Postgame Comments - 27 Feb - TZOLK'IN
TZOLK’IN is a worker placement game but with a twist – that of the gears. A worker is placed at the lowest available slot and as time (rounds) progress moves up on the action track to (potentially) more powerful or desirable actions. On a player’s turn, their only options are to either place workers or to pull workers taking the appropriate action. As a result, we found a lot of the game was actually one of tempo/time management. If I needed a pawn to move 4 spaces, did I have the ability to spend 4 tempos waiting for that pawn to progress? Or (being more efficient) could I get all the moving pawns to align to combine the “pull” turn into a more powerful turn allowing for progress. As with many games of this sort, there are a variety of action tracks upon which players focus. A couple of the tracks provide basic resources (corn, stone, wood, gold) that can be used to feed one’s workers, construct buildings or monuments, or advance on the technology tracks. Another track allows for resource management – converting resources, acquiring additional workers, or spending different resources to achieve other actions. Finally, there is a track where one scores VPs. As can be imagined, one needs to balance a few things to ensure progress while managing tempo at the same time.
Tim was the one who jumped into the early lead on the VP action track securing the necessary crystal skull to do so. This (combined with the VP track technology track advancement) allowed him to get a rather efficient point scoring engine going. Rich found himself corn poor early and struggling to feed his workers until he could acquire some much needed farms about midway into the game. Dave was doing a great job producing corn, but not seeing how to efficiently convert it beyond buildings a few buildings. As the game progressed, Rich eyed the monument that awarded VPs based on maxing out on the technology track while Dave eyed a monument that awarded VPs based on technology track progress. While these did add nice points to both, Tim’s monopoly on the VP track (and the resultant advances in the temples) secured him the early and unpassable lead: Tim: 92 / Rich: 50 / Dave: 44
Personally, I did start to get a bit better at predicting future turns later in the game so perhaps another playing will find me a bit more competitive from the beginning. A game that (for me) needs another playing or two to get the rhythm of the game down a bit better. (I felt the same way with Trajan as well, and did better on a second play of that game also.)