Ahau – Rulers of Yucatán

Climb the ladder of power! Start as the ruler of a small city and use your strategic skills to become the most influential ruler over Yucatán!

Manage your resources wisely, build your pyramid temple and invoke the ancient Maya gods to dominate your opponents!

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What is Ahau?

Ahau is a thematic strategy board game combining worker placement, resource management, and engine building mechanisms. At the end of the game, the player with the most Fame wins.

The average playtime is 90-120 minutes, the recommended age is 14 and up. We are planning to release Ahau on Kickstarter in the autumn of 2021!

How is the game played?

The game will consist of multiple Katuns. Each K’atun will consist of rounds, and each round will consist of a Movement Phase and an Action Phase.

During the Movement Phase, each player will secretly choose two cards from their hand, the left-hand indicating the region a player wishes to occupy with their Ruler. If multiple players selected the same region, a conflict is triggered, which will be decided by the value of the right-hands card plus any shields.

Finally, each player will take a pyramid tile from the region occupied by their Ruler. 

The left-hand card will determine which region you will occupy with your ruler. The right-hand card will determine your base military strength for conflicts.

During the Action Phase, each player may place a worker in a city adjacent to that region; summon a god of that city; and produce resources or build pyramid tiles / stele tiles (optional).

At the end of each K’atun, players can gain Fame for the status of their pyramid temple, and the status of the common temples. 

God Powers

You may summon the god matching the city where you placed your worker, and take the bonus action offered by that god as described below. You get as many activations from that god as the number of matching tiles in your pyramid plus any matching tiles you choose to discard from your reserve. Using the god powers can create some crazy combos and will keep all players on their toes. 

The god powers can be summarized as follows:

Jaguar God: move a number of your workers from a city to an adjacent city for each activation. 

Kukulkán, the Feathered Serpent: sacrifice one of your workers to gain three Fame for each activation.

Kinich Ahau, the Sun God: for each activation, take back a card into your hand, or make another player take back or discard a card.

Chaac, the Rain God: for each activation take a matching colour resource from the general supply.

Itzamna, the Warlord: for each activation draw a pyramid tile from the draw pile or from a region.

Role Cards

Gain a role card into your hand upon building in the middle space of the second row of your pyramid. Each role card has a unique special power, further boosting your engine and giving you even more strategic options. 

If you want to know more about the rules, download the rulebook from here!

What is unique and enjoyable in the game?

The god scoring at the end of each K’atun will give Fame (victory points) to the player who summoned that god based on a global performance factor (e.g. number of tiles of the largest pyramid of in the game), i.e. not necessarily based on that player’s own performance. This creates great interaction between the players, and interesting choices as to which gods to summon in order to activate that score.

Building your pyramid temple creates a sense of achievement, creating a puzzle and engine building opportunities at the same time.

Succeeding in Ahau depends only on your strategic skills. You will need to make tough decisions: 

  • Which part of your tableau (engine) do you want to build fast: your pyramid, your steles or advancing on the War Track?
  • Which tiles/deities will you start collecting into your pyramid, and which tile combos will be the most powerful ones to help you win the game? Where will you place those tiles to unlock the various rewards, and to create large colour or symbol groupings that will earn you Fame at the end of the game?
  • When is the best time to either deplete a production site or build with your workers?
  • Will you summon a deity for its bonus effects or choose another deity for gaining Fame?
  • Which role card will you take to harness its unique powers?
  • Which cities do you want to dominate with your workers for end-game scoring?

The game has tremendous replay value. There is no strategy that can work in all situations, you will have to adapt your strategy for each setup and each in-game state which requires advanced skills and thinking

The card system has been described by playtesters as ‘brilliant’ and ‘original’. Selecting cards from your hand is indeed one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game, which prompts you to commit to a region and its nearby cities.

The game immerses itself in the culture and history of the ancient Maya.

  • The game board features a map showing the territory of the classical Mayan civilization with several historical buildings and artifacts.
  • The deities which can be invoked for bonus actions were carefully selected to represent the Mayan pantheon.
  • The resources used in the game (corn, limestone, water, cocoa, obsidian) characterized the economy of the era.
  • The pyramid temple serving as the individual player board and the cover art were inspired by the Temple of the Night Sun, a building featuring a series of masks illuminated by the rays of the sunset.
  • The steles and artifacts in the game were illustrated on the basis of existing historical artifacts, including the Death Mask of Pakal the Great.
  • Finally, the whole game was designed to imitate the struggles of rival city-states who sometimes trade peacefully, or sometimes go to war.
  • Mayanist David S. Anderson, professor of anthropology and archaeology, instructor at the Radford University in Virginia, U.S., agreed to provide valuable insight on several aspects of the game. Follow David S. Anderson on social media for both wholesome and educational content: https://twitter.com/DSAArchaeology

How many times has the game been tested?

Ahau is a labour of love that has been in development for almost two years and has seen many iterations to find its current form. From its first early prototypes, we focused our efforts on getting a playable version of the game on the table, playing it and listening to the feedback of playtesters, then making the changes necessary to create a better version of the game that is deeper, more fun and enjoyable. The game test count is around 80. The game has been extensively playtested and developed jointly by the author and Kicktester, a professional playtesting group, as well as fellow board game designers from the UK, including David Digby.

We are a small indie publisher comprising a group of a talented individuals, who have a passion for board games.  The game is planned to be self-published on Kickstarter under the brand name Apeiron Games. There are other games in development by Apeiron Games that are also planned to be released through crowdfunding.

What do I get if I subscribe?

SUBSCRIBE to our email list to access the following benefits:

  • the rulebook
  • a bonus short comic
  •  a chance to win a free prototype of the game
  • exclusive offers and updates are available only to our backers!