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Teotihuacan: City of Gods – NSKN – Review

"Teotihuacan will make my game shelf, and will get played, if I have any say in the matter. There is a reason why there was such a BUZZ as Essenspiel. Teotihuacan deserved that BUZZ."

Theme and What is it?

You are rivals, attempting to jointly build the Pyramid of the Sun, jointly. This sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at the very least, a recipe for rivals to dislike each other immensely. 

You are working on building your cocoa fueled temple, and are receiving favor of the gods along the way. Your workers are largely mindless drones that will do exactly as you say, by walking in clockwise circles. You will only be able to order them to do something within 3 spaces to where they currently are situated.

Welcome to Teotihuacan: City of Gods.

Gameplay Mechanics

By and large, the game looks huge. Now, step back, and look at it… It is just a circle of options. Boiled down, this is a rondel game.

There are 8 spaces on the entire board, that you will be rotating around, in clockwise fashion. Your workers are your colored dice, and they’re powered 1-6. 1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest, and 6 being a temporary number, until you ascend to heaven, and are reincarnated to a 1 again, powerless.

Obviously, each of the 8 spaces, do different things. Some you get stone, some wood, some gold. All of which you can get cocoa at, at a rate of 1 cocoa per die that existed at that spot before you arrived. If there are any die where you land, and you want to take the action, you must spend one cocoa per die already there, prior to taking the action. 

Your workers are like Oompa Loompas, they are happy to be paid in chocolate. OoompaLoompaLand as we all know is Meso-American. Sadly, getting paid by cocoa does not mean the workers get it, they simply eat it, and it goes back to the reserve. 

Now, every action you take, will build other actions, and power up one of your dice, generally speaking, apart from prayer, or getting cocoa, or taking the board secondary action. 

This will eventually power your die up, to ascend, and that will move the crypt space up, leading to end game points. Without explaining every single action, this game is a beast, with explaining the actions, and strategies, it is nearly limitless.

Initial Impressions

Teotihuacan, has a lot of stuff. 

I know, that sounds like a possible negative. It is not meant that way. It is just a lot. It is initially overwhelming to look at, and for that reason was a bit scary to setup the first time. 

Teotihuacan, has a lot of stuff.

Game Build Quality

NSKN has made a name for itself, making great games, with great build quality. Teotihuacan is no exception. All the pieces fit nicely to form a beautiful whole. 

Artistic Direction

Each part of the board, is a tribute to the Meso-American culture for which it is based. Even the board, has mini-steps that just look like a temple. 

The artist hit the game nail on its head, almost perfectly. Everything just fits. Some “epic” games, just have a lot, and not all fits. Every piece of Teotihuacan, fits the theme and story. This game is beautiful.

Fun Factor

Rondels are currently popular. There is a reason that they are, they give limited choice that feels unlimited. 

If you enjoy rondels, this is perhaps one of the best games using that mechanic that currently exist. Though, it is deep and involved, and takes some forward thought, not all of which, all gamers like. I am not one of those gamers, I think it is pretty awesome in its execution.

Age Range & Weight

12+. I tend to think this is actually a little low. A twelve year old, could play this, but to build the game end victory points, requires some serious planning. 

I would say err on the side of caution age wise, 14+, maybe.

Conclusions

Teotihuacan really builds upon itself. 

I have become a fan of NSKN design since Dice Settlers, and Teotihuacan does not break that mold of games I will like. The rules and point scoring could use a little clarity for my liking. However the gameplay is crisp, clear, and concise once you get the game moving, with no cleanup phase through most of the game. There are three scoring phases, but no cleanup to speak of.

Teotihuacan will make my game shelf, and will get played, if I have any say in the matter. There is a reason why there was such a BUZZ as Essenspiel. Teotihuacan deserved that BUZZ.