Ahau: Rulers of Yucatán by Apeiron Games

Created by Apeiron Games

Ahau: Rulers of Yucatán is an innovative Euro-Ameri hybrid board game for 1 to 5 players, combining classic elements of worker placement and resource management, simple combat, and an innovative new system for dual-engine building. Experience the challenges of leadership deep in the jungles of the ancient Yucatán Peninsula. Build and secure your legacy as a Maya ruler by expanding your lands, acquiring resources, and making the proper offerings to the ancient gods. Will your pyramid temple tell the tale of a great ruler? 👑

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Art Complete, Ahau at Origins & Gencon, and Ahau Junior update
about 1 month ago – Thu, Jun 02, 2022 at 04:17:10 AM

Future Rulers, 


As we are heading into the summer, we have a couple of exciting updates to share on how the project is progressing. 


1.  Art Is Complete

All art assets for the game (including both the base game and expansion) are complete. Feast your eyes upon the new building illustrations made by Dávid Szabó!

Ahau - new building illustrations

Each and every piece of art has been double-checked by our team of cultural consultants, including David S. Anderson, Josh Schnell, and Walter Paz Joj. That means that the illustrations you can see in the game truthfully represent both the magnificence and reality of the Classic Period of the Maya, and very little was left to the imagination. 

The graphic design team will complete the circle by putting all the art in its proper places, and we'll import everything into Tabletop Simulator, so you can play the game with the gorgeous new art. Not only that, but we'll get a few more prototypes printed for blind playtesting and demoing at various conventions. This leads us to our next point...


2.  Try Ahau at Origins or Gencon

You heard that right, Ahau will be demoed at the biggest board gaming conventions within the US, courtesy of Marc Specter from Grand Gamers Guild and his GMs. 

- Origins Games Fair will happen in Ohio between 8-12 June.

- Gencon will go down between 4-7 August. 

We'll post more details about the location once they are revealed to us. 


3. Playtesting and Fine-Tuning

... is ongoing with various groups and individuals, and this will continue over the summer. Things are shaping up nicely, and we are putting on the finishing touches. In case you would like to get involved in this process and be credited in the rulebook for your efforts, please apply here

The rulebook has been handed off to Chris Spath from the UK for final editing. Chris worked on, among others, the revised rulebook of Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, Tokyo Metro, Mini Express, and Railroad Revolution. This work will be finished over the course of next week, and we'll update the pdf rulebook soon after that. You can view the text-only rulebook here and make your comments directly there or message us privately if you'd like. 

The first playtest of Ahau Junior went phenomenally well, with 2 kids aged 8 (boy) and 9 (girl). Both really liked the game, and could easily understand the rules. 

Ahau Junior test ongoing

A summary of the main differences vs the main game:

- No role cards, no building tiles, no discarding to boost god summoning, and some minor changes to god powers.

- The personal scoring variant is used and the god scoring tiles are assigned to specific gods harmonising with their power, rather than randomly distributing them.

- Bonus wild tiles giving 5 Fame when built-in are placed into regions instead of the building tiles and claimed similarly.

Otherwise, the game has the same ruleset!

We consider using the "Junior" version as a tutorial mode for people learning the game. 



4. Next Stretch Goal

Since the Backerkit store opened a few weeks ago, we surpassed 100,000 $ in sales! If we keep up this rate, we'll be able to unlock our next stretch goal, so stay tuned. 



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Do you have any questions about our progress? Let us know in the comments below. 

The Pledge Manager Is Opening!
2 months ago – Thu, Apr 28, 2022 at 04:13:27 AM

SMOKE TEST FOR PLEDGE MANAGER

Good news, future rulers. Our pledge manager for Ahau has been approved by Backerkit, and we just sent out a message to 5% of our backers to perform a so-called smoke test. If you got this message, we would greatly appreciate any feedback you have on the experience. Once the smoke test is over and we are sure that there are no issues, we will open the pledge manager to everyone! If you do not receive a message by Monday, please reach out to us via DM.


THE ROAD AHEAD

Graphic Design & Illustration

After taking a much-needed rest, testing and development of the game are now continuing with our full effort.

Regarding the new illustrations, next on our list are: 

  • New weapon illustrations,
  • New building illustrations
  • Retouching of the remaining Maya glyphs
  • Creating the new god head and pyramid
  • All the remaining expansion drawings (buildings and role cards), etc.

The graphic design to-do list is similarly hefty, starting with improving the iconography, creating the icons for the Eclipse cards, the new god scoring tiles, the new building tiles, etc. 

Now that we have finalized these lists, the art team is off to the races!


Gameplay Development

We have already made some substantive changes, for example:

  • You will be able to summon only one colour for each god, which will balance the gods quite a bit, and make going for a specific colour even more interesting and fun, 
  • The colour restriction meant we have to strengthen the Sun God a bit, for which we came up with new systems and experimenting with them.  
  • The Jaguar God will be renamed the God of Trade (as mentioned in our earlier updates) and will let you move workers, and for each worker moved will let you swap resources, which can be very useful. 
  • Some of the building tile powers have been revamped for gameplay purposes. 

