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Tikal Board Game Review: Temples and Treasure!

By Andrew Burgon /
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October 31, 2014

Tikal board game

In the Tikal Board Game You Explore the Jungle, Excavate Temples and Unearth Treasure!

* 2-4 players                                            * Authors: M. Kiesling / W. Kramer

* 90 minutes play time                            * Level: Easy

In the Tikal board game you are the director of an expedition negotiating the myriad paths through the jungle. Your expedition leader and his team following your every step. On your journey you discover temples long lost from the memory of humankind. These temples are excavated and the treasure troves nearby unearthed. During the four scoring rounds of the game you are rewarded handsomely with victory points for the treasures you have and for the temples that you control. The expedition that wins the most points is the winner.

How to Play Tikal.

The game is a simple one to grasp. Your turn consists of two phases.

The first is to take the topmost terrain hexagon tile and place it face up on the board next to a space that has already been explored.

The second is to explore with your 10 action points.

tikal board game terrain tiles

The four types of terrain hexagons in the game. Volcano, treasure, temple and jungle (grassy looking area).

There are four kinds of terrain hexagons in Tikal.

Jungle: A camp can only be established on this kind of tile. Expedition camps are connected to each other and to the base camp.

Temple: A temple states it’s value on the terrain card. They can be excavated to increase their value provided you have a member of your team on it.

Treasures: When a treasure tile is placed on the board put the amount of treasure wafers on it according to the number of golden masks on the hexagon.

Volcano: These are unpassable hexagon spaces. When a player discovers one of these he puts it aside and takes his ten actions then scores. The other players take turns to do the same. When that’s done the volcano tile is put on the board and play resumes to normal.

Using Your 10 Actions Turns

tikal board game rule summary card

The rule summary card and treasure wafers.

Take a look at the rule summary card above. The gold numbers have been added by me. Here are what the symbols mean.

1. Place a terrain hexagon on the board.

2. If it’s a volcano put it aside. All players take turns using up their 10 action points and move their scoring markers along the scoring track accordingly.

3. Place an expedition member at the base camp or one of your own expedition camps. Cost one action point.

4. Going over a step on the hexagon is one action point per step.

5. Uncover one temple level. You can only escavate two levels per turn. You must have one expedition member per level uncovered in the hexagon. Cost is two action points per level.

6. Recover a maximum of two treasures your turn for three action points per treasure. You are required to have one expedition member in the hexagon per treasure uncovered.

7. Exchange a treasure with one of the other players whether they like it or not! You can’t break up any pairs or triplets they have though. Cost is 3 action points.

8. Establish an expedition camp for 5 action points.

9. Place a guard on the temple. To do so you need to have the majority in the temple hexagon. Keep in mind that the expedition leader (tall red block) counts as three men. You can only place 2 guards on temples during the entire game. Cost is 5 action points.

10. When scoring temples the player who has a guard on top scores. Otherwise, it’s the player who has the greatest number of members in the temple hexagon. If there is a tie, nobody gets points.

11. When scoring treasures one of a kind is 1 point, two of a kind is 3 points and three of a kind is 6 points.

For each step you see on a hexagon it costs one to go over it. If there is no step on the next hexagon you want to go to but there is one adjacent to it on the hexagon your currently on you can still proceed.

tikal board game temples guard

Close-up of the Tikal board showing a guard on top of two temples.

Game End

When a player has finished his turn after placing the last terrain hexagon on the board players then begin taking turns to execute their last 10 action points and score. The player with the most points wins.

Tikal Board Game Conclusion

The Tikal board game is a fun game to play with friends. It’s a nice looking game and so easy to grasp that my 8 year old son was able to play. Exchanging treasures with other players and placing tiles in ways that slows them down can be devilishly fun!

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Tikal Board Game (Amazon, United States store.)

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