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:

AHAU Has Been Completely DELUXIFIED! Big News & 6 Surprise Unlocks 🔓
4 months ago – Wed, Mar 16, 2022 at 08:55:34 PM

Future Rulers, 


With only 3 days left from the campaign, it is time to take things to the next level! We have taken all of your feedback to heart, and we appreciate your dedication to helping us make Ahau the best game it can be. With that in mind, we've decided to try something a little unconventional...


Drumroll, please...


We have officially unlocked all of the following upgrades!

  • Custom Shaped Workers
  • Custom Shaped Resources
  •  Component Upgrade -details below!
  • Dual-Layered Player Boards
  • Extra Building Tiles
  •  An Immersive Booklet - on the rich history and culture you're about to explore

We wanted to save these stretch goals for higher funding levels, but by unlocking them earlier, we hope to get there by attracting even more backers to our already populous Ahau camp. 


Custom Shaped Workers

The workers in the game are used either for harvesting resources or building structures. For the custom-shaped worker, we selected a shape that resembles a worker using a tumpline to carry a load, as a great nod to Native American tradition.  Here you can see a detail of a mural from the Chiik Nahb complex at Calakmul, showing a traveling vendor with bundle and hat, as a bearer carrying a large pot using a tumpline over his forehead. 

Scene of a bearer carrying a large pot using a tumpline over his forehead. Copyright: Ramón Carrasco Vargas

And here is our sketch for the tumpline worker to be used in the game:

We would also like to add a cut line from the load to the forehead to make it even more immersive and thematic. Tell us in the comments which option do you like the most for the custom worker: A, B, or C?


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Custom Shaped Resources

All of the resource cubes will be replaced with custom-shaped wooden pieces, with the exception of the obsidian which would be made of polystyrene to ensure its unusual edgy form. If you read on, this update contains interesting background information on each of the resources represented in the game: limestone, corn, cacao, water and obsidian. 

Here is the sketch for the custom-shaped corn - tell us in the comments which option do you like the most: A, B, C or D.


Better Quality Components

We will upgrade the quality of the following components:

- Cards: upgrading 300gsm whitecore cardstock to blackcore with full-bleed and linen finish

- Rulebook (and now booklet) upgrading the paper material from 115 g/m2 to 135 g/m2

Budget allowing, we will also aim to upgrade the box material to thicker cardboard. 


Dual-Layered Player Boards

We will upgrade the single-layered player boards to dual-layered boards with proper slots, thereby ensuring that your pyramid and building tiles will not be knocked over when your cat jumps on the table!


Extra Building Tiles

We will include 5 more building tiles for the 4-player and 5-player game, making sure that the building tile will not run out before the game end. The extra building tiles will be copies of some of the existing buildings, marked with a 4/5-player symbol. 


Booklet

We will include a 8-page long almanac on the cultural and historical background of the game, written and/or double-checked by our team of archaeological and cultural consultants. You may have already seen relevant background information in our previous updates. 

Ahau is a homage to the breathtaking ancient Maya history and culture. While developing the game, we aimed to represent as many important features of this ancient culture as possible. This booklet is made for avid players, who would like to know more about the historical and cultural background of these game features.


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RESOURCES

Limestone quarry - excerpt from illustration by Dávid Szabó

LIMESTONE 

Limestone - or burnt lime - was one of the essential resources that occurred in the ancient Mayas daily lives. It was used for various purposes, like creating portable items (for example, manos, metates, bifaces, and other tools), but researchers primarily focus on its vital role in construction.

This resource was relatively abundant in the Maya lowlands, especially around Palenque and Tikal. Although cities like Quiriguá and Copan instead used sandstone and volcanic tuff for their buildings, the locations that did not produce their limestone often had to be transported from other cities. The blocks they needed could only be cut with tools made of stone. The burnt limestone material was used as plaster, but sometimes it was also used as mortar instead of the simple mud.

Burnt lime was used to construct pyramid temples, altars, and ceremonial platforms, giving this otherwise abundant resource a highly valued reputation.

“Construction material in the form of limestone occurred almost everywhere; since it only hardens after prolonged exposure to the air, it was easily quarried and worked with their stone-age technology.”

Coe, Michael D.; Houston, Stephen. The Maya (Ancient Peoples and Places) (p. 32). Thames and Hudson Ltd. Kindle Edition.

