Quick Look: Founders of Teotihuacan
Designer: Filip Głowacz
Artists: Chuy de Leon, Odysseas Stamoglou, Aleksander Zawada
Year Published: 2022 (Available for Pre-Order)
Travel back in time to the founding of one of the greatest cities of Mesoamerica and become a part of its history once again. Design the foundations of a great pre-Columbian civilization, with its buildings, temples, and a grand pyramid in the center. Find perfect locations for production buildings and great temples, and build the might of the great pyramid overlooking your city. Establish yourself as the very best among competing architects, and your project will secure you a spot among the great Founders of Teotihuacan!
Founders of Teotihuacan is a strategy game where you compete against your friends to create the best design of the city of Teotihuacan. Over the course of three to four rounds you will place your action disks to the main board, forming towers of varying strength, strategically use the bonuses they offer, and construct temples, resource buildings and the pyramid central to your project of Teotihuacan. You will balance generating resources and using them, as finding good locations on your city board becomes increasingly more difficult, and you will try to outwit your opponents, making use of an innovative and interactive action system. Finally, once the eclipse comes, all designs will be assessed and the player with the most points will win and become the architect to join the ranks of Founders of Teotihuacan!
Founders of Teotihuacan is a stand-alone game, related to Teotihuacan: City of Gods only by the shared setting of the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Thematically, the events in Founders takes place at an earlier time in history, while what was to become a magnificent city was yet in its infancy and only few inhabited the area.
On your turn, you must either perform an Action or pass. To perform an Action, place between 1 and 3 of your Action disks on an Action space on the Main board that already contains at least one disk (minimum a Bonus disk and possibly also opponent disk(s)), and carry out a corresponding Action. The Action disk(s) should be placed on top of the disk(s) already on that space, forming a stack. Each Action space can hold a maximum of 4 Action disks—including Bonus disks!
Your personal player board is divided into four Districts or quadrants. Buildings and Temples can only be placed within the two Districts closest to your Architect. Pyramid tiles can only be placed within the six Pyramid squares closest to your Architect. Your Action Strength is equal to the total number of disks (whether yours, an opponent’s disks, or Bonus disks) on an Action space.
After performing an Action (not when passing), move your Architect clockwise to the next side of your Player board, signifying
the end of your turn. This changes your Architect’s Reach for your next turn. After all players have passed, the current round ends.
After the game has ended, players score additional Victory Points for how well their Districts complement their Pyramid.
Tile laying games
It might come as a bumper to you, but have ever only played quite easy straight forward tile laying games before like Patchwork and Indian Forest where luck play the biggest part. Although I would love to compare it to the acclaimed Island of Cat, I haven’t played it yet. So I’ll stick to what I know. Founders of Teotihuacan encompasses more than tile laying, chance and space visualization skills. Although the latter is still heavily required, Founders of Teotihuacan is a real strategy game where choosing, not only where to place the tile, the order in which you do will be detrimental.
Founders of Teotihuacan – as such
Founders of Teotihuacan can be played either 2 to 4 players as a competitive game where you’ll build your pyramid and its surrounding while trying to please the gods and earn points, or as a solo game fighting for your place within the Founders of Teotihuacan and proving your value.
Both modes play quite similarly on the human player side. Depending of the number of players the length of the game is set to either 4 rounds (2-3 players) or 3 rounds (1 or 4 players). During each round, players will take one out of the 6 available actions, 4 of them allow players to place tiles on their player board while the other allows players to score points or prepare.
There are 3 types of buildings that can be build, from which the basic one doesn’t give you points straight away but give you resources that can later be spent on other buildings and objectives alike.
The more resources one player has the easier he will build temples and pyramid bits.
But resources are not the only detrimental factor allowing players to build the best and biggest buildings. Founders of Teotihuacan has managed to implement player interaction in a really smart way.
In order to take the most actions, players need to see the amount of times the action was already selected during the same round. The more often it has been taken already the best advantages for money the player will get from the taken action as the size of the building that will be available for the player to build is 1+the amount the action has been taken already unless he’s willing to take one less action this round.
This Mechanic in term means that according to their choices, players will be able to play between two and six times each round. The big dilemma being the choice that ranges between two very powerful actions and six actions from which 2 might be as powerful as your adversaries let you have it your way.
At the end of the game the player which gathered the most points wins and is allowed to sacrifice his adversaries on top of its pyramid 😀 .
More about the Solo mode
The solo mode is a “beat your score” kind of Solo mode. Your turns will essentially play in the same manner as in multiplayer, but to simulate the decreasing options two important factors are introduced. First, before starting your game, you will need to randomly pick three challenges, each from a list of nine. These challenges are either limiting your actions or demanding that you meet certain requirements like to have a certain amount of a certain temple, before the end of the game. Then you have the bots, two first pioneers of Teotihuacan. They won’t build anything or gain any points during the game but in order to mimic the decreasing possibilities of action you encounter during a multiplayer game while turn pass, they will remove choices from the equation turn after turn until the end of the round.
All in all, it’s a really good solo mode based on a really good randomization engines, being a bag with colored pellets of two colors, 2 randomized trinomials and 3 lists of 9 challenges. This engine has two advantages, the bot is predictable but only as in “he’s getting interested to those but you don’t know when he’ll strike” most like humans, you may understand their possible tactics but are never sure when they will strike. And to me it is way better than a fully predictable or fully unpredictable bot.
For the one that gets me it is similar in enjoyableness to the Outlive and Great Wall solo mode, unpredictable but yet you knew this could happened.
The publisher chose a nice pastel color palette, which when set on the player board renders a nice setting making me think about a setting sun in a foreign land. Yeah, they did well !
Iconography renders of small stone buildings from the top and, not being an expert in Latin America culture, they do the trick for me.
On color-blind friendliness, it falls just in the category of color-blind friendly game (great!) that did not pay much attention to it but ended up doing it anyway (well that’s ok).
Playerboards and punch boards
Founders of Teotihuacan being a tile laying game at its core, as you might expect there are quite a few tiles. The quality of punch board is good, nothing special to say (which is better because that’s the sort of thing you only talk about when disappointed).
Tiles are well made and fit right one to the other on the provided grid.
The player boards display nice details and are large enough for everything to be displayed and readable without any difficulties, although allowing moving small elements on it.
Flat discs, cubes and meeples are of good size considering the required tasks and do not display any problems. Additional discs in case you would lose one would have been nice though.
I nearly didn’t include this category, but there is one “I couldn’t be more standard” d-10 that is only used to determine the challenges you’ll face in solo mode.
So should I buy it ?
Founders of Teotihuacan is certainly a great game that you should consider buying.
If you played easy tile laying games like Patchwork but where disappointed in their straight forward strategy that those game offered and would like more, you should definitely buy Founders of Teotihuacan. On the contrary, if you feel that there are too much rules in simpler tile laying games like Indian Summer, then this game is not for you.
If you are an Island of Cat player and want to get more tile laying greatness and can relate to what I wrote about Island of Cat to your experience, well, just buy it.
If you miss Tetris and are into board games, though you do not possess any tile laying games yet, what are you doing? Of course you should get it, unless you prefer simple things.
Last shout out
Thanks for including a solo mode straight! This is a trend in boardgames that I, as a computer working person, really appreciate as it allows me to relax my eyes from all that blue light in the evening even when I’m alone
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QuelqunQui (literally Someone who in French) is an eclectic who can’t stop doing more than one thing at a time.. Quelqunqui is a harpsichordist and gamer at heart that doesn’t abide by rules he doesn’t believe in. When not playing he’s traveling the world for the Belgian Air force.
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