We will be updating the TTS mod once the tests confirm these changes. Here is a screenshot of a recent test where the beige player won by a single point - a proof that nerfing the gods and creating fewer victory points will lead to even tighter gameplay. 

A recent virtual tabletop test of Ahau - April 2022

Just for fun, here is a throwback virtual tabletop image from a test that happened more than a year ago, where there was even a sideboard named "The Jungle Path":

A much earlier version of virtual tabletop Ahau - from February 2021

CUSTOM SHAPED RESOURCES - CONTINUED

Let's vote on the two remaining custom-shaped resources: obsidian and limestone. 

Let us know in the comments below which one you prefer. 



Limestone - custom shapes
Obsidian - custom shapes

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LEGACY OF THRACKS - A GAME OF TRULY EPIC SIZE

Finally, let us recommend you a very cool game that is reaching its final hours on Kickstarter: Legacy of Thracks! This game is an asymmetric competitive strategy game for 1-4 players with special semi-coop elements, a mix of Ameri sandbox adventure and clever Euro resource management. It comes with a complete background story of all the characters. 

Balázs Svéda, the designer and self-publisher has been relentlessly building this game for over 7 years, and the game is not only a true epic, a love letter to the genre, but also very unique. Real passion. 

Also, all stretch goals have been unlocked.  The solo mode was designed by David Turczi. You have only 9 days to unlock the magical barriers and enter the legendary city Dimara. Or control the Shadow and prevent others from reaching Dimara. Last chance to get your copy!

The Road Ahead + New Eclipse Teaser
3 months ago – Sun, Mar 27, 2022 at 09:24:28 PM

Future Rulers, 

Many thanks again for your support during the campaign, and for making this a reality. With over 1500 backers from 47 different countries, including 40 retailers, Ahau is off to a really good start! This will give us the resources to ensure we can deliver the best possible game to you. 

We'd like to give you a brief status update on the project. In the coming weeks, we plan to: 

- Open your Pledge Manager on Backerkit

- Work out the final details with our selected shipping and manufacturing partners. 

- Continue testing and fine-tuning the game, with special regard to the expansion and new game modes (Ahau Junior and the Ahau Shadow Player Variant)

- Finalise the rulebook and the booklet so that the translations of the language editions can be finalised or made from scratch. 

- Finish updating the last of our art assets


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Speaking of art assets, the last batch of Eclipse cards have been finished by Gergő Kovács in collaboration with Dávid Szabó, our main illustrator.  Join us for their grand debut!

One card in the middle is called the "Volcano Eruption'. Sound familiar? This card was suggested in the comments on one of our previous updates. Just a sign that we walk our talk and are happy to involve backers in our creation process.  

The illustration of the card at the bottom is named "The Might of Teotihuacan", which pays homage to this great culture that was not only the rival of the Maya civilization in its time but also had a great influence on it. So, here is a bit of background historical information!

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THE MIGHT OF TEOTIHUACAN

In 378 CE, strangers arrived at the great Maya kingdom of Tikal and took control of the city. That very same day, the current king of Tikal was executed and a year later the foreign regime established a new dynastic line by installing a new ruler who shared their bloodline. Later monuments describing and depicting the tumultuous event would show the foreigners and Tikal’s new king in the characteristic regalia of warriors from the mighty city of Teotihuacan, located far to the west in Central Mexico.

The host from Teotihuacan was led by a man called Siyaj K’ahk’ (Fire is Born) by the Maya, who was a subordinate noble to the then-ruler of Teotihuacan known only as Spearthrower Owl. Tikal’s current ruler, Chak Tok Ich’aak I, was killed on that fateful day and in 379 CE, Yax Nuun Ahiin I was installed as the city’s ruler. It is widely believed that Yax Nuun Ahiin was the son of Spearthrower Owl, Teotihuacan’s ruler. Over the next two centuries, Tikal’s fortunes would be intertwined with Teotihuacan’s, declining around the mid-sixth century alongside the decline of Teotihuacan and the rise of the Kaan kingdom at Dzibanche, later moved to Calakmul. However, these events marked a cultural shift in the Maya region with a diffusion of Teotihuacano art style, architectural forms, and military equipment throughout the southern Maya lowlands, centered at Tikal.

Can you guess what this card will do?

The Surprises Continue!! Custom K'atun Markers + 5 Extra Pyramid Tiles For Our Race To The Finish Line
4 months ago – Sat, Mar 19, 2022 at 12:58:44 AM

Fellow gamers, fans, supporters, dear friends,


We are on a roll! Just two days ago, we unlocked all deluxe stretch goals. Yesterday, we added screen-printed player markers to the mix. Since then, our funding has reached new heights, so here is another small gift to you, dear backers, because you are awesome, because you suggested them, and because we wanted to make the campaign finish something memorable and special. Thanks to your support, Ahau will now contain:

- A Custom K'atun Marker

- 5 Special Pyramid Tiles Added to the Expansion 

We are so honored to have such an engaged and clever community. Thank you for truly contributing to Ahau's development with your never-ending and always inspiring ideas. 