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OBSIDIAN

Obsidian source - excerpt from illustration by Dávid Szabó

Obsidian, this naturally formed volcanic glass, played an essential role in almost every Pre-Columbian culture and Mesoamerica society. It was a particularly valuable resource that was traded all over the Maya region. Almost all obsidian found at Maya sites come from four sources located in the Guatemalan highlands, two of the most important being the El Chayal and Ixtepeque sources.

Similar to steel in modern society, obsidian was an essential element of trade. It was used for hunting, in tools to prepare food, but agricultural assets and tools for daily activities were also often made of obsidian.

Aside from its great variety in practical use, obsidian had its spiritual aspect. Objects that had great spiritual importance like significant carvings, tomb lids, sacrificial knives were almost always made from obsidian as it was considered the “blood of the Earth.”

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CACAO

Cacao - exceprt from illustration by Dávid Szabó

Ever thought of how precious and valuable a bar of chocolate would have been in the Maya Golden Age? Back in those days, cacao was more than a mood-enhancing dessert as we know it today - new studies reveal that chocolate was no less than a currency.

Numerous paintings and carvings depict scenes where chocolate and cacao beans are being offered to mighty Maya kings and leaders. Given that they collected and offered much more than what the king could actually consume, it indicates that it was more than an edible gift - it could actually serve as tax and could be used to buy things at the market.

Before cacao beans became an alternative to money, they were also generally loved and consumed by the Maya. Its most popular form was a steamed, hot drink often combined with chili peppers, water, or even honey. It was not only available for the wealthier half of the society - hot chocolate was a widely-known and loved item in almost every household.

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CORN

Terraced corn farming - excerpt from illustration by Dávid Szabó

The traditional Maya cornfields - originally called Milpas - sustained the ancient Maya for thousands of years, which is exceptionally impressive considering the relatively large number of people living in a Maya city-state.

In order to build a proper Milpa, part of the nearby forest had to be cleared usually by burning the chosen area. Alongside corn, you could also find bean vines and squash plants, which provided shadow and kept the soil moist enough to be fertile, but also served as a nutritious part of the traditional Maya cuisine. Despite the Maya being hardworking farmers whose methods could be compared to the ancient Egyptians, Milpas was usually productive for only a few years before soil fertility began to decline. The Maya did not have the assets to protect the field from insects and diseases. Still, corn was a popular food, consumed on a daily basis, usually in the form of porridge, or they even made it into tortillas.

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WATER

Cenote - excerpt from illustration by Dávid Szabó

Although water is probably the most precious and essential resource to  all humanity, the ancient Maya had to make some extra steps to possess clarified, consumable drinking water due to its scarcity in the region. Major Maya cities in the Northern Lowlands needed access to adequate water supplies, and therefore were built around natural wells, or cenotes.

One of largest water catchment and filtration systems (used for collecting rainwater) that we know of can be found in the ancient city of Tikal. The materials needed for this system had to be collected and transferred several miles away from Tikal. The highly sophisticated system was built on quartz and zeolite, a compound of silicon and aluminum, which is known for removing pollutants and even harmful microbes.

New Art Print Unlocked, Custom Shaped Workers Next & The Big Yucatán Peninsula Update!
4 months ago – Thu, Mar 10, 2022 at 04:29:23 PM

Future Rulers, 

We have just unlocked an art print depicting the beautifully illustrated Yucatán peninsula from our game board, cleared of any game-related overlays and lines! Remember, the art prints are Kickstarter-exclusive, and can be accessed by selecting the K'uhul Ahau pledge. 

Next up, we'll seek to unlock custom shaped workers to make the game even more immersive and unique! The workers will be inspired by emblematic worker figures depicted in the Classic Period. Do you have an idea for how the worker could look like? Let us know in the comments. 


This milestone gives us the perfect opportunity to talk about the game board in depth. It's a longer read, so please know that we have covered all essential campaign info at this point. The rest of this update is purely edutainment!


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CREATING THE AHAU GAME BOARD 

Here is the beautiful game board in its current state, showing the side for 4-5 players. It has been illustrated by Aurél Lázár and Dávid Szabó. The photos in this update were shot by Endre Birta (unless indicated otherwise). The other side of the game board is for 2-3 players and has only 5 regions instead of 6, and the calendar (on the upper left corner of the map) is also different in that it fills up earlier. 

