Empires rise and fall; we are all aware of this. Yet, even today, it seems odd how and why the Maya civilization sank so radically and why Mayan people abandoned their beautiful cities.
The factors that may be behind this are the shift of trade routes, warfare, and potentially, overpopulation. The extended drought could also play an essential role in the decline, but it mostly affected the southern lowlands and regions. Cities in the highlands like Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Mayapán were still going strong. In the early 1500s, the Spanish colonization and conquest of the remaining Mayan tribes began.
The last Mayan city, Nojpeten, fell to their troops in 1697, and sadly, the once-mighty cities were forgotten until the 19th century.
We can only guess how history would be different if the Mayans were building a cohesive Empire instead of several smaller city-states. Would it be harder to destroy by the Spanish or anyone else who would try to conquer them? It is impossible to tell.
In Ahau, the board game, you have the chance to change the course of history and establish a strong and cooperative Mayan Empire if you play your cards right. Will you unite the city-states, or will you be forgotten as a ruler who was trampled upon by their rivals? It is all up to you, and soon you will be able to try it out!