The point of the game is to deliver fun, right? However, an immersive theme can be a great source of fun, and what could have a stronger atmosphere than the ancient Maya culture?
Ahau includes several authentic elements from the ancient Maya culture and history.
- The game board features a map showing the territory of the classical Maya civilization with several historical buildings and artifacts.
- The deities which can be invoked for bonus actions were carefully selected to represent the Maya pantheon, including Kukulkán, the feathered serpent, the god of peaceful trade among nations, and Kinich Ahau, the sun god who represented the divine nature of the king.
- The regions show resources (corn, salt, water, cocoa, obsidian) that characterized the trade 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.
- Even the progress of the game is depicted by an ancient Maya calendar with Maya numerals.
- Finally, the whole game was designed to imitate the struggles of rival city-states who sometimes trade peacefully, or sometimes go to war.