Ahau game board - illustrated by Aurél Lázár and Dávid Szabó

LAYOUT OF THE MAP

As you can see here, the game board is made up of both regions and cities. There are five or six regions on the board, depending on the player count, and the regions are separated by roads, which the Classic Maya knew as sakbih (sacbe in Yucatec Maya). There are ten cities which are represented by the city tiles, placed during setup. Two cities match each of the five gods. Cities straddle two or three regions and are considered adjacent to those regions. Cities are considered adjacent to other cities when connected by a road (solid white line) or water route (dotted white line).

The big challenge of designing the map was how many cities and regions to include to make them tight and that work well with the cards. Originally, the board was made up of giant hexagons placed next to each other (a bit of Catan style) representing the regions and we placed the cities simply at the intersections. In that version of the game each region represented a resource site where that particular type of resource (cacao, obsidian, corn, etc.) could be harvested. There were no cards with which to select/defend regions, so you just moved your ruler to an empty, adjacent region. Later as the game developed, we added the cards, and the resource sites were moved to the routes (water routes or roads) between the cities and this allowed us to put everything in an A2-sized board without needing those giant hexagons. This also allowed us to make sure that we can find the most significant Maya cities of the Classic Period, and then pinpoint each such city to its exact geographical location. This was not an easy task to do as we also had to make sure that there is enough space on the board for everything else: production sites, routes between city tiles, space for the rulers, pyramid tiles, region bonus building tiles, the war track, the calendar, and the building market.  

Game board overlayed with Google Maps to show the exact location of each city represented in the game

ROADS (SACBE)

The raised roads of the Maya, known as a sakbih or sacbe, were extremely important for travel and trade within and between kingdoms. The name literally means white (sak) + path, road, or causeway (bih). Although height and width varied across the Maya region, most were constructed similarly. They consisted of two “walls” made of large stones that line the edges of the road and the space between these edges was filled with smaller cobbles. 

The Merchant role card featuring the sacbe in Ahau - photo by Sons of Thunder

The smaller stones got smaller and smaller towards the surface of the road which consisted of fine gravel. Finally, the surface was covered with a material known as sascab (powdered limestone, which gave the roads their characteristic white color) and then packed and rolled smooth with stone rollers. The longest known Maya road connected the cities of Coba and Yaxuna in the eastern northern lowlands. These roadways were multifunctional, serving to connect cities or even sections within cities, to mark boundaries, to collect and manage water, and to facilitate religious processions as well. Insofar as they connected cities, the Maya roads also aided trade and the transport of goods. It should be remembered, though, that the Maya did not utilize wheels or pack animals, so all goods were transported via human labor!


REGIONS - A CONCEPT UNKNOWN TO THE MAYA

One of the biggest issues that confused both the Spanish Conquistadors and the Maya at the time of contact was the European focus on land.  The Maya cities obviously relied on surrounding farming plots, but there were no firm dividing lines between territories.  When the Spanish would ask the Maya to define their territories the response was often in vague terms, and then the Maya would often change those vague boundaries in ways that frustrated the Spanish. That is one of the reasons why you cannot really “control” regions of the map in the sense of how area control games play out, but rather you can occupy these regions with your ruler temporarily, i.e. only for one round. Each region gives you access to 4-6 cities, and each city is adjacent to production sites for harvesting resources.

You can still control cities by having the most representatives or workers in that city, which will give you Fame during each K’atun Celebration (signifying the end of one of three eras in the game).


Moving your ruler to a region in Ahau

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CITIES - WHY WERE CERTAIN CITIES CHOSEN AND OTHERS NOT? 


We made an effort to balance choosing cities that were major players during the Classic period while also keeping cities that most people would know of or expect to see in a game about the Maya. This means, however, that some cities that were not very large at all (or even existed!) during the Classic period are found in the game, namely Chichen Itza and Tulum.

Chichen Itza existed as a small settlement but only really took off in the 10th century, so right after the end of the Classic period. It is, however, the most widely known and recognizable Maya archaeological site followed closely by Tikal. There is another site near Chichen Itza called Ek’ Balam that was an important city during the Classic period but is much less known than Chichen.


