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Tikal II: The Lost Temple
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Tikal II, subtitled "The Lost Temple," is a thematic sequel to Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling's Tikal by the K&K team that has released so many other winning designs (Torres, Verflixxt!). Here's the publisher's blurb:
Tikal was discovered and explored by a very successful expedition led by Profs. Kramer and Kiesling. A decade later, a scroll is found that hints of a lost temple near the first site. This rumour rekindles their passion for Tikal and the two scientists start to discuss the prospect of another expedition to Central America. In the midst of their planning they encounter Profs. Braff and Pauchon at an international archaeology conference in Geneva, who want to know the truth about the enticing rumour.
Later that day, sitting in front of a roaring fire after a fine meal, finished off with Cuban cigars and a few brandies, the two Swiss scientists listen enthralled by the unfolding plans of their German colleagues. To a man they clamour their unanimous assent and it is decided to join forces and go back to Tikal. Appointments are made, patrons are found, equipment is assembled, notes are compared, and then they are off.
An uneventful journey takes them to Guatemala, and then on to the old site. Not too long after, they discover that there is indeed an undisturbed temple, in an adjacent valley. As it belonged to a long-forgotten king, the temple promises many surprises and much, much gold. And so the adventure begins...
Well that's the thematic description – here's my take on the game from a playing of the prototype at Spiel 2009:
Tikal II feels like the original game in spirit, while not being a mirror image of it. Players are now exploring one of the temples in the jungle, but instead of an action point system, each turn consists of only two actions: Use your campsite to choose an action tile surrouding the board, then move your search guide through the building. Instead of spending points to go through openings in the jungle, you now need different tools to go through openings between rooms, and if you have the right tools, you can go practically anywhere.
Part of the game play involves collecting treasures, and instead of collecting sets, you're trying for diversity. As with the fights over temples in Tikal, you want to dominate special rooms to win more points than other players. Even though the action point system – the bane of many players in terms of causing fried brains – has been eliminated and you have only two actions each turn, you're still frequently stewing over what to do because everything builds on the earlier turns, and you need to decide what to spend and how that will hamper your movement and when to lay out new tiles and which tile to place and how to place it and so on.
Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of BoardgameNews.com