This makes enough of an impact that I will usually turn down the chance to play Teotihuacan if the expansion isn't present.
Theme and What is it?
Teotihuacan is expanding and taking in inhabitants from nearby areas. These inhabits bring with them a series of new changes. Seasonal conditions will matter. Players can now be a priest or priestess of a specific god during setup. You can add a new temple track for additional challenges. There are new ways to construct and decorate the temple included with the Late Preclassic Period goodies.
What does it add?
The Late Preclassic Period offers 5 new modules. The Priest and Priestesses module gives variable player powers during setup. This is easily the most accessible change to the expansion and I will include it in all future plays. The Height of Development module gives a new orange temple track for players to explore. This isn’t hard to include but might not be something I use every time.
Seasons of Progress gives a slight change to the rules for each phase of the game and shifts at each eclipse. These tiles are not overwhelmingly different from the main game but still impact the incentive structure players are exploring during play. This is the other module I now consider being required for play.
The final two modules for Architecture and Development are quite cool for when you have mastered the normal game features. They offer a change I, personally, am not at the point of needing in my games just yet.
What does it fix/ break?
Some priest tiles seem, particularly, effective in a shorter or longer game. This could cause players to avoid or prefer actions that slow down or speed up the rate the game ends to seek their greatest advantage. Some players voiced concerns that this was a break in the game as it pigeon holes them into a strategy right from the beginning.
If multiple players want the same game pace, other players might be mostly out of the running just by the inherent synergy of those strategies. I do not agree that this is a problem, a new incentive structure is a good thing for me. I even particularly enjoy when the incentives can be manipulated by seeking a favorable game pace.
Overall, it is hard to predict how the mechanics might skew results in individual runs of the game. I can see potential for the season tiles to just happen to line up exactly with what a player was already doing. I have noticed no issues myself.
Do I want this?
Yup. Teotihuacan is a wonderful game to have in the collection just on its own base game merits. The Late Preclassic Period adds a bunch of replay value and ways to shift up the game in different combinations. Even with brand new players, I include season tiles and priest and priestess tiles now.
These are not so complex that they will make teaching much longer even if it offers a substantial choice right at the start of the game (I make my choice then advise them). The other modules are great for an experienced group of players.
Do I need this?
Yup! This makes enough of an impact that I will usually turn down the chance to play Teotihuacan if the expansion isn’t present. The Late Preclassic Period makes that much of an enjoyable difference to me. I think all fans of the game should pick it up. If you are all new players and no experienced teacher, stick to the base game to get used to the complexities of that first. But if even one player is an experienced teacher, throw in the expansion even with a brand new group of other players.
The Late Preclassic Period has enough great things that you should absolutely add it to your base game. The greatest part about a modular expansion is you need not learn every mechanism before starting to use the expansion. Add what you want from the first three modules right away and explore the rest in future plays. It is best not to start your first expansion play with all 5 modules, anyway. But the complexity is there for when you have worked up to it and need that much extra stuff keeping the puzzle unique in each play.
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