Wednesday, 18 December 2013

in photos: Tzolk'in Tribes and Prophecies, Monopoly

10 Nov 2013. I played The Settlers of Catan with the children - a game that Chen Rui (left, 6) claims is her favourite now, even though she is quite clueless about strategy.

Barbarossa, a clay-moulding guessing game. I made the three in the foreground. Chen Rui made the three on the left behind mine, and Shee Yun the three on the right. I made a van, a cello and a rope. Chen Rui made a rope (the one at the back, and that bulge is a knot), a carrot, and something else - I forget. Shee Yun made a fridge, a carrot, and an eraser I think.

We didn't use the play dough that came with the game. They look wet and oily. We used the children's play dough.

30 Nov 2013. The children persuaded me to play Monopoly with them. Of all games. We have plenty of decent children games at home, and they have to pick Monopoly. But I guess what's important is spending time together. And I realise I'm probably somewhat prejudiced against this game. The children don't have any preconceived notions. They treat Monopoly as any other game in my collection, and they like it. It is probably partially due to me having it on the iPad (I think I downloaded it when it was free).

We didn't finish the game though. We stopped after playing for about an hour, or slightly more. The kids were bored. See I told you Monopoly sucks.

We didn't use the toy credit cards and toy card reader that come with the game. I find them annoying and cumbersome. We used plastic coins I bought in Taiwan and paper money from Power Grid: Factory Manager.

13 Dec 2013. I played Tzolk'in with the Tribes and Prophecies expansion at This photo shows the prophecy board. The first quarter of the game (rightmost spot) does not change, but for each other quarter some special rules will apply and some special scoring will be done too at the end of the quarter. E.g. in Quarter 4 (leftmost tile) whenever a player gains a crystal skull, he must decrease his position at one temple. At the end of the quarter, you lose 5VP if you have no crystal skull. You are not penalised if you have one or two. You gain points if you have three or more. These prophecy tiles are randomly drawn and revealed before the game starts, so you can plan for them up front.

That big tile at the bottom is a tribe tile. You get two at the start of the game and pick one. Your tribe gives you a special ability throughout the game. Mine lets one worker take a stronger action than he is supposed to be able to, if I pay one corn (i.e. $1). I find this quite powerful.

In this particular game there were two monuments that gave points for tech achievements, and also one prophecy related to techs, so I focused a lot on gaining techs. By game end, I was maxed out on three of the four tech tracks. This game has quite many moving parts and players will need at least the first game to get a grasp of what's going on. In this game, two of us have played before and two were new to the game, and there was an obvious gap between our scores at game end. I remember I was quite clueless in my first game too, not knowing how to plan ahead and work towards some of the monuments.

My overall impression of Tzolk'in hasn't changed. The timing aspect of the worker placement is interesting, and once you get into the rhythm, it's a clean and clever concept. However the rest of the game mechanisms are quite typical of VP-scoring Eurogames - multiple ways to earn VP's, collecting resources to convert them into VP's, and some area majority competition. Overall still a decent game. I like the expansion and would prefer to always play with it, but if you're new to the game, start without it. It gives some variety. It doesn't change the game much.


sodaklady said...

Nice post, as usual. Unbiased proof that Monopoly is indeed too long and boring. ;) The good news is that the girls probably won't as to play again.

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Ha ha... well, you never know... sometimes children have short memories.