Meet the Designers: The Tecuanis Team

Here at One Board Family, we like to highlight people in the game industry that are doing new and creative things. This time around, we’ve got some folks who recently wrapped up a Kickstarter campaign with a unique theme. Forget your knights, elves, or your space games… dive into Aztec mythology with NAWALLI!

First off, tell us a little bit about the Tecuanis team. 

The Tecuanis team is a group of friends and artists creating Aztec games, artwork, and more, consisting of Gonzalo Alvarez, Grace Chadwick, and Will Rogers. We started Studio Tecuanis in early 2022 in order to create a shop where I could sell my designs and artwork, and it evolved into something bigger.

How did your game NAWALLI come to be?

I, Gonzalo, have been studying the Aztec culture for the last 5 years for my graphic novel, and would illustrate different critters and items from that time period. I thought it be cool to have some cards of each critter to document everything as I went, but then realized, why not just make it into a game? I’ve made video games in the past, and plenty of prototypes for board games, so all of that came together for the NAWALLI prototype which I showed to the Tecuanis team and they helped make it a reality.

As you say in the campaign, there aren’t a lot of games out there exploring Aztec mythology. Why do you think that is?

Colonization. When the Spanish and Tlaxcaltecs took over Mexico-Tenochtitlan in 1524, now Mexico City, they brought Catholic priests to burn our books, make it illegal to practice our native traditions, and force Spanish across Mexico. However, over 2 million people speak Nahuatl to this day and continue the traditions, and our goal is to keep it alive by sharing it.

You’ve got amazing art, and you’ve got a unique theme. What other elements of your game do you think will attract possible backers?

Thanks! Our balancing and game design. Our goal was to create a card game that is affordable, accessible, and replayable. We put a lot of effort into making it as balanced as possible, and to prevent power creep in future expansions, we made every card conform to the same stat and ability distributions.

Do you have a favorite card from your game, and why?

The Tlaloketl, the Rain-Keeper, because he is one of the cutest spirits of Aztec folklore as well as his abilities in the game. He has Wind and Rain ability, which lets him push Nawals out of his way and follow it when it moves, which gives me a lot of control in the arena. 

Are there any other games on the horizon that we can look forward to?

Not for now. NAWALLI is set to be a project that will last a few years, as we have 16 expansions in mind, 1 for each of the Aztec Teotls, “Gods”, that govern the 20 abilities in our game. However, there’s been a lot of want for a mobile game which could be a possibility in the near future, if we have enough support.

Anything else you want to let us know about?

We are all Magic: the Gathering veterans, and our goal is to create an in-person community across the country with tournaments and events, much like their Friday night events. We have a Discord where people can talk about the game and connect, and our Tecuanis.com site will have plushies, figurines, and more in the future! People can sign up to our newsletter there to get an update when the game becomes available on our site.

While it’s too late to back the game on Kickstarter, you can preorder NAWALLI here.