Our How to Play videos are designed to be short (but still complete) instructional videos, mainly for people who want an overview before playing with someone who knows how to play (in place of that person teaching the rules). Setup and refresh is usually in a separate video, since only one person needs to know the details.
Hi! This is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and today I'm gonna show you how to play Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar.
The goal of the game is to get the most points. You can get points through buildings, monuments, the god track, and the Chichen Itza gear.
Turn Overview [0:13]
On your turn, you can do one of two things: Place one or more workers, or remove one or more workers. You have to either place or remove - you cannot do both and you cannot do nothing.. After everyone has had a turn, the round ends. The center gear will spin once and all the gears will rotate so the workers move up a space.
Placing Workers [0:27]
When you place a worker, you must place it on the lowest available space on the gear. For example, here I would place on the 0 space. If there were already workers here, I’d have to place on the 2 space. When you place workers, you have to pay the amount of corn shown here. Additionally, if you place multiple workers you’ll have to pay extra corn. You need to pay 1 corn for 2 workers, 3 corn total for 3 workers, 6 corn total for 4 workers, and so on.
Removing Workers [0:46]
When you remove workers, you can choose what order to remove them in. You get to do the action of the space your worker is in when you remove it. You can also pay corn to do the lower spaced actions of that gear - one corn per space down.
If you leave your worker on the last space of a gear and let it spin, you get the worker back but you don’t get to do any action with it.
The actions you can do are split between five gears.
Food/Wood Gear (green) [1:04]
This is the food and wood gear. If you're on this space when you remove a worker, you'll get 3 corn. This space gives you 4 corn and a corn tile. If there are no corn tiles left, you do not get corn. Here you can get either corn or wood, depending on which tiles are showing. If there are wood tiles showing, you can take 2 wood and a wood tile, revealing the corn tile underneath. If there are corn tiles showing, you can get the corn tile and 5 corn. The corn and wood tiles are not resources. If you really want corn and there are only wood tiles showing, you can burn the forest by removing a wood tile from the game and taking the corn and corn tile. You also have to move a space down on one of the god tracks, and you can't burn the forest if you're at the bottom of all the god tracks. The other spaces on this gear are similar - this gives you 7 corn or 3 wood, here is 9 corn or 4 wood. These last 2 spaces allow you to do any of the previous actions on this gear without paying corn.
Resources Gear (tan) [1:48]
This gear is for resources. You get a wood from this space, a stone and a corn here, a gold and two corn here, a crystal skull here, and a gold, stone, and two corn here. These last spaces let you do any of the others. Resources are unlimited, but crystal skulls are limited to the 13 available.
Chichen Itza Gear (blue) [2:03]
This is the Chichen Itza gear. These spaces are one time use - in order to do the action, you must place a skull here, and then no one else can do it for the rest of the game. All these spaces give you the points listed and let you move up the god track shown - brown, green, or gold. This means you also get a resource block of your choice - wood, stone, or gold. The last space lets you do any of the others, as long as there isn’t already a skull on it.
This is the building and technology gear. This space allows you to advance one space up the technology track.
Tech Tracks [2:26]
Here's the technology track. There are 4 different tech tracks. To advance a space on any of them, you need to pay the number of block resources shown - wood, stone, or gold. You pay one resource to move to the first spot, two more to move to the next, and three more to move to the last. Once you're at the last space, instead of advancing on that track you pay one resource to get the bonus each time.
Agriculture Tech [2:44]
This is the agriculture technology. If you have this, whenever you get corn from a green space, not the blue, you get one extra corn. On this space, you get one extra corn from the blue space as well. Also, you can get corn from spaces even if the corn tiles aren’t there or aren’t showing. On this space, you get 2 more corn whenever you get corn from a green space. Technologies are cumulative, so you’d get 3 extra corn total each time you get corn on a green space. The bonus tech allows you to move up one space on any god track.
Resource Tech [3:07]
This is the resource tech. Here, whenever you get wood from a green or brown space, you get one extra. This gives you one extra stone when you get a stone from the resource gear. This gives you an extra gold when you get a gold from the resource gear. The bonus is 2 resource blocks of your choice - any combination of wood, stone, or gold.
Buildings Tech [3:21]
This is the buildings tech. Here, whenever you build a building, you get one corn. This one gives you 2 points whenever you build a building. This lets you build a building with one fewer resource of your choice. The bonus space is 3 victory points.
