Tikal is a 1999 German board game
by Michael Kiesling
and Wolfgang Kramer
, manufactured by Ravensburger
, and published in the US by Rio Grande
games. It supports two to four players, and usually finishes within two to three hours.
Tikal is a game of exploration. Each player plays a team of explorers, discovering and excavating the Guatemalan ruins. Each turn, a player is given a set of ten action points to spend on activities such as moving explorers, digging pyramids, digging for treasure, etc. Before each players turn, a new terrain tile is randomly drawn, which that player gets to place somewhere on the map. So the map of Tikal is randomly generated each game, with each player trying to lay things out in a way beneficial to themselves.
Periodically, but at random intervals, scoring rounds occur, and each player receives points based on things such as having treasures, or sets of treasures, having the most explorers on a pyramid, etc. When the last terrain tile has been placed on the map, the game is over, and the person who has acquired the most points is crowned the winner.
This game is fairly simple, and pretty fast paced. New players tend to try to plot out their turns several moves in advance, but after a few games quickly realise this is largely unimportant and even impossible in this game, as so much can change in just a turn or two. The production values are tremendous, as with most Rio Grande games these days, and the gameplay mechanic of having ten action points (which is never enough to do what you want to do) gives the game a very enjoyable frantic feeling.