Ahau: Rulers of Yucatán - the game set up for 5 players

Similarly, Tulum was an important coastal trading port on the east coast of Yucatán during the Late Postclassic (1200+ CE). However, many people know of Tulum, especially if they have ever traveled to Mexico as many popular resorts are found in this area (the “Riviera Maya”, as it is known today). It was chosen to stay in the game for this reason and to represent the great coastal trade capabilities of the Classic Maya. 

The only other city on the board for which accommodations were made is Lamanai, located in modern-day Belize. Lamanai certainly existed during the Classic period, but it was never a particularly large city or overly involved in macro-regional politics. Just to the southwest, though, at the modern border between Belize and Guatemala was a city called Caracol that was a very important center during the Classic period. However, this would have made the board region around Tikal much too crowded so Caracol was scrapped in favor of Lamanai in the name of graphic design. All of the other cities in the game, Tikal, Calakmul, Quirigua, Yaxchilan, Palenque, Jaina, and Uxmal had significant Classic-period occupations.

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Chichen Itza:

Chichen Itza, built in the Terminal Classic period, was one of the largest cities of the Maya. Even today, it remains the most visited archaeological site and the most popular tourist attraction in Mexico.

Chichen Itza was a significant center of political activities and trading. Due to its multicultural aspect, one of the most exciting features of the city is its great variety of architectural styles. Several significant structures are still standing today, including the Great Ball Court, the North Temple, The Steam Bath, and the Temple of Warriors. But undoubtedly, one of the most eye-catching buildings of the ancient city is the El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulkan. 

Chichen Itza and the Kukulcan temple on the Ahau game board

Dedicated to the deity Kukulkan, the Feathered Serpent itself, El Castillo is one of the tallest Maya pyramids that we know of. On each side of this temple, a staircase leads up to a square structure. One of the staircases has 91 steps, while the other has 92, which adds up to exactly 365, a significant number in the Maya calendar and astrology.

A local legend says that at certain times of the year, Kukulkan, the Feathered Serpent visits its pyramid temple and presents its worshippers by providing excellent health and a bountiful harvest before returning to the Underworld.

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Uxmal

 Uxmal is located in the Puuc Hills region of the Yucatán Peninsula, and the city is considered one of the most significant representatives of Puuc architecture. Relatively standard features of this design are the smooth and low walls, trapezoidal shapes, and columns. The tallest and maybe most memorable piece of architectural tradition at Uxmal is known as the Pyramid of the Magician.

Uxmal and the Pyramid of the Magician on the Ahau game board

Several local legends tell the story of this temple of great importance and all from a different approach. In one of these stories, Itzamna built the pyramid overnight with the help of his might and magical powers.

According to another tale, there was a childless woman who gave life to a small, baby-like creature by protecting and nursing an egg. She happily raised it as her own, and although the creature never grew taller than a dwarf, she encouraged him to become a great king. When the son was strong enough, he went to the House of the Governor and challenged the king to test their power. A long series of tests, challenges, and trials followed, in which the dwarf always succeeded. The king, enraged, ordered that the dwarf must raise the tallest building in the whole city. Otherwise, the king would have him executed. This is how the Pyramid of the Magician is said to be built - overnight, by the hands of the dwarf and with the help of the witch.

Aside from the Pyramid of the Magician, some of Uxmal’s other famous structures include the House of the Governors and the Nunnery Quadrangle, each with its own elaborate sculptural facades.

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Tulum:

 Tulum is one of the famous walled cities of the pre-Columbian era and probably the one with the most breathtaking views as well, built on a bluff that faces the rising sun every morning. The walls were effective ways to defend the city from outside threats and attacks. Tulum’s wall served as an especially strong defense, as the city survived several decades after the Spanish invasion started.


Region 2 card featuring Tulum and maritime trade (illustration by Dávid Szabó)

The architecture of Tulum is typical of the Postclassic period in the Maya region, with significant influence from Central Mexico. Its three most significant buildings are the Temple of Frescoes, the Temple of the Descending God, and El Castillo - a similar but much smaller building than the temple in Chichen Itza.

