Founders of Teotihuacan is the latest game from publisher Board&Dice, a publisher known for their focus on historical events and civilizations. Teotihuacan: City of Gods was published in 2018, centered around the pre-Columbian civilization. This medium-weight game gave players lots of options for scoring and building the Pyramid of the Sun.
While I enjoyed this first release, Founders of Teotihuacan feels like an excellent fit for our family. This tile-laying city builder is very accessible for new players and the mechanics are perfect to get our teenage kids to the table.
Building Blocks of Civilization
Founders of Teotihuacan will be 3 or 4 rounds based on the player count. Each player is given a number of action tokens which you use on your turn. During the clean up at the end of each round, a single token is taken from each player, decreasing the number of actions you get. Planning in the front-end of the game when you have the most action tokens can be critical for the rounds that follow.
Unlike many tile-laying games, the goal is not to fill every space on their board. Ideally you’re building this balanced ecosystem of resource producing buildings and temples that will score based on how you build the pyramid in the center of your board.
Players assign there action tokens each round to 3 different sections of a central board. Players can take a build action or an influence action. The height of the stack of action disks will determine the strength of what you can do on your turn. For example, if you need to build a size 3 building, the “strength” level where you place your disk must be 3 or more. That means there are at least 3 disks (bonus disk included) on that space. Players can place more than one disk on a space, knowing that they will get less actions in that round. The first player to assign a disk to a space will get a bonus that can be super helpful.
Grey, brown and gold buildings produce stone, wood and gold. Temple buildings come in 3 colors that are all associated with the pyramid that’s being built in the center of the individual player boards. Resource buildings are necessary but have no end game value. Temple buildings don’t produce resources but are used for end game scoring.
Becoming a Master Architect
Each player has an architect meeple that will travel around the outside of their player board. This architect will dictate which spaces the player can build in. This keeps players from building in a single area of the board and works well to diversify your board. It can be frustrating when you’re ready to build something but your architect is not in the right place. This traveling architect is a really nice touch.
Over our half dozen plays of Founders of Teotihuacan, players who ignore the building of their pyramid are usually at a big disadvantage. These end game points are important. Pyramid’s allow you to multiply the color coordinated temples that share the same section of the board. Careful planning will lead to lots of points.
Player boards also contain 3 different mask colors in various shapes around the city. Covering these masks with buildings and temples will award the mask with the highest point value available at the time. Getting these early can give you a nice boost but they become less valuable as the game goes on.
One of my biggest concerns with the game was how the rounds would play out. Players begin the game with a specific number of action tokens. At the end of each round, a single token is taken away from each player. My concern was that the game would be front loaded with lots of actions and then players would feel incredibly limited in the final round.
Thankfully that’s not the case at all. Founders of Teotihuacan has a really nice pace to it. By the middle of the game players have hopefully focused on a strategy. That last round is all about getting the points needed to beat your opponents or solidify your pyramid build. It doesn’t feel constrictive and there’s still plenty to do with just 2 turns. Scoring worship tiles toward the end can lead to plenty of points as you meet the criteria on each tile. I’ve been very impressed with how the game flows from round to round.
An Entry Point to Teotihuacan
Founders of Teotihuacan is an excellent entry point into the civilization focused games that Board&Dice publish. It’s tile-laying which is a mechanic that most newer gamers have played before. Founders is complex without loading players up with too many rules. Actions are really straight forward and teaching it takes less than 10 minutes.
There are lots of games that I really enjoy that I’ll probably never own. Since we’re the family that is always teaching others how to play games, some of the heavier games in our collection tend to gather dust. I love that Founders of Teotihuacan is a game that we could teach to another couple or family but it still has some meat on its bones.
This is a game that is definitely going to make it to the table on game night or on the weekend when we have another couple over for dinner. Founders plays excellent at 2-players which is another reason why this one will hit the table often.
No matter what the player count, you’ll notice there’s not a ton of player interaction. Every player board is their own unique city that’s being built. Player interaction comes in the form of drafting a tile that another person was eyeing or taking a bonus before another player. If you’re not a fan of a more siloed game experience, this may not be a great fit for you.
Founders of Teotihuacan is a big hit for us. I’m impressed with the flow of the game and the difficulty level is just right for us to introduce to friends and family.
Founders of Teotihuacan is available to purchase through the Board&Dice webstore or at your local game store starting in April.
- Resources can be tight or plentiful depending on how you play
- The architect requires players to think about the entire board
- Worship tiles can lead to big points
- Flow of the game works really well
- No organization (and very few bags) in the game box
- Not a lot of player interaction