How To Play: Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Quick Summary

In the captivating world of Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar, mastering time management, resource optimization, building strategies, technology track advancement, and placement tactics are crucial for achieving victory. Plan your actions wisely, anticipate gear rotations, and exploit strategic opportunities to gain the upper hand. Efficiently manage your resources, construct buildings, and advance on temple tracks to accumulate victory points. Strategically unlock technologies and employ placement tactics to maximize the benefits of your moves. With a deep understanding of the rules and a strong grasp of each aspect of the game, you can outwit your opponents and emerge triumphant in this immersive board game. Remember to remain adaptable and embrace the rich thematic experience of the ancient Mayan civilization. So, harness your strategic prowess, make your moves around the Mayan Calendar, and strive to leave your mark in the annals of history as a skilled master of Tzolk'in!


Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar! Whether you are a new player looking to learn the game or a seasoned veteran searching for advanced strategies, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and insights to outwit your opponents and claim victory in this captivating board game.

In this guide, we will delve into the intricate mechanics of Tzolk’in, provide an outline of the game rules, and offer the best strategies for achieving triumphant success. Prepare yourself for a deep dive into the rich world of the ancient Mayan civilization as we explore the gameplay intricacies and discuss the optimal decision-making processes that will lead to glorious triumph.

Through this guide, you will gain a thorough understanding of essential aspects such as time management, resource optimization, building strategies, technology track advancement, and placement tactics. Each section will provide valuable insights, practical tips, and detailed strategies to maximize your chances of attaining victory.

So, if you are ready to master the Mayan Calendar and outmaneuver your opponents, let’s embark on this enlightening journey to unlock the secrets of success in Tzolkā€™in: The Mayan Calendar!

What’s in the box

  • 1 Game Board
  • 6 Large Wooden Temples
  • 1 Central Gear Assembly
  • 144 Wooden Cubes (36 each in 4 different colors)
  • 28 Wooden Cylinders
  • 24 Wooden Workers (6 each in 4 different colors)
  • 4 Two-sided Player Boards
  • 92 Cards
  • 48 Chichen Itza Step Tiles
  • 13 Starting Buildings
  • 104 Resin Ornaments
  • 36 Technology Tiles
  • 21 Resource Tiles
  • 40 Calamity Tiles
  • 1 Starting Player Marker
  • 56 Corn Tokens
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Help Sheet

How To Play Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar: Rules Summary

  1. Place the game board and the central gear assembly in the center of the table.
  2. Give each player a player board, wooden workers, and starting buildings according to the player count.
  3. Shuffle the 4 building construction decks and place them on the game board.
  4. Prepare the resource tiles, technology tiles, calamity tiles, step tiles, corn tokens, and ornament tiles nearby.
  5. Place the worker, corn, and calamity tokens, as well as the starting player marker, within reach.
  6. Set up the starting resources, determine the starting player, and give them the first player marker.
  1. Each round consists of 5 phases: Planning, Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night.
  2. During the Planning phase, players secretly select their actions by placing their workers on the chosen gears.
  3. In the subsequent phases, the gears rotate based on the time track mechanism, impacting the location and effects of the workers.
  4. In the Morning, Afternoon, and Evening phases, the players take turns activating the action spaces corresponding to their worker placement.
  5. In the Night phase, players retrieve their workers and prepare for the next round.
  6. Players perform various actions, such as gathering resources, constructing buildings, advancing on tracks, and sacrificing buildings on particular action spaces of the gears.
  7. Throughout the game, players aim to accumulate victory points through various means and strive to fulfill objectives.
  8. The game continues for a set number of rounds based on the number of players.
Objective and Winning
  1. Players earn victory points by constructing buildings, ascending on temple tracks, collecting ornaments, and fulfilling objectives.
  2. After the final round, players tally their victory points, and the player with the most points wins the game.
  3. In case of a tie, the player with the highest number of resources and advancements breaks the tie.

Transition to conclude: With a firm understanding of the rules, you are ready to embark on an unforgettable journey in the ancient Mayan civilization. Good luck in mastering Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar!