The Temple of the Frescoes had a significant social and religious importance. The two-story building is filled with mural paintings that, in style, are a combination of Postclassic Maya codices and Mixtec manuscripts from Central Mexico. The murals depict both male and female deities, sacred snake symbols, and scenes where a part of the harvest is offered to the gods as a gift. Flowers, fruits, and most importantly, corn were a fitting present to offer to the Maya deities. In the building, you can find stuccoed masks which are most likely to represent Itzamna, the mighty god of creation in Maya mythology. But the most curious and stunning detail of the Temple of Frescoes is undoubtedly the second floor, a tiny sanctuary covered in crimson coloured handprints.

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Palenque:

Palenque is a medium-sized city located in the western lowlands of the Maya region and played an important role in the region’s politics alongside cities like Yaxchilan, Bonampak, Tonina, and Piedras Negras. Although Palenque does not reach the size of other famous Maya cities like Tikal or even Chichen Itza, it is definitely the home of several figures of great historical importance - like it’s not one, but two female rulers as well as K’inich Janaab Pakal, perhaps the most famous Maya king of all.

Palenque and the Temple of Inscriptions in Ahau

Also known as Pakal the Great, he was born into quite violent times in Palenque - early in his childhood, the city was besieged by forces from the Kaan dynasty (from Calakmul), an opposing Maya state. Pakal became an ahau by the age of twelve and ruled until he died at the age of eighty. During these years, one of the longest recorded reigns in the Maya region, he expanded the power of Palenque and made art and architecture flourish.

The Temple of Inscriptions, Pakal’s funerary pyramid, offers valuable knowledge about the Maya thanks to the extensive hieroglyphic texts found on the temple’s wall panels. The tomb of Pakal was also found in this pyramid in the 1950’s by the famous Mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier. The art on the lid of his massive stone sarcophagus depicts Pakal lying  on top of the “earth monster.” Above him, there is the Celestial Bird, on the top of the Cosmic Tree, holding a Serpent in its branches. The artwork represents the ruler existing between two worlds, the heavens and the underworld. Palenque is also well known for its large palace with its multi-storied “tower”, located right in the middle of the central plaza, a relatively unusual placement compared to other large Maya cities. Near the place, upon a small hill, sits a group of three small temples known as the Cross Group or the Palenque Triad. These temples, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Cross, and the Temple of the Foliated Cross, were built by Pakal’s son and contain some of the finest examples of Classic Maya stone carving. Their elaborately carved panels and texts have contributed greatly to our understanding of Maya politics and mythology and their relation to one another.

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Yaxchilan:

 Yopaat B'alam I founded the first royal dynasty of Yaxchilan and became its first k’uhul ajaw when Yaxchilian was still a relatively small settlement on the banks of the Usumacinta River, along the trade route to Palenque and Tikal. Eventually, Yaxchilan grew to be a particularly powerful Maya city-state, though it was characterized by a centuries-long conflict with its downriver rival, Piedras Negras. Even today, the site is known for its temples, grand staircases, and impressive carvings.

Yaxchilán and Structure 33 on the Ahau game board

The site of Yaxhcilan today contains impressive ruins, with palaces and temples bordering a large plaza upon a terrace above the Usumacinta River. The city was divided into three major groups of buildings: the West, the Center, and the South Acropolis. Maybe the most striking part of the city is the enormous sculpture of a headless human figure located in the Center Acropolis among its many individual structures. It most likely depicts Bird Jaguar IV, since the structure was dedicated to him.

Yaxchilan is well known for its extensive sculptural tradition, producing some of the greatest and widely known examples of Maya stone carving (on par with the works at Palenque mentioned already). Many of these were stone lintels, which were located above the doorways into certain structures, and three of the most famous ones (Lintels 24, 25, and 26) were located in the doorways to Structure 23, an elite residence built by Izamnaaj Bahlam III and dedicated to his primary wife, Lady Xook.

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Calakmul

Calakmul, alongside Tikal, was one of the largest political and military superpowers of the Classic period. The names of the great Kaan (snake) dynasty rulers, who ruled from Calakmul, are found in the inscriptions of sites all across the Maya lowlands. This is because, for much of the Classic period, the Kaan dynasty engaged in an aggressive campaign of establishing tributary relationships and vassal states through diplomacy and political marriages. This allowed Calakmul to wage war against its rival, Tikal, much closer to home through alliances with nearby cities such as Dos Pilas, Naranajo, El Perú-Waka’, and La Corona. The Kaan dynasty did not originate at Calakmul, though, it was first established at another site known as Dzibanche and the seat of power was later moved to Calakmul. One of the greatest kings of Calakmul, Yuknoom Ch’een II (Yuknoom the Great), was the “puppet-master”  behind many of these alliances, as his name is found on monuments in many of Calakmul’s allied cities.

