Preview: Zapotec – Build your own Ziggurat

Preview by Stephen Mingo 

It’s been a slow month for gaming this November, owing almost entirely to that virus thing going on. Whilst we stare forelornely at our unplayed gaming backlog, and repeatedly plan and cancel game nights on the calendar, news comes over the East horizon from 2021 like the distant sounding of the horn of Rohan at dawn on the 5th day. 

Board & Dice are releasing a new game! The company behind Traintopia and Mandala Stones, both previously reviewed by EDT Gaming, have sent out a press release for Zapotec, due out in November 2021. We hope to get our hands on it in the second half of next year for an indepth review, in the meantime here is what Board & Dice have to tell us…

The Zapotec were a pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence reveal their culture going back at least 2,500 years. Remnants of the ancient city of Monte Albán in the form of buildings, ball courts, magnificent tombs, and finely worked gold jewelry testify of this once great civilization.

Each round, players simultaneously pick a card from their hand to determine their turn order and the resources they collect. Players then perform individual turns and spend resources to build new houses, gain access to special abilities, make sacrifices to the gods and build pyramids.

The played action card determines three important aspects of each player’s turn. The resource printed at the top of the card determines the row or column to activate on the resource grid to collect income.

The icon in the middle of the card matches one of the nine properties of the building spaces on the map (one of three building types, one of three regions, or one of three terrain types). On their turn, players may only build on spaces that match that icon.

The number at the bottom of the card will dictate the turn order for the round when the card is played.

At the end of the round, players draft new cards from the central offer, ending the round with the same number of cards they started with. The final remaining card (which was not chosen by any player) becomes the scoring bonus card for the following round.

After five rounds, players score points for Pyramids, for their position on the Sacrifice track, and for their Ritual cards. The player with the most victory points is the winner.

Steve’s thoughts: As someone who has walked among the ancient Mayan ruins in the Yucatan peninsula and admired their ball courts, and even climbed a Ziggurat, this interests me greatly. I am also a fan of euro strategy games and often enjoy sinking my teeth into them at game night. The combination of the mechanics and theming here are very intriguing. Yet another reason 2021 can’t come soon enough. 

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