Marcin Posiadlo




The author Marcin Posiadlo takes the players back to the time when Aztek civilizations were living and the jungles of Central Amerika and constructed magnificient pyramids, and thus it is the aim of the players in Yucatan to be the first to finish a great pyramid.

In order to build new levels of a Pyramid a player needs slaves, and for each three units of slaves which have been brought either to a players capital city or one of his major villages the player may chose to add a level to his pyramid. In total, each pyramid consists of five levels, and the first player to finish the fifth level will be declared to be the winner of the game.

Before the game begins, the gameboard is set up with a number of hexagonal tiles which feature an even finer gridwork of hexagonal spaces. The gameboard may be set up freely, including mountains, small rivers and a major river, but for beginners it is recommended to follow a fixed setup which is suggested in the gameboard. The hexagonal tiles also feature spaces with the capital cities of the players so that these will not be placed separately, but when the playing area is ready the players will take turns to add a major village and a small village to the gameboard. Also, some neutral small villages will be added by each player. Some placement rules must be observed here, so that a any kinds of settlements may not be located on neighbouring spaces, and also the positioning next to a river may give a player access to different spaces. Finally, each player places two warrior tokens next to his capital. These tokens represent a group of warriors which has either the Jaguar, the Snake or the Hummingbird as their Totem, but the totem of the placed warriors is not revealed to the other players. Each player possesses three warrior tokens of each Totem, so that the two tokens placed at the beginning of the game may follow either the same or different Totems.

The game takes a rather aggressive stance right from the beginning since it will be the aim of the players to "recruit" new slaves either by defeating opposing warriors or by sacking foreign villages. The latter option is more easy, since a player just needs to move one Warrior token into an opposing village and declare that village to be sacked. Now a slaves token is placed under the warriors of the aggressor, and if the plundered village was large it will be downgraded to a small village. Otherwise, a plundered small village will be destroyed in removed from the gameboard.

However, the players are looking jealously after their villages, since a player always only may possess as many warrior tokens as he has villages (plus one for the Capital city). Thus, to prevent a removal of warrior tokens just by the loss of villages and to get the possibility to gain slaves themselves, players will move warrior tokens of their own into either aggressive or defensive positions so that sooner or later two tokens may meet each other to combat.

The outcome of a combat is determined quite easily, since a fixed order is given how the groups of the different Totems will beat each other. Both players participating in a combat will show the Totems of their groups to all players, and then the Jaguar will defeat the Snake, the Snake the Hummingbird and the Hummingbird will defeat the Jaguar. In case of equal Totems the victory will go to the defender. The defeated warriors will be instantly removed from the gameboard and the victorious player now is allowed to place a slaves token under his warriors.

Warrior tokens may be used for different purposes like guarding villages, attacking and escorting slaves back to a player's city, but an important other function is that they may spend a turn to construct a new village. This gives a player access to additional warrior tokens, but all the placement rules from the preparation phase of the game need to be observed.

As said, a player will receive one pyramid-level for each three groups of slaves he escorts back to his city, and the game is won by the player who first has finished the last part.

Yucatan first captures a player's eye by the nice design of the playing pieces and the wooden multi-part pyramids, but even in terms of gameplay the newcomer WOLF FANG succeeds in keeping up with the general good impression. While it is true that Yucatan offers no really new rules but instead a mixture of features which could be discovered in one game or another, the composition of the whole product is very harmonious and creates a nice playing experience. Talking to other people at the SPIEL convention, it seems that the cover and design of the game actually suggests a considerable playing depth, but I would rate the game's complexity to be on level with average family games. No deep structure which needs a lot of calculation, but some nice elements of memory when it comes to discovering the nature of enemy warriors.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2008 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany