There’s a Reason Archaeologists Have to Go to School for This: Still stumbling in Tikal

I’ve been thinking about this game ever since my very recent first play (A Flashback to the Most Difficult Climb of My Life: Tackling Tikal), and today decided it was time to go back for more. So I got out the bug spray and the hiking boots, and we were off.

Round 1 of Tikal may always kill me. I don’t know what my problem is. I only got three turns this time before the first volcano popped up, and I was not even remotely prepared. Even though this happened to me last time, so it shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise, I’d been bopping along, thinking about an 8-turn plan, and then here we are, and I’m scoring 6 measly points for the first round. SIX POINTS. This has to stop. (I’m red in this game.)

I went into Round 2, my jaw set with determination. This would never happen to me again. I embarked upon two branches, which worked out well last time as a way of hedging my bets, in case things got particularly great or terrible in one of the two directions. Things were going along beautifully on the eastern branch. I had this secluded little path that was hard to get to, and I just knew I would be able to uncover those temples in solitude and score them for my very own. Friends, when you see the image below, please, believe me, I really am an intelligent woman. Really.

So there went my brilliant solitary eastern run. I did manage to get the one temple completely uncovered (to level 10) and guarded in that area, so I didn’t lose it completely, but the loss of dignity was considerable.

After that, I played mostly a treasure game. I got lucky enough to have single workers in two spots where I was able to place treasure piles that were hard to get to for any other workers (including my own, alas). Every turn, they’d uncover one, but it was okay to take my time, because the investment of actions for my husband to get someone there was too great for him to undertake it. I worked this scheme for the rest of the game. I also stole treasure from him twice, which is something neither of us did in the first game we played.

In the final round, I scored 30 treasure points, to my husband’s 14. All of mine were in sets of 2 and 3. I was greedy enough to be a little disappointed by this, because I wanted to steal the treasure from him to complete my sets. That’s how it went, though.

I find that a big tactical error we’re both making is that we’re using our camp sites too soon. That having been said, we saw how brilliantly he used the one to end my little eastern branch of solitude, so there isn’t a tactical error there. In general, though, we’re using them too close together and too close to the opening base camp, and then as we get out to the northeastern reaches of the board, neither of us has any camps. I have a feeling that the one of us who learns not to do that first is going to have a big advantage.

So the question I wrote down in my notebook at the end of the game, and for which I don’t have a clear answer is this: Why did I lose this game? I dominated on the treasures, so it’s not that. Obviously, it’s that I didn’t have as many temples (He had 9, I had 6.), but why? Where did I go wrong in getting temples? I would say that I spent too much energy on the treasure, except for the most part, I was devoting just a little energy at a time to those treasure troves in remote corners. I wasn’t giving 6 points per turn to treasure on a regular basis. This is something that bears more thought. Clearly, we need to play again soon, so I can continue to analyze my strategy. In the meantime, I’m just going to sit here for a minute and bask in the air conditioning.

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About Suzanna

Suzanna's passions are gaming, dogs, and writing. She also loves reading, travel, and cranberry juice. Above all else, she would have it be said that she is compassionate, funny, and too clever by half.
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