1-4 Players, 60-120 min, 14+.
Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire published by Board and Dice is another in the growing list of ‘T’ games from David Turczi. Previous examples are T’zolkin, Teotihuacan, Tekhenu. This time you are taking on the role of High Priests in the Golden Temple Coricancha atop a hill inside the Inca capital of Cusco. You will be placing workers onto the terraced sides of the hill to grow potatoes and Corn, Collect Stone and mine Gold. You will order the construction of buildings and stairs (makes going up and down easier), Sculpt statues in honour of the gods, Collect weaving and build your armies.
That seems like a lot
On the surface this seems a lot to try to manage at once. In actual fact your turn will consist of either,
Discarding a god card (or paying one gold) to place a worker on the relevant space on the hill side and thus take the action/s adjacent to it.
Taking 2 of the secondary actions which consist of. Recruiting a worker, Drawing two god cards, Moving high priest one or two steps inside the temple or drawing two army cards keeping one and discarding the other.
Seems simple enough
At first glance this seems like a very basic worker placement. worker=action scenario. However the placement of the workers has the added twist in that they will remain for the rest of the game (an exception is coming) tying up that space for the remainder of the game. On the flip side if you place a worker adjacent pathwise to another worker of the same colour already placed you get to take extra actions and if the worker is on it’s own coloured space you gain further actions. In fact it is quite possible to place a worker and gain up to five actions instead of just one. Workers come in five colours each with differing abilities which are +1 action, reduced cost, claim a god card or even remove and claim an adjacent worker (the exception I said earlier).
The added wrinkle to your workers placement is that you have to discard a god card with the correct symbol for the space you wish to use unless you pay one gold instead (gold is scarce). These god cards also have special abilities that you can utilise by having built statues. So do you really want to discard that card or use its special ability?
You will also be acquiring army cards to compete for control of various regions to gain valuable rewards as a result of military conquest. Note there is no direct conflict.
Where your High Priest is within your temple will also impact your choice of location as the further away you wish to place the worker the more expensive it is, costing up to 8 corn or potatoes.
Moving your High Priest around in the temple not only grants you cheaper worker placement but also allows you to trigger powerful actions that are only available from within the Temple itself. These ‘power’ actions are,
Conquer: Engage in military conquest of nearby villages
Offering: Pay resources to gain temple advancements.
Rejuvenate: Refresh activated buildings and military units.
Worship: Sacrifice previously built statues to gain temple advancements.
As you would expect from a David Turczi game you will be scoring points throughout the game by building statues and stairs. You will also gain points whenever another player uses your stairs, Temple advancements and control of the various regions.
Once all the workers have been used up this signals the end of the game at which point you score bonus victory points from temples, tapestries buildings and resources. Highest score wins.
Game board Pizza
The Game board for Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire is a complete deluge of symbols and iconography. At first glance this can feel a little like sensory overload. Thanks however to some very well laid out rules and a player aid that is top notch., everything falls into place quite well. And the various actions integrate fairly well. You will very quickly find yourself trying to figure out this latest ‘T’ game puzzle. But and this is where for me the first cracks started to appear. This is not a puzzle you can realistically plan long term strategy for. You need to have the right god card (or gold) to use a speace and it is all too easy (and common) for opponents to disrupt or completely destroy those plans when placing their workers. This is instead much more of a game about making the best of what you have at a particular time. As you might expect this can lead to quite a bit of downtime in a four player game as each player will quite often have to totally reassess their play decision when it is their turn. In reality victory will come down to who got further up the temple, made the best tapestry or had the best conquest spots. So in short Math your turn out when it is your turn. Bring on Analysis Paralysis unless you just want to end up picking a path randomly which in a four player game can be tempting after waiting an age to have that turn.
Hits or Misses
Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire is a valiant addition to the list of ‘T’ games from David Turczi but it is not without its faults.
Quick Set-up: Setup is reasonably simple
Strategy Tactics: there is a good mix of these on display
Worker Placement Food Cost: The increasing cost the further away you place your worker is an interesting idea and it does work well here.
Colourful board: bright colourful board which feels in keeping with the theme (I am no expert)
Rules Aids: The Rules book and Player Aids are top notch and easy to understand.
Theme integration: while not tacked on it is certainly not immersive.
L-O-N-G: with the massive AP inducing turn times this game outstays its welcome.
Disjointed: While the core concept of expanding the Incan empire makes sense with increasing costs to travel further, Making tapestries + conquest + temple worship feel disconnected almost as if a few mechanics were slotted together to fill out the busy board.
I normally really like a nice crunchy euro with variability of options on my turn. David Turczi can normally fit right into my wheelhouse. I love both T’zolkin and Teotihuacan. Also I am really excited to try Tekhenu as that looks like another likely winner. Unfortunately however Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire with its options overload and game time regularly over two and half hours outstays its welcome with the scoring opportunities feeling just a little too disconnected from what your trying to achieve. This is not one that will keep its home on my shelves.Please remember these are my honest opinions and your enjoyment might vary
You can buy TAWANTINSUYU: The Inca Empire from.