Initial Thoughts on the 'T' Games

Moderator Level 1

Time and life have recently taken their toll on my gaming. Moving dates and injuries among my like-aged peers are currently hindering gatherings.  For the past 3-5 weeks its been either soloing games myself or playing with Becky when she has time (and energy).

Over those weeks I have had the chance to play each of the 'T' games mentioned now and again which include #Ticket to Ride, #Terraforming Mars, and #Tapestry....I am of course kidding.  The official 'T' games I believe to be are #Teotihuacan: City of Gods, #Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire, #Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun, and #Tabannusi: Builders of Ur.  Some might include #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar or #Trismegistus: The Ultimate Formula as being in this family of games but for the purposes of this writing I am only dwelling on the first four.

#Teotihuacan: City of Gods - is the one most familiar to me as I have owned it the longest and played it quite a few times on Board Game Arena.  I would say I am 'ok' at this game as I generally end with a fairly middling score against experienced players.  Of the four, this one has the easiest to manage solo AI (though they all have significant AI overhead) with Tabannusi being fairly close and some might argue it is slightly easier.  Teotihuacan still remains my favorite among the four and I can only see #Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun offering some competition with this.  I like the simple rondel of Teotihuacan and I don't think it takes too terribly long to teach and learn.  I feel like Teotihuacan thematically works a little better though all of these games are abstract in nature with the theme being somewhat pasted on.  I think the unique challenge I like with Teo is the puzzle of balancing resource with action selection.  While there are plenty of other games employing similar mechanics, I find Teo to be especially pleasing on it's rondel.

#Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun was my second favorite of the four.  It has quite a few interlocking mechanisms to manage throughout play and teaching this for the first time will be a bear.  AP could be an issue as there are often quite a few choices from one turn to the next and with 7 primary actions to choose from and further options to choose from after making a primary action...well...if you have an AP prone player...good luck. The first thing that hit me with Tekhenu was the limited turn structure.  Players get 16 turns and all game options have to be managed within that window.  The other three games have some variability built in, but Tek makes players focus their strategy with a tighter window of opportunity. The board is very nicely designed with a Vitale Lacerda feel to it. The choices are crunchy and tough to make and card and tile variability should keep games intersting (I only played one four-hand game thus far).  The solo seems much more manageable than Tawantinsuyu and I feel like there is far less overhead, but still more than the average solo game.  

#Tabannusi: Builders of Ur is quite good in its own right and it very well could be my second choice down the road after multiple plays.  Becky played this one and enjoyed it and that is saying something.  I picked up on the solo AI fairly quickly and it might arguably be the comparable to Teo but I would not say by much.  The interaction of dice selection and action management feels reasonably unique and it too offers quite a few crunchy choices.  I think this one might have the easiest teach among the four games.  Of the 'T's, Tabannusi seems to have a smaller option of choices after determining which action one will take.  That and there only being four actions to choose from make it a little easy to grasp and dive into.

#Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire is one I'd say the jury is out on.  I liked it.  I want to play it again.  But, man, I think it is easily the game that lends itself to the highest level of AP! There are just so many options to choose from every turn that it feels like a sandbox game without being a sandbox game.  If the goal for this game was to create an abstract game experience that felt like a sandbox game, David Turczi nailed it.  Picking what action you want to take barely scraps the surface of this game!  You have to decide which worker you want, you have to decide whether to take a primary or a secondary action, you have to pay attention to what other players are doing...

I can't say I didn't enjoy Tawantinsuyu, it just didn't come off a pleasing as the others and it should be factored in that I was playing alone.  I think a series of multiplayer games would help flesh out the challenges and whether or not its a game I want to play more.

#Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar may not be considered a 'T' game by some due to it being the oldest among these and lacking some of the finesse though it is well loved and the gear-wheels are a neat mechanic.  It is simialar enough to the others and being from one of the same two game authors (the other being David Tascini) I would argue it is more of a 'T' game than not. I still own it and will likely pull it out to play now and again but I believe I will find the others better overall.  I am hoping to have a 'T' game week this summer and host one of these games each night of the week.  We will see if I pull that off.

#Trismegistus: The Ultimate Formula is the last game I'd even consider as a 'T' game.  It's quite a bit different than the others such that its more of a distance cousin than an actual 'T' game.  But still, there are tracks and it starts with a T.

1. What are your thoughts on these games and how many out there have played all four?

2. If you've played all four, what is your favorite and why?

3. If you had to take a guess, what do you think the next 'T' game will be?

Victory PointFire LikeLike| 16 comments | report | subscribe

Please log in or make an account to post a comment.