Calakmul and Structure 2 in Ahau

 Yuknoom the Great successfully leveraged a split in the Tikal dynastic line, which saw Nuun Ujol Chahk lead Tikal, while his competitor and brother, Balaj Chan K’awiil, established a splinter dynasty at Dos Pilas, with both claiming the k’uhul mut ajaw title, the “Holy Lord of Mutal.” Yuknoom’s forces conquered Dos Pilas, bringing Balaj Chan K’awiil under Calakmul’s authority as a client king, and several years later, a Dos Pilas-Calakmul alliance successfully defeated Tikal in a star war in 657 CE.

Structure 2 is the largest and most visible structure at Calakmul. It is a massive pyramid, begun in the Preclassic and added to throughout the Classic, that measures some 55m tall and 140x140m at its base, making it one of the largest ancient structures in all of Mesoamerica.It is similar in size and form to another massive pyramid (that also dates to the Last Preclassic) at another site known as El Mirador. The tomb of Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’, Yuknoom Ch’een II’s son, was found in Structure 2.

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Tikal

Tikal was one of the most important cities in the Classic Period (ca. 200 to 900 AD), dominating much of the Maya region through its political, economic, and military power. For much of its history, it was in conflict with the other major regional superpower, Calakmul. The conflict between these two kingdoms and their ever-shifting alliances characterized much of the Classic period in the southern lowlands.

Tikal was one of the biggest cities of the time, peaking around 90,000-100,000 inhabitants in the urban core, with a much larger suburban settlement. Its architecture included temples that tower over 70 meters high and large royal palaces in addition to a number of smaller pyramids, palaces, residences, administrative buildings, platforms, and inscribed stone monuments.

Selecting region 3 inspired by the Great Jaguar Temple in Tikal - Ahau

Similar to Palenque, the city of Tikal has its fair share of widely-known and respected rulers who made their names known throughout the region through conquest and building large pyramid complexes. We know of several different dynastic lines at Tikal from different periods in its history, together accounting for more than thirty known rulers.  The tombs of several of these rulers have been discovered as well, which is exceptional.

One of the most famous rulers of Tikal was Chak Tok Ich’aak I, also known as Great Paw or Great Jaguar Paw (an early nickname given to him by archaeologists prior to the decipherment of his name, which in fact has nothing to do with jaguars!), who ruled the kingdom during the Early Classic up until the arrival of Siyaj K’ahk’ and the Teotihucanoes who had him executed in 378 AD, starting a new dynastic line. Other major rulers included Yax Nuun Ahiin, the son of a Teotihuacan lord known as Spearthrower Owl who was installed as Tikal’s new ruler after Chak Tok Ich’aak I’s execution as well as Jasaw Chan K’awiil, who defeated Calakmul and orchestrated Tikal’s rise to power once again after a significant loss to Calakmul by his father.  

The famous Temple I (also known as the Temple of the Great Jaguar) and Temple IV, still rising above the jungle canopy in Tikal situated at the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, were the sources of inspiration for the signature building of Tikal on the game board, the illustration of region 3 on the respective region card, and the 3D pyramid temples (designed based on the proportions of these temples). 


The 3D pyramid temples in Ahau were inspired by Temple I and Temple IV in Tikal

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JAINA

 Jaina Island is an archeological site where only a narrow channel separates the mainland and the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Being surrounded by the ocean and several mangroves, this small island was artificially built by the ancient Maya. It was also heavily involved in trade and commerce and many luxury goods have been found by archaeologists on the island. Some believe that it may have been the Western counterpart to Cozumel island on the east coast, both islands marking where the sun rises and sets.

