Remember when i busted out my banjo for that How to Play Tzolk’in video? What fun we had. Now, all we’re left with is a mostly-empty expansion box, containing what my friends describe as pure cardboard stress, with bad audio to boot. Let’s dive deeper and see…

(click to view transcript)

Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and i’m gonna unbox a game for you today called Tzolk’in: Tribes & Prophecies… (Wait a second… why does this audio sound so bad? My microphone was on, right? Oh my God! My microphone wasn’t on! Ugh. That’s the wooooorst. i’m so sorry. i apologize. The overhead mic picked me up. Let’s just go with that. It’s not perfect. i’M not perfect. It’s taken my entire life to admit that to myself!) …which is the first, and – to my knowledge – only expansion so far, to date, for Tzolk’in, which is a cool game with the neat gears on it, and rondel mechanic, where you’re actually… it’s like a worker removal game, i call it, where you’re taking workers off gears after letting them ride around a little bit in order to get perks and benefits and such. If you’d like to see how to play that game, i do have a how to play video, so check that out by clickin’ links wherever they p… WOO! Wherever they pop up! You’d think it was my first day doing this. So this… i’m surprised that the camera’s not picking up dust on this thing, because it’s been sitting on my shelf for SO long! And the reason that i haven’t opened it is because i have a pair of dear friends named Derek and Emily who played Tzolk’in, and they… i think they bought this… and they said that it only makes an already challenging game way harder! They said the only thing it adds is stress and strife and difficulty! And so that, honestly, that got into my brain, and i thought “Ah – you know what? i’ve got enough stress and strife in my life, uh… now.” But maybe i’m feeling a bit more relaxed, and maybe now’s the time to open it. So what does it add? It looks like, potentially, it adds variable player powers, which i always like. Now, i’m not saying that it does. Hold on: i should read to see what it adds. It says “each tribe has unique gifts,” so i’m guessing that, yes, you play a tribe, and you get special perks based on which tribe you play. i always like it when a game adds that. It might be the prophecies that my friends Derek and Emily are complaining about, but let’s crack it open and see what comes inside the box. i recently put up another video in my Board Games 101 series explaining to newbies what an expansion even was. And if you’re confused about that, you can go check out that video. Pretty simple concept, admittedly. But i go over different types of expansions, and i don’t really cover the type of expansion that adds merely stress to a game, so maybe this is in a class on its own. Hmm. Box Fart-O-Meter: Zero. An almost empty box! There’s not much going on with this. What do we get? We have a new bag full of wood. Some orange dowels, short and tall. Grey, yellow, and brown cubes. The rulebook, which we’ll check out in just a second. You know what? We’ll do it now. It’s very thin. It’s a very thin rulebook, and there are… ah – it’s one of these dealies… a lot of expanses do this, where they do, like, a trifold kind of thing? So it’s six pages… minus the cover. Five pages, explaining when all the different stuff does… Uh oh. Calamities! That doesn’t sound good. Bonus points. i like bonus points. And special abilities on tribes. Very cool. And stuff for a fifth player. Oh – that’s what the orange is. That’s what the little orange dowels are. That’s the fifth player… fifth player pieces. Nice! Okay! So inside, we have a number of things to punch out. This looks like it’s a player guide for that fifth player, the orange player. This, i don’t know. i ran into this in another game. i was… i was writing a script for Anachrony. What would you call this shape? Is this a hexagon? Does it have to be symmetrical to be a hexagon? Look: it’s got six sides. One, two, three, four, five, six. But… i don’t know. Is that a…? It’s not trapezoid. i don’t know. My grade four geometry fails me. Let me know in the comments below what that shape is called, because i’d love to be able to… to name it. And shame it! (chuckling) This is… iiii amuse myself. A bunch of arc-y things that look like they might go outside the gears. Let’s quickly check the rulebook to see where they do go. Where do the arc-y things go? i was right! Look: they go outside the gears. Bruhluhluhluh. Or ON the gears. “Quick actions.” There’s a quick action mechanic. That’s what all those are. Look at this! This has got to be the back of something. Yes! It’s the back of thsee crazy… crazy boards. i’m assuming that those tiles that we saw earlier – yes. These are likely the prophecies, i’m guessing, that are gonna go on here, and stuff is gonna happen. Bad stuff, if you listen to Derek and Em. These are the – woo hoo! – the tribes! Very cool! So i’ll pick one, and i’ll read, it but i’m not going to be able to pronounce it correctly at all. “The Yumkaax: when placing workers, you may pay according to this table, not the table on your player board.” Ah, so you get different prices for putting workers on gears. Pretty neat. “The Ixtab: when choosing starting wealth tiles, you keep three and discard only one, then move down one step on the temple of your choice.” Hmm! It’s kind of cool. i wonder if they’re all starting benefits? No – that’s a starting benefit. This isn’t. One more: “The Ah Chuy Kak: On your turn, if you place at least two workers on the gears, you may then pick up a different worker as though you’re chosen to pick on one worker on a pick up turn.” Hwoah! Hmm! All that sounds cool! i don’t know what the complaint is. i’m having the feeling it’s not really the tribes but the prophecies that they really took exception to. Here’s some more building tile that do various different things, presumably related to the… the tribes on the prophecies, and i noticed that in the rulebook, there’s this interesting thing where they’re splitting the gears up into quarters, and… and various interesting things are happening. You’ve got THAT kind of thing going on there. But we won’t know, will we, unless we read the rulebook ourselves, or we already own this game, or we watch Ryan’s upcoming How to Play video for Tzolk’in: Tribes & Prophecies. Do you have this? Did you pick this one up? This was sort of, like, an impulse buy for me. It was that compulsion, where i have to have it if i owned the base game. i’m getting a little bit more fatigued, i think, by expansions, and i’m not buying every single one that comes up for games that i already own, because i’m finding that they’re – like i alluded to in my Board Games 101 video – i’m not always super happy with them. i’m not always able to play them – that’s the biggest thing, is because if the people are playing with haven’t played the base game, we can’t bust out the expansion! Right? unless i want to be really mean and make the game – an already likely complicated game, because i like mid-weight stuff – if i wanna make it more complicated. And it seems a little bit unfair to do that to new players. It just means i never get to play my expansions. And then some of them, as Derek n’ Em were complaining, don’t add fun. They just add strife and struggle to the game, which isn’t always why you’re coming to the game table to play. Hopefully, you should be coming to have fun… and to feel the skulls of your enemies crushed beneath your mighty feet. So let me know if you have this! Tell me in the comments section below. Let me know if you if you like it, or if you find it too punitive, if you would ever play the game without it, or if you think it’s sort of more of a luxury to have, and i’ll put it on my list to make a How to Play video. Or you can tell me live, in person, on the Nights Around a Table Discord server. i’d love to see you on there. Thanks so much for watching this one! [Music] Did you just watch that whole thing? Oh – hey! To 100% this video, click the badge to subscribe, and then click the bell to get notifications when i’ve got new stuff! [Music]

Get Your Own Copy of Tzolk’in: Tribes & Prophecies

Rahdo says he’d never play Tzolk’in without this expansion. Would you? If you don’t own it yet, add the Tribes & Prophecies expansion to your collection using the Amazon link below, and i’ll receive a small commission!