Best Tzolkin The Mayan Calendar Strategies

Time Management: A Key to Victory

Mastering time management is crucial in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. Effectively utilizing each round and maximizing the actions available is vital for success. Here are some strategies for optimal time management:

1. Plan Ahead:
  1. Anticipate the movement of the rotating gears and visualize the future placement of your worker pawns.
  2. Consider the timing and sequence of your actions to create powerful combos.
  3. Plan for long-term strategies while also taking advantage of immediate gains.
2. Take Advantage of Forward and Backward Gears Movement:
  1. Place your workers on gears that move backwards strategically. Seize the opportunity to create extra actions or gain more resources.
  2. Utilize the forward movement of gears to access actions or bonuses that would otherwise be out of reach.
  3. Balance risk and reward by assessing when it’s beneficial to stay on a favorable gear or move to a different one.
3. Prioritize Important Actions:
  1. Identify the key actions necessary for long-term strategies and prioritize them when placing your worker pawns.
  2. Focus on actions that provide you with the resources, buildings, or advancements needed to achieve your objectives.
  3. Make efficient use of your turns by planning actions that serve multiple purposes or expedite your progress.

Transition with a concluding phrase: By mastering time management, you can seize opportunities, gain advantages, and optimize your actions in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. Next, let’s explore the importance of resource optimization in achieving victory.

Resource Optimization: Path to Triumph

Efficiently managing your resources is crucial to secure victory in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. Striving for resource optimization enables you to fuel your civilization and achieve your goals effectively. Consider the following strategies for successful resource management:

1. Balance Extraction and Consumption:
  1. Collect resources early on to establish a steady supply. Take advantage of the gears’ rotation to gather resources consistently.
  2. Maintain a careful balance between extracting resources to prevent scarcity and using them wisely to fuel your actions.
  3. Monitor your opponents’ resource levels and adapt your strategy accordingly. Exploit opportunities to monopolize scarce resources.
2. Utilize Building Abilities:
  1. Construct buildings that grant additional resource-gathering abilities or provide resource conversion options.
  2. Plan to invest in buildings that grant discounts or reduced costs for certain actions, allowing you to make efficient use of your resources.
  3. Feed the buildings that require constant resources by strategically managing your resource production.
3. Sacrifice for Greater Gains:
  1. Deliberately sacrifice buildings to gain powerful abilities, additional victory points, or quick resource infusions.
  2. Judge the trade-offs carefully, ensuring the benefits outweigh the resulting loss of building abilities and potential long-term sustainability challenge.
  3. Strike a balance between sacrificing buildings and strategic preservation to ensure a stable resource base.

Transition with a concluding phrase: Mastering resource optimization will enable you to fuel your progress, maximize your actions, and gain an advantage in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. Next, let’s explore some of the effective building strategies for achieving victory in the game.

Building Strategies: Constructing Your Path to Success

Strategic building placement is a key element in achieving victory in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. Building a solid foundation for your civilization, maximizing their benefits, and planning for long-term success can greatly impact your chances of winning. Consider the following strategies when it comes to building placement:

1. Focus on Synergies:
  1. Identify buildings that complement your chosen strategy or provide synergy with your existing buildings or advancements.
  2. Combine buildings with abilities that amplify each other, creating powerful chain reactions and advantageous effects.
  3. Plan ahead to strategically place buildings in a way that maximizes their potential benefits while connecting with other actions on the board.
2. Balance Long-Term and Short-Term Gains:
  1. Weigh the advantages of investing in large, point-generating buildings against the possibility of slower progress in the early game.
  2. Consider constructing smaller buildings that provide immediate beneficial effects that can boost your resource production or actions.
  3. Maintain a balance between infrastructure buildings and buildings that grant unique abilities or special actions.
3. Advance on the Temples:
  1. Prioritize advancing on the temple tracks to gain escalating benefits, including additional resources and points.
  2. Strategically time your ascent on the temple tracks, leveraging the benefits at the most opportune moments to maximize their impact on your overall strategy.
  3. Carefully assess the point values on the temple tracks to ensure your investments align with your desired point accumulation strategy.

Transition with a concluding phrase: Masterful building strategies in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar can propel your civilization towards victory. Next, let’s explore the significance of advancing on the technology track in your quest for triumph.