Chichen Itza Tech [3:32]
This is the blue technology for the Chichen Itza gear. This allows you to do the action one space ahead of your worker on the Chichen Itza gear instead of the space it’s on. This lets you pay one resource block after doing a Chicken Itza action to move up a god track of your choice. This gives you one more skull whenever you get a skull from the resource gear. The bonus is a crystal skull.
Buildings/Tech Gear (red-brown) [3:49]
Back to the building gear - this space allows you to build a building. Each building has resource costs at the top that you need to pay to build it. If you have the last building tech, you choose which of the resources you don’t pay - for example I could build this building for a wood and a stone instead of a wood and two stone. When you build a building, you get the bonus pictured. Buildings are replenished after each turn. This space allows you to advance one or two spaces on the technology tracks of your choice, paying the resources needed. This allows you to either build 2 buildings - but you cannot use your building technologies on one of them - or build a monument. Monuments are for end game scoring, and you don’t get any building technology bonuses for monuments. Here you pay one resource block to move up one space each on two separate god tracks. This space allows you to do any of the other spaces on this gear.
Uxmal Gear (yellow) [4:28]
Here’s the last gear. This space lets you pay 3 corn to move up any one space on the god track. This one allows you to exchange resources and corn at the exchange rate here - a wood is 2 corn, a stone is 3 corn, and a gold is 4 corn. This gives you an extra worker - you start with 3 and have a maximum of 6. This lets you build a building by paying entirely in corn - instead of any of the resources pictured on the building, you pay 2 corn. For example, this building has 4 resources, so it would cost 8 corn. If you have the last building tech, you pay 2 less corn. This lets you pay one corn to do any action on any gear except the Chichen Itza gear. This lets you do any of the actions on this gear.
Quarter End [5:00]
When the gear hits or passes these stickered spots, you will need to feed your workers at the end of that round. At the end of each quarter of the game, you will need to pay 2 corn per worker. You have to feed your workers if you are able to. If you do not have enough corn, you lose 3 points per worker you cannot feed. At the end of the first and third quarters, the orange stickers, you feed and get resources based on where you are on the god track. For example, if I'm here, I'll get 2 stone and a wood. At the halfway and end game points, the blue stickers, you feed and get points based on the god track. For example, if I'm here I'll get 6 + 1 + 3, or 10 points. The highest person on the god track also gets the bonus shown at the top - the left value for the first half and the right value for the second half. If multiple people are tied, all tied players get half the value.
Start Player Space [5:38]
One other space you can place your worker is the starting player space. If no one places their worker here in a round, one corn is placed on the tooth of the center gear when it spins. When you go on the start player space, you get all the corn that has accumulated, but you cannot use it during that turn. If you don’t have the start player marker, then you get it and become the starting player next round. If you already have the starting player marker, then you pass it to the player on your left. You also get your worker back at the end of the round. Taking this action also allows you to choose whether or not to spin the gear two turns instead of one at the end of the round. Once you use this double spin ability, you flip your player board over to the dark side, indicating you cannot do it again. You also cannot do this if someone is on the second to last space of a gear and it would push them off. If you double spin past a sticker, there is still feeding at the end of the next round.
Begging for Corn [6:17]
At the beginning of your turn, if you have less than 3 corn you can beg for corn. To do this, move one space down on a god track and take corn so you have 3 total corn. If you need to place a worker and don’t have enough corn, you have to beg for corn. If you’re already at the bottom of all the god tracks and don’t have enough corn to place a worker, you must get rid of all your corn and place your worker on the cheapest available spot.
God Track Movement [6:35]
When you move up the god track, you can be on the same space as other players, except the top space. Only one person can occupy the top space. Also, when you reach the top space of a god track, if your player board is on the dark side, you can flip it back over, showing that you are able to use the double spin ability again.
Starting Game [6:48]
At the beginning of the game, you start with 3 workers. You also get to choose 2 out of 4 starting tiles, and get the resources and bonuses pictured.
Refreshing Game [6:55]
At the half game, the buildings will change from Age 1 to Age 2 buildings. Monuments are never replenished or switched out.
End Game [7:00]
At the end of the game, when the gear has done one full rotation and after the final feeding and god track scoring, you will get additional points for monuments and leftover resources. Convert all your resources to corn using the exchange rate - wood is 2 corn, stone is 3 corn, and gold is 4 corn. Each corn is worth ¼ point. Each crystal skull is 3 points. Monuments are worth points based on what you have. The player with the most points wins. If there’s a tie, the player with the most workers left on the gears wins.