CUSTOM K'ATUN MARKER

A K’atun was a unit of time for the ancient Maya, representing approximately 20 years. K’atun was also used to track the age of rulers and the time passed during their rulership. At the end of a K’atun, the rulers held celebrations for the whole city, and sometimes even constructed new and magnificent pyramid complexes to make this occasion even more special. In the game of Ahau, all the common temples and city majorities are scored after the passing of a K'atun called a K'atun Celebration. After this scoring event, the K'atun marker is advanced on the calendar. 

Ahau: Rulers of Yucatán - The Calendar (without the K'atun marker)

Currently, the K'atun marker is a wooden cylinder-shaped object, similar to the player markers. Now, we plan to upgrade it to a custom object that would resemble a stela. Tell us in the comments, which stela would you like this object to be shaped after? 


5 SPECIAL PYRAMID TILES ADDED TO THE ECLIPSE EXPANSION

We will also add another set of 5 special pyramid tiles to the Eclipse expansion, and with this, the expansion will have altogether 15 special tiles for even more variety and puzzling options. These 5 tiles will introduce a 'joker' god when built-in and count as any of the adjacent gods when used for summoning. 



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Here is a reminder of everything we unlocked together so far to make Ahau simply awe-inspiring - thanks to your support. 💪🤜🤛



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CLOSING PARTY

Finally, I'd like to mention that we'll hold a celebration party Zoom call today at 3:30 PM EST (7:30 PM GMT). 

Join the Zoom Meeting here: 

https://us05web.zoom.us/j/85066272733?pwd=bW1MWjFYbFJTY2pYb3JIbFRMMGFBZz09

Meeting ID: 850 6627 2733

Passcode: W81YL2

Our special guests will be David Anderson who helped a lot with the cultural consultation for the game, and Brittani-Pearl MacFadden who helped with the marketing. We'll talk about everything related to the game itself, the subject matter of the game, the ancient Maya, and you can ask us anything! 

An Incredible Start To Our Finish + One More Surprise Unlock!
4 months ago – Thu, Mar 17, 2022 at 10:08:19 PM

Fellow gamers, fans, supporters, dear friends,


As slow as the mid-campaign was, we are seeing an incredible resurgence in the last two days. We recently unlocked all stretch goals, but in return for this great finish, here is a small gift as a surprise: screen-printed player markers! These markers will now feature the ruler glyphs sketched by Walter Paz Joj, one of our key cultural consultants and a modern-day Maya Scribe, and retouched by our main artist, Dávid Szabó. Remember that each glyph tells the story of a legendary ruler and the city he or she governed. This will ensure the feeling of leaving your mark on history and your name on the common temples, as a great Maya ruler - crush your enemies, see them driven before you. 

I would like personally thank each and every one of you who have supported our project so far, even with a dollar. I value your contribution and will strive to deliver the best game in terms of gameplay and visuals as humanly possible. To those who made the community pledge of one dollar or more, please know that I especially value your contribution. That is why I decided to give back something in return: 

1. The recently unlocked booklet describing the historical and cultural background of Ahau will be made available to all backers in digital form, including those who made the community pledge. 

2. We will also make available to all backers high-resolution desktop backgrounds on some of the Eclipse cards for your viewing pleasure whenever you open your laptop or computer. 

Here is a teaser of what you will get made from the Eclipse card titled 'Ritual', featuring the High Priestess performing a ritual in a moonlit cave:

Ahau: Rulers of Yucatán - 'Ritual' Eclipse card (illustration by Gergő Kovács)

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We are at 1,300 backers, almost 5,900 project followers and a 75K funding level. When I started more than 2 years ago, I would have never imagined going this far. To celebrate this moment, here are some throwback photos of how the game evolved: 

The first photo is from the time when Covid hit in, and I didn't know any virtual tabletop software back then, so just used an overhead camera and Sykpe to test the game with a fellow designer:  

The earliest days!

This was the early rough sketch of the board a long time, when the game was still titled 'Kukulkán'. Yes, we went through a few iterations on the name. As you can see here, I always knew that Ahau was destined to be lush, colorful, and lively. 

Ahau prototype 2020 summer

 With our direction decided, this was the next stage. As you can see, the zones have been modified through extensive playtesting, and only go up to 6 now. 

Ahau prototype from 2021 spring

Just for comparison, here is what the game looks like today: 

Ahau: Rulers of Yucatán in all its Kickstarter phase glory

We’ve come a long way. All thanks to a dedicated team, including developers, testers, artists, fans, friends, volunteers, and many more who helped me so far to make this a reality. So huge thanks to you and let’s continue our journey together until this game is published!