Technology Track Advancement: Paving your Path to Triumph

Strategic advancement on the technology track can be a crucial ingredient in securing victory in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. Choosing the right technologies to unlock, leveraging their benefits, and timing your advancements strategically can significantly impact your gameplay. Consider the following strategies for successful technology track advancement:

1. Assess Technology Suitability:
  1. Evaluate the technologies available and prioritize those that align with your overall strategy or can magnify the effects of your other actions.
  2. Consider technologies that offer resource generation, reduction in action costs, or special abilities that complement your intended gameplay approach.
  3. Avoid spreading your advancements too thin. Focus on a limited number of technologies to maximize their benefits rather than trying to unlock everything.
2. Plan for Synergistic Effects:
  1. Strategically time your advancements to unlock technologies that synergize with your buildings, advancements, or envisioned long-term strategies.
  2. Unlock technologies that complement your preferred actions. For example, if you focus on constructing buildings, choose technologies that boost building-related actions or provide additional building benefits.
  3. Ensure a balance between immediate benefits and long-term advantages when choosing technologies during the game.
3. Strategic Use of Shamans:
  1. Utilize the shaman spaces on the technology track to gain immediate benefits, such as resources or other advantages.
  2. Strategically plan the timing of your workers on the shaman spaces to maximize their effects in accordance with your current needs or upcoming actions.
  3. Consider the optimal movement of the rotating gears to ensure you have access to favorable shaman positions at critical moments during the game.

Transition with a concluding phrase: Skillful advancement on the technology track in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar can substantially enhance your civilization’s capabilities. Next, let’s explore powerful tactics and placement strategies that can elevate your chances of winning.

Placement Tactics: Mastering Your Moves for Victory

Strategic placement of your worker pawns is a fundamental aspect of achieving success in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. Making well-calculated moves, understanding the gear rotations, and capitalizing on optimal placements can give you a significant advantage. Consider the following strategies to enhance your placement tactics:

1. Assess Gears Ahead of Time:
  1. Analyze the gears’ positions in subsequent rounds to plan your worker’s placements accordingly. Anticipate gear rotations and their impact on your pawn’s movements.
  2. Maximize the value of early gear placements, as they often provide longer durations on actions or prime positions to gather resources.
  3. Strategically position your workers on gears that will help you reach essential actions or resources in future rounds.
2. Exploit Blocking Opportunities:
  1. Recognize when and where to place your workers defensively to block opponents’ worker placements or deny them access to pivotal actions or resources.
  2. Strive to secure positions on gears that will inconvenience your opponents’ progress and limit their options, forcing them to resort to sub-optimal strategies.
  3. Consider the consequences of blocking opponents, such as potential retaliation or altered game dynamics, in order to make informed decisions.
3. Optimize Moving Workers:
  1. Strategize when to advance your workers- either expose them to rotation effects or purposefully delay their movements to maintain access to crucial actions.
  2. Mindfully navigate your workers’ advancements to maximize their efficiency and keep up with the ever-changing gear positions.
  3. Utilize the gear rotation mechanics to manipulate your worker’s movements judiciously, aligning their placements with your desired actions and timing.

Transition with a concluding phrase: Skillfully navigating the placement tactics in Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar can give you a pivotal edge over your opponents. Armed with these strategies, we have explored the core elements necessary for triumph. Good luck on your path to victory!

Conclusion: Unleash Your Strategies and Conquer the Mayan Calendar

Congratulations! You have now armed yourself with essential strategies and insights to navigate the rich and engaging world of Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. By mastering time management, resource optimization, building strategies, technology track advancement, and placement tactics, you have acquired the tools necessary to formulate winning strategies and outmaneuver your opponents.

Remember, perfecting every aspect of your gameplay may take time and practice. Adapt your strategies based on the ever-changing gears and seize opportunities presented by the rotation of time. Keep a keen eye on your resources, buildings, advancements, and the progress of your opponents to build a thriving Mayan civilization.

While a comprehensive strategy guide can provide a solid foundation, always remain open to discovering new tactics and adaptations that suit your playing style. Each game presents unique challenges and unforeseen opportunities, so embrace the strategic depth Tzolk’in offers and immerse yourself in the rich atmosphere of the ancient Mayan culture.

Now, it’s time to gather your workers, align the gears, and embark on an incredible journey of discovery and triumph as you delve into the mystical realm of Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. May your strategies be sharp, your timing be perfect, and your victories be legendary!

Want to know what we think of Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar? Read our detailed review of Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.