.

The rules to Mexica are easily absorbed; as with Tikal, another Kramer/Kiesling game, a player aid explaining all the action costs and a brief explanation of how to use bridges and build/found districts, is basically all a new player needs to start.

As Mike mentioned, veteran players may instantly be reminded of Manhattan in the sense that buildings are 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-stories tall, players work from a set of available buildings in each scoring round, and control of districts is the key to scoring. I would add that the scoring will remind some of Kramer's Torres and other games such as Merchants of Amsterdam and Web of Power in that a player can still score points for being in second or third position in each district. This means that players must continually study the board and the buildings he/she and each opponent has remaining in order to not only seize upon scoring opportunites, but to deter/pre-empt opponents' attempts to alter the scoring heirarchy in each district.

The high-quality bits remind me of Big City, in that after the game is over, one's tempted to step back and behold the colorful city that's been created before taking it apart. Of the Kramer/Kielsing trilogy (Tikal, Java, and Mexica), the components in this game are the best.

I highly recommend this game as both a family game and a challenging strategy game.

'South of the border, down Mexico way...'
February 20, 2002

A swingin' Sinatra tune to open a swingin' review of Mexica

Viva Mexica! Mexica is the third installment of the design team of Kramer / Kiesling exploration games. Tikal took us to the Mayan jungle, Java to the island of the same name, and Mexica to the birth of the Aztec empire at Lake Texcoco (Tenochititlan). I have always enjoyed Tikal, but felt Java was a mish-mash of ideas. Its not that Java is a bad game. My hard-core game group enjoys it, but there is simply too much going on without enough focus i.e. lots of chrome, but not enough heart. Fortunately, Mexica has plenty!

Mexica follows the same format as its sister games. Players only have so many points (6) each turn to do certain things (move their developer, create canals, build bridges and erect buildings). During the first half of the game, eight tokens called Calpulli tiles (drawn randomly, then displayed) focus the size of the various districts formed around the board. A district is any size area surrounded by water, but only districts created that match the tokens score points. Players then vie for control of these districts by erecting buildings (four levels). Players score points for founding districts, and twice in the game, for the buildings they have erected.

What a wonderful, FOCUSED game. It contains scoring elements reminiscent of El Grande, and a building code that plays like Andrea Seyfarth's Manhattan. There is a nice 'screw factor' mix (very important for me!) without taking away from the game. There is so much you CAN do, but only so many points to do it with. BUT, unlike its predecessors, you can collect action chips that may be used later. You must stash some away for later and keep an eye on how many your opponents have to 'keep the playing field level'. Use those extra moves at the right time to capitalize on scoring opportunities. The second scoring of buildings has an added factor of points for unfounded districts with buildings. These points can spell disaster if you are not a part of them. The Calpulli tokens are shuffled each game, so it forces different thinking with each game giving Mexica a great replay value.

Did I mention the buildings? Gorgeous! Of course the artwork, board, bits and pieces are excellent, but the buildings are simply elegant. At the end of the game, you've created a masterpiece of color. Mexica is a much more family friendly game than Java, and as much fun (if not more!) as Tikal. Highly recommended!

by E.c.r
Best Two Player Game in the Trilogy
November 01, 2003

I have enjoyed each title in the Tikal/Java/Mexica trilogy by Krammer and Kiesling. I agree with previous reviewers who have commented upon Mexica's lack of balance. In a four player game, turn order basically dictates strategy. I have frequently played this trilogy with two players, and have found that Mexica is the best in this regards. The influence of turn order on strategy is minimized and this makes for a very tense and strategic game. Highly reccomended.

by Jason
Good game, but balanced? No...
May 18, 2003

I agree with the majority of the reviews and comments to date, but there is a major balance problem in this game.

The players going later in the rounds have a distinct advantage in the game; as mentioned before, they have a good opportunity to clean-up the districts as they see fit. In our few tries at the games, the majority of the games end up with either the 3rd or 4th player determining the pace of the game (when the scoring rounds happen), while the earlier players stock action chips for use in later rounds.

The bridges are very powerful in the game. Ending on a bridge is often the best way to end a turn (until very late in the game when most districts are locked up so new bridges cannot be built to allow entry into a district).

In later turns of the game it often can become a slow, calculated game as each player tries to maximize their points. Although some players like this, many groups many not; there is not a lot of player interaction.

I enjoy Tikal the most of this 'series' of games, with Java and Mexica on about the same level.

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