We played the bejeezus out of this a couple years ago, when different boardgaming friends regularly brought it over. Then Robert Chilton bought a copy and the expansion and we played it again last night. Literally nothing from my previous, dunno, half-dozen plays stuck with me. Utterly incompetent play, just kind of meandered through until it ended.

11 thoughts on “Tzolkin”

  1. I’ve always been meandering and incompetent at this game. But the meandering is so much fun.

    One of my group describes the phenomenon as “don’t forget to win”. Tzolkin is one of those games where it is easy to get so caught up in the fun of playing that you forget to win.

    Chicago Express and train games in general do that to me too.

  2. Yeah, that’s the key reason I can’t play Race for the Galaxy with competitive players. I’m busy roleplaying my burgeoning star empire like some card driven Master of Orion 4x game and they’re getting pissed that I’ve taken more than 2 seconds to take my turn…

  3. We used to have the same situations in Merchants and Marauders. We’d get so caught up in playing our characters that we’d forget there is a point to winning. Many games someone would just ‘oh shit I won’ while everyone else was just having fun. We’ve gotten over that part now and the game has become ridiculously cut throat and competitive. I’m not sure which mode I like more. Though I think I am to blame for creating that state and pushing for the win.

  4. Paolo Greco it’s far from an useless gimmick.

    It makes really easy to keep track of worker placements. It could have been easily done with straight tracks and a rules to move a worker twice when a player uses their ability, but I’ve seen this little gimmick both invite and facilitate understanding the mechanics for new players.

    Adding an easily visible and causal relation between turns and tracks it frees so much mental space, for those not used to gaming abstraction…

  5. I have the expansion on my pile of shame. Right now without it Tzolkin is the one game I can’t seem to lose. I’ve played 8 times and came in first all 8. Something about that game just clicked.

    Now I’m probably in the same boat though, it’s been so long since I’ve played I don’t know if I would just be able to pick it up and play.

  6. Ezio Melega It can be easily replaced by a slotted die cut disk or even a square card. But making it a system of rotating die cast gears is an expensive gimmick that has zero to do with the setting. I’m not saying it does not do anything, or that the game mechanics that rely on it are not fun, but that it’s just a gimmick. Could have done the exact same mechanics other cheaper means. I’m tired of explaining again and again, so I just leave it as an exercise for the reader.

  7. Another game I forget to win all the damned time: Eclipse. Playing it is pure pleasure, especially with all the expansion widgets and fancy plastic ship fleets. Aaaand then four or five hours later I’ve lost.

    Meanwhile, every minute I’m not actively playing Twilight Imperium I’m reminded that I’m failing to win and it just means 8 hours of feeling angry. Weird, right? But there’s def something about FFG’s (or Corey’s) approach to that flavor of game that amps up the acrimony and strips away the operational fun so you can focus on it.

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