Today, Jaina is mostly known and admired for its richness in Maya ceramic figurines. Jaina is also known for the very large quantity of burials found on the island, in much greater concentration than even the largest Maya sites on the mainland. This has led some to suggest that Jaina served as a sort of “necropolis” for cities on the mainland. Nonetheless, Jaina was an important and heavily used  burial site and several pieces of art that were connected to burial ceremonies were found here; pieces that helped tremendously to imagine how contemporary Maya art would have looked. These “Jaina Figurines,” as they are known today, can be found at many Maya sites beyond the island of Jaina itself. They are famous for their vibrant colors (and use of the “Maya blue” pigment) and their depiction of everyday life, from warriors in full attire, to merchants with their wares, to courtly courtesans, and mothers and their children. They are also similar to a separate and distinct figurine tradition centered at a site called Comalcalco.

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Many thanks for the write-up on cities to David S. Anderson and Josh Schnell, our archaeological consultants. 

If you read this far, you deserve a break, perhaps a hot cacao drink would be fitting? ☕

Expansion Solo Game and French Edition Unlocked + Chance to Win Promo Cards
4 months ago – Tue, Mar 08, 2022 at 07:46:33 PM

Dear Future Rulers,

We have some excellent news to start the week. The project now officially reached the 60,000 USD goal, which means we are 200% funded!!! To celebrate, we will be ensuring that the solo mode for Ahau, designed and developed by David Digby, will be fully compatible with our Eclipse expansion. Prepare yourselves to face King Pakal! 

Component-wise, this means adding 6 new personality cards to Eclipse, each one matching a role card chosen for King Pakal and his preferred gods to summon. Combined with the 6 personality cards of the solo game, this means that you will have access to 12 distinct personalities for the AI. When you add in the three difficulty levels and the fully randomized setup, it means that you'll be facing a fresh challenge with this opponent for many k'atuns to come!  

Additionally, each and every Eclipse card (depicting a characteristic event of the Classic Period of the Maya civilization as showcased in our previous update) will also apply to King Pakal as well. 

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We are also happy to announce that the French language edition of Ahau has also been unlocked, so you will be able to read the rules in French too. Greetings to all of our French-speaking backers worldwide, thank you for your support!

Merci pour votre soutien ! Amusez-vous bien avec le jeu!

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Our next stretch goal will be adding a stunning art print depicting the magnificent art of the game board showing the Yucatán peninsula, illustrated by Aurél Lázár and Dávid Szabó. We are planning a dedicated update later this week to share the process that went into making this game board, both from the game design and historical perspectives. Do you have any questions you would like to see us cover then?

Ahau: Rulers of Yucatán - game board for 4-5 players - art by Aurél Lázár and Dávid Szabó

CONTEST ALERT!

Can you name all buildings and monuments depicted on the game board? Our first backer to do so by commenting here will receive a set of promo cards (comprising the region cards and promo cards, as seen below). 

Ahau Junior Unlocked! + Social Stretch Goals
4 months ago – Sat, Mar 05, 2022 at 05:11:11 PM

The draft ruleset of Ahau Junior has received 50 thumbs up on BoardGameGeek, and has therefore been unlocked! 🐯 This is great news for gaming families and those wanting to teach an easier, introductory version of Ahau to family and friends. Together with the previously unlocked Shadow Player Variant, these additional game modes will give you even more variety and replayability and will be fine-tuned and tested to ensure they are fit for the intended audiences. More importantly, the rules of these additional game modes will be included in the official rulebook. Our goal is to add even more value to the game, and deliver maximum fun to our backers.

Let's take a closer look at our other Social Stretch Goals, because we are not that far from unlocking them too for even more gaming goodness! 

DIGITAL SOUNDTRACK

If we receive a combined number of 500 fans and subscribers on BoardGameGeek (BGG), we pledge to give you an immersive digital soundtrack to listen to while playing the game. 🎶 This album - similarly to our campaign video music - will feature Maya instruments from the Classic Period (or the digital versions thereof) and will be checked by our team of consultants for authenticity. 

What do you need to do to help us unlock this? First of all, you need to be registered on BGG. If you are not yet registered, click on this link to join the site

If you are registered and logged in, visit the BGG page of Ahau. Next, click on the heart symbol to become a fan of the game, and hit the "Subscribe" button also to get notified of game updates, as seen here: 

Currently, we have 280 fans & subscribers combined, so only 220 to go! 