And that's how you play Tzolk'in. For setup and building and monument explanations, click the link or check out the back of the manual. Thanks for watching Board Game Blitz!
Put the board together. It has 4 puzzle pieces, place the one with the big gear last. Spin the gear so the blue sticker is on the starting arrow.
Put the corn, wood, stone, gold, and skulls in piles next to the board.
Shuffle the monuments and deal them out - 4 in a 2 player game, 5 for 3 players, and 6 for 4 players. Shuffle the age 1 buildings and deal 6 out on the building spaces.
Place corn tiles on each of the corn spaces - 2 in a 2 player game, 3 for 3 players, and 4 for 4 players. Place wood tiles on top of the corn tiles on the wood spaces.
Each player gets their player board and 3 workers and sets aside the other 3. The player board is set to the light side. Each player places their score tracker on the starting space of the score track, and their smaller pieces on the starting spaces of the technology and God tracks. Deal out 4 starting tiles to each player.
If you have fewer than 4 players, set up dummy workers. Take the remaining 6 or 12 workers of the unused colors. One at a time, draw a starting tile. Place a dummy worker on the space listed on the bottom. For example, this tile means a dummy worker goes on palanque 5, here. If it is the first dummy worker placed on a gear, also place one opposite it on the same gear. Continue drawing tiles and placing dummy workers until they're all placed.
Each player chooses 2 out of the four starting tiles and receives the resources and bonuses pictured.
Whoever sacrificed something most recently is the starting player and gets the starting player marker. Play goes clockwise.
After each turn, refill the building spaces with new buildings - age 1 buildings in the first half and age 2 in the second half.
At the end of the second quarter, after feeding and god track scoring, remove all the Age 1 buildings and deal 6 age 2 buildings out on the spaces.
Starting Tiles and Buildings [1:29]
The starting tiles and buildings have icons that give you certain things. These icons mean you get the number of resources pictured - for example 9 corn here, one stone, 2 wood, 1 gold, 1 crystal skull. These icons mean you get to move up the specified technology track without paying resources. This is for the Chichen Itza tech track, this is for the buildings, this is the resource one, and this is the agriculture one. These symbols mean you can move up a space on the specified god track - brown, gold, or green.
This symbol means you get an extra worker. You cannot have more than 6 workers. These are straight victory points, 6 points and 2 points. This feeds one of your workers for you during each quarter end, so you don’t have to pay corn for that worker. This one would feed 3 workers. If you have this, all of your workers need one less corn. Two of these buildings would feed all your workers. This icon means you get to move up one space on any god track of your choice. This means you get to build a building, using any building techs you have. These two icons are similar to the actions on the yellow gear. Here you can pay a corn to do any action on any of the gears except the Chichen Itza gear. Here you can exchange corn and resources back and forth - 2 corn for a wood, 3 for stone, and 4 for gold. This symbol means you can move up any tech track without paying the resources. The two arrows mean you can do it twice.
The monuments give you points based on what you have at the end of the game. These three give you points for each building and monument you have of the corresponding color, including these monuments. This is 4 points for each brown, 4 for each blue, and 4 for each green. This gives you two points for each building or monument you’ve built, no matter the color. This gives you points based on how many workers you have in play - 6 for 4, 12 for 5, and 18 for all 6. This gives you points for how many monuments were constructed among all the players. In a 4 player game, you get 4 points per monument, 5 points per in a 3 player, and 6 points per in a two player game. This gives you 3 points per each skull that was placed on Chichen Itza, no matter who placed it.
These give you points for how many corn or wood tiles you have. This is the only time corn and wood tiles count toward anything. This is 4 points per corn tile, and this is 4 points per wood tile. If you burned the forest, you don’t get the wood tile. These give you points based on where you are on the technology or god tracks. This gives you points based on how many technologies you’ve reached the third level in - 9 for 1, 20 for 2, and 33 for 3 or 4. This gives you 3 points per level you have on the technology track. For example, here I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 levels so I’d get 9 x 3 or 27 points. This gives you the victory points for where you are on the god track, like at end of age scoring. For example, here blue would get 8 + 6 + 3 points, or 17 points total. You don’t get the bonus for being the highest again. For this monument, you choose one of the god tracks and score 3 points for each space above the starting space your marker is. For example, here I’m 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 spaces up on this track, for 15 points. On this track I’m 1, 2, 3, 4 spaces up.