Tiwanaku is a game that takes players on a journey through the uncharted territories of the Andes, where they explore new lands and cultivate crops in harmony with the principles of Pachamama. This game is rooted in the rich cultural heritage of the pre-Columbian tribes of the Andes, who revered Pachamama, also known as Mother Earth, as the basis of all life.
1-4 players, ages 14+
Playing time: 30-60 minutes
Designer: Olivier Grégoire
Artwork: Raphaël Samakh
Publisher: Sit Down!
🍃 The game starts by selecting a scenario disc and inserting it into the Pachamama wheel. This disc determines where the terrain and crop types are located on the game board, which is hidden information that the players need to uncover over the course of the game.
Each player has Quechuas that they use to move on the terrain tracks, discovering new terrain types and scoring points. The game follows Pachamama’s principles of diversity and complementarity, meaning players must discover different terrain types to score more points. Regions cannot be larger than five tiles and cannot touch the same landscape even diagonally. Players can anticipate what terrain type they could discover but must consult Pachamama to confirm their findings and score points.
🧑🌾 Instead of exploring, players can also take a Divine action, where they must guess which crop grows on the tiles they are standing on. They predict the crop out loud and check the wheel to see if they are correct, scoring one to five points, depending on the crop type. If they are wrong, they deduct one to five points. Crops of the same type cannot touch each other orthogonally or diagonally, and the region can only contain one crop of each kind. This challenge makes the game more interesting as players must deduce which crop is planted on what tile.
🌿 To end their turn, players can offer sets of different crops in exchange for points. The game ends when players have discovered all terrain tiles, and they can divine and offer one last time before the final scoring is determined.
🧩 Tiwanaku is a competitive deduction game, and its principle is based on sudoku or tectonic puzzles, where players can find one of each crop type in every region. The game’s rules are easy to understand, making it simple to explain and play. Although the box recommends an age of 14+, older elementary school children can also easily play the game. However, players must be careful not to make mistakes while discovering and placing crops, as scoring minus points can be painful.
🏞️ The game’s bright artwork and functional Pachamama wheel give it an extra cache, making it visually appealing. The wheel also serves as a guide for the terrain and crop types throughout the game. Moreover, players can build upon tiles others have discovered or use the results of their divine actions, increasing player interaction.
🍃 Tiwanaku offers a wide range of ways for players to score points. Almost every action players take, such as revealing terrain tiles, guessing the correct crop, or offering sets of crops, can help them earn points. However, guessing the wrong crop can be extremely sore, as it not only results in a loss of points but also gives helpful information to opponents.
💭 The game’s feel is reminiscent of the classic Minesweeper, as players need to use their deduction skills to avoid making mistakes. The game comes with 30 scenario discs, which provide a good variety for players to explore. Additionally, the game can be played cooperatively or solo, adding to its versatility.
In conclusion, Tiwanaku is a competitive deduction game with a unique twist on traditional puzzle games. The game’s simple rules, bright artwork, functional Pachamama wheel, and player interaction make it engaging and visually appealing. With its various ways to score points, players must be strategic and use their deduction skills to avoid making mistakes. While the 30 scenario discs may not provide endless replayability, they seem more than sufficient for a game of this caliber. Tiwanaku can be played cooperatively or solo, making it an ideal game for both groups and individuals. Overall, we think Tiwanaku is a game worth trying for anyone who enjoys playing a good deduction game once in a while!