ROLE CARD ART PRINTS

Finally, if we reach 2,000 followers on our Facebook and Instagram platforms combined, we will offer - as an add-on - an extra set of art prints featuring the gorgeous role card illustrations. These art prints - together with the art prints on the regions of the Yucatán peninsula - are exclusive to Kickstarter, so you will not be able to get them anywhere else. 

Do you want these art prints on your walls? Then hit "Like" on our Facebook page, and "Follow" on our Instagram page!

https://www.facebook.com/apeironvision
https://www.instagram.com/apeirongames/

Have a wonderful weekend, and we'll be back on Monday to hopefully deliver even more good news on Stretch Goals! 

Two Extra God Scoring Tiles and Shadow Player Variant Unlocked + The Great Eclipse Preview
4 months ago – Sat, Mar 05, 2022 at 02:31:58 AM

Greetings, Future Rulers!


We have some excellent news to end the week. It seems that we are really on a roll, as we have unlocked not one, but TWO Stretch Goals sure to enhance your Ahau experience! 


NEW GAMEPLAY MODES

The Shadow Player Variant has been unlocked, as the draft ruleset has received 50 thumbs up on its BGG thread. This means that we will develop this new gameplay mode and add it to the core rulebook included in your pledge! Whether you're gathering as a group of 2, 3, or 4 players, this variant can help up the ante by making the map a bit tighter and increasing the chances of conflicts. This mode will be a great choice for anyone who prefers even more player interaction and gives you an alternative use for the personality cards designed by David Digby for solo play. 

Additionally, we are only 12 thumbs away from unlocking Ahau Junior, a simplified gameplay mode for ages 9 and up. Cast your vote for it here!

NEW SCORING TILES FOR EVEN MORE VARIETY AND REPLAYABILITY

We have also unlocked two extra god scoring tiles, which will add even more variety for scoring the common temples! The current game has 5 god scoring tiles,  and the scoring system offered by them was praised by reviewers for their originality. Now, with 7 instead of 5, the already fully randomized setup will give even more replay value, and the ancient Maya gods will award you for even more different facets of the game. We already settled on the two extra god scoring tiles, but if you have any ideas for what else could be scored in the game, do let us know in the comments section!


Our next Stretch Goal will ensure that the Eclipse expansion is fully playable in the solo mode too! Component-wise, this would mean adding 6 new personality cards to the expansion showing the god preferences of King Pakal (the solo opponent) for each of the 6 extra role cards featured in our expansion. 

Seeing our growing community from France and Canada and their overwhelming support for the game, we decided to also include the French language edition with our next Stretch Goal.  



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THE GREAT ECLIPSE PREVIEW

Although we shared a sneak peek into the first Ahau expansion in our 2nd update, let us summarize all of the extra gameplay content you will receive by pledging for it. (The expansion is available either as an add-on to your base pledge or by pledging for "K'uhul Ahau", our all-in level which also includes the art prints): 

  •  12 Eclipse cards: each Eclipse card raises the stakes even higher, giving you more challenges and quests, changing the dynamic of each of the game, forcing players to improvise with cunning and observation. The gorgeous illustrations will help you immerse yourself in the dramatic events that shaped the course of history in the Classic Period of the Maya! More scoring, resource conversion, summoning, and strategic gameplay opportunities in each round. Protect your Dominion, face the Might of Teotihuacan, and perform a Ritual for the gods to ensure your kingdom does not turn into Desolation, but rather into Fertile Lands and Flourishing Cities!
     
Eclipse Cards Preview

  •  Build Monumental Structures showing the true power of the ancient Maya civilization! Try to get all the resources needed to make your name immortal! Raise enormous strongholds, including the Great Temple, the Great Plaza to outshine your rivals' capitals. Build Barracks to dominate your opponents in combat, or visit the Observatory to read the powerful signs of the stars helping you foresee the future.

  •  Gain access to even more leaders with completely new and unique abilities to bolster your claim to Fame and help you ascend to the Jaguar Throne! Let the Weaver, Farmer, Astronomer, Ambassador, Ballgame Player or Scribe join your court to increase your royal power and dominate your opponents, and open ways to even new and fearsome combos! 

  •  Grab and use extra pyramid tiles giving you even more options, puzzles, and dilemmas for building your pyramid temple, and creating even more competition for regions holding these treasures.
     

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Which historical or cataclysmic event would you like to see added to the Eclipse expansion? Think big! Share your thoughts in the comments below!