Moderator Level 110 days ago

Here's a question for Roland as the "official" alphabetical review thread author; when you get to T, do we include "The" in the title games, or exclude/ignore "The"

12 days ago

Great read, though I have one minor quibble with including Tawantinsuyu on the T-game list. In my opinion (and I may well be wrong), one of the requirements for a game to be considered a T-game is that Daniel Tascini is one of the designers. I believe David Turczi is behind Tawantinsuyu.

Teotihuacan is an excellent game, possibly my favorite solo game. I've played the base game numerous times, all solo. It's been on my table for the past two weeks as I've been on a marathon solo session with it, slowly introducing modules from the Late Preclassic Period expansion.

I used to own Tekhenu, but traded it away. I played it a few times and it's a good game, but it didn't run quite as smoothly in solo as does Teo.

Moderator Level 112 days ago

I am not sure if there is "official" criteria.  The Tascini requirement would make #Trismegistus: The Ultimate Formula and #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar more firmly in the 'T' game category but with David Turczi being involved directly or via design of the solo mode I figured it would be fair to include his 'T' game.

It would be interested to see this completely nerdy subplot in the boardgaming community debated more fully.  My most influential thought is that if both designers were in the room together, what they agree on the grouping of T games.  I think they would both agree that #Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire should be included.  But I have not had a beer with either game suthor and I feel your point is certainly a valid one to consider.

Moderator Level 110 days ago

I think the "official" criteria is probably that the name is difficult if not impossibe to pronounce or spell without looking at it

Moderator Level 112 days ago

Links to the 'T' games I've made videos of thus far.  I play to do another Teotihuacan video at some point (after #Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun

#Teotihuacan: City of Gods:

#Tabannusi: Builders of Ur:

#Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire:


Moderator Level 113 days ago

I own and really like #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar , I also have the expansion for it. I haven't tried the others as they have never appealed to me when I have watched videos about them. Probably because I realize my Wife would not like them at all.

Premium User13 days ago

I'm a big fan of the T games although I've slacked off on the newer ones since Tawantinsuyu.

I actually ended up selling Tawantinsuyu.  It is different from the other T games but I felt it was the weakest of them and wasn't going to get a ton of play.

Generally I agree with your ordering.  Teotihuacan first, Tekehenu second followed by Tzolkin a definte third.  I haven't played Tabannusi yet.

To your questions:

1) I haven't played all 4.  Missing Tabannusi.  

2) My favourite is Teotihuacan and I own all of the expansions for it to boot.  Tekhenu is second and Tzolkin is third.  I'm considering selling Tzolkin at some point.  The gear thing is neat but after playing a few games on BGA I realize it's not as great for me as I thought it might be.

3) I don't have a guess so I'll steal 's guess and say Tutankhamun too. :)

Moderator Level 112 days ago

I haven't gotten to the expansions for Teo yet. I debate back and forth how much I need them. What are your thoughts on the game with all the expansions added in?

Premium User12 days ago

I haven't had a chance to play with all the expansions added in.  Honestly, I don't know if I would.  I think it would hit a terraforming mars issue where putting in all the expansions just bloats the game and turns it in to something its not.  

Some of the replacement boards are an improvement over the original boards as they take the dice power in to account and make some of the boards more interesting or useful.  The alternative player powers are always neat.

I would say if you love the game you can get all of the expansions but I would never ever play with everything.  It will also make setting the game up harder as you now have a ton of options and a ton of diifferent things to sort through.  Likely you'll play the game and someone will pull a tile that is for an expansion you aren't playing with so you'll have to keep an eye out for that.

So it's a bit of a buyer beware thing. 

Oh, also folded space has an insert that will fit everything in to the base game box.  I highly recommend that if you get everything as it will help with figuring out what is what and gives you space for more games. :)

Moderator Level 112 days ago

Sounds like a dare to get all the expansions and post a solo playthrough video.  I accept!

Premium User12 days ago

Go for it.  I'd watch that! I am pretty sure you would agree with me in the end.


11 days ago

Please do! As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm currently working through the modules in the Late Preclassic expansion (the only thing I haven't tried yet is the Priests/Priestesses module). I have the Expansion Period expansion, but I haven't played anything from it yet.

It would be nice to see a playthrough of EVERYTHING just to see if it would actually be fun, or if it would make it too bloated.

Moderator Level 113 days ago

I haven't played any of these games, unfortunately. I should try the ones that are on BGArena. Next one has to be "Tutankhamun". Just as long and difficult to pronounce, haha

Moderator Level 112 days ago

My votes: in order...

1. Teopantecuanitlan

2. Tenochtitlan

3. Tarumanagara

4. Tlapacoya

5. Tuxtlas

6. Tlatilco

7. Transoxiana

8. Toltec

Moderator Level 113 days ago

I'd put money on that guess!

Linked Games
Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun
Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire
Tabannusi: Builders of Ur
Teotihuacan: City of Gods