Each gear represents a different location where Mayan civilization develops. The gears offer certain actions, and each action has a number.
When you pick up a worker from a gear, you may perform the action indicated by the action space where your worker was standing. Alternatively, you may perform a lower-numbered action by paying 1 corn for each step back. You can also choose to perform no action.
In general, higher-numbered actions are more valuable and your workers advance to more favorable positions with each tick of the Tzolk'in gear.
When performing actions players may gain or lose some materials. When you gain a material, take the indicated piece from the bank and place it in front of you. Some actions have costs.
When you pay a cost, return the indicated pieces to the bank. If you don't pay the cost, you cannot perform the action.
Wood, stone, and gold are called "resources". They are represented by wooden blocks. List of Materials:
indicates a corn.
indicates a wood.
indicates a stone.
indicates a gold.
indicates a resource block. Only wood, stone and gold are resources. Corn and crystal skulls are not.
indicates a crystal skull.
Technologies give benefits that apply every time you perform a certain action. The technology table on the game board has 4 different technology tracks, each with five spaces. When you advance in technology, you choose one of these tracks to advance on.
To advance from the starting space to level 1, you must pay 1 block (of wood, stone, or gold).
To advance from level 1 to level 2, you must pay 2 blocks (which can be the same type of resource or 2 different types).
To advance from level 2 to level 3, you must pay 3 blocks. Level 3 is as high as you can go, but you can still use a technology advancement action to gain a one-time bonus:
When you "advance" from level 3, you must pay 1 block. You immediately receive the indicated bonus. Your marker remains on the level 3 space, and this option remains open to you every time you use a technology advancement action.
Buildings & Monuments
Some actions allow you to construct buildings and monuments. Each building or monument has a cost depicted in the upper left corner. If you want to construct that building or monument, you must pay the exact cost depicted. If you don't have the right resources, you cannot construct it.
When you construct a building or a monument, pay the cost, take the tile from the game board, and put it in front of you.
Example: To construct this building, a player must perform a construction action and pay 1 block of stone and 1 block of gold. All available monuments are visible from the beginning of the game. When a player takes a monument, it is not replaced. Buildings, however, are replenished between players' turns. At the end of your turn, if you constructed any buildings, you should add new buildings to the spaces you emptied.
In the first half of the game, only Age 1 buildings will be available. At the midpoint of the game, all Age 1 buildings remaining on the game board are discarded and Age 2 buildings are dealt to the building row. In the second half of the game, only Age 2 buildings will be available.
Palenque allows you to harvest food or wood from the jungle. Actions 2, 3, 4, and 5 correspond to the Harvest Tiles you put on the board during setup. Action space 2 has only Corn Harvest Tiles, while actions 3, 4, and 5 start with Wood Harvest Tiles on top of Corn Harvest Tiles.
When you use one of these harvest actions, choose one of the four spaces in that group and remove the top Harvest Tile from it. If you removed a Wood Tile, take the amount of wood depicted on the action. If you removed a Corn Tile, take the depicted amount of corn. If all Harvest Tiles in that group have already been taken, then you cannot use the action (unless you have the level 2 agricultural technology that allows you to harvest corn when no Corn Harvest Tile is available).
On actions 3, 4, and 5, you have to go through the wood to get to the corn. The first player to use the action will see only Wood Tiles available. When one player takes a Wood Tile, the Corn Tile is made available to the next player who chooses that action.
You can also get to the corn by burning the forest: Discard the Wood Harvest Tile on top. (Return it to the box). Take the Corn Harvest Tile you uncovered and gain the indicated amount of corn.
Now move down one step on one of the temples because you have angered the gods.
If the action has both Wood and Corn Tiles available, you may choose between them.
Note: Certain monuments may give you points for your Harvest Tiles, so keep them in front of you until the end of the game. (And remember, when you burn a forest, you discard the Wood Tile and keep the Corn Tile).
Fishing. Get 3 corn. (The game has no fish tokens, so you use corn to represent the food you earned from fishing). This action has no tiles, so it cannot be depleted.
Take one Corn Harvest Tile to get 4 corn.
Take one Corn Harvest Tile to get 5 corn, or take one Wood Harvest Tile to get 2 wood.
Take one Corn Harvest Tile to get 7 corn, or take one Wood Harvest Tile to get 3 wood.
Take one Corn Harvest Tile to get 9 corn, or take one Wood Harvest Tile to get 4 wood.
Perform any one action on the Palenque gear. (You do not have to pay extra to use a lower-numbered action).
Example: Red has decided to pick up her workers. She leaves the worker on action space 1 because she wants it to advance to a more valuable action. She picks up the worker on action space 3 to take a Wood Harvest Tile and gain 2 wood. Red wants corn, so she uses the worker on action space 4 to burn the forest and harvest 7 corn. She moves her marker down one step on one of the temples.
Suppose Red wanted to use these same two workers to gain corn without angering the gods. Once the worker on action space 3 has taken the Wood Harvest Tile, a Corn Harvest Tile becomes available.
Red can pay 1 corn to enable the worker on action space 4 to perform action 3 and harvest 5 corn without angering the gods. Because Red pays 1 and gains 5, she ends up with 4 more than she had before. Note, however, that she must pay before she harvests, so she cannot do this unless she already has at least 1 corn.
The mountains of Yaxchilan offer a variety of valuable items: wood from the forest, stone from the quarry, gold from the mine, and crystal skulls hidden below the falls. These items are taken from the bank when you perform the action.
Get 1 wood.
Get 1 stone and 1 corn.
Get 1 gold and 2 corn.
Get 1 crystal skull.
Get 1 gold, 1 stone, and 2 corn.
Perform any one action on the Yaxchilan gear. (You do not have to pay extra to use a lower-numbered action).
As mentioned in the section on Components, there are only 13 crystal skulls in the game. After the 13th skull has been taken, action 4 no longer has any effect. However, wood, stone, gold, and corn are unlimited. If you run out of pieces of a certain type, find a suitable substitute to represent that commodity.
Tikal is the center of architectural and technological development. These actions allow you to construct buildings or advance on a technology track. Developments come at a cost that must be paid for in wood, stone, or gold.
Advance one level in one technology and pay the appropriate number of blocks.
Construct one building and pay the appropriate cost.
Advance 1 or 2 technology levels. (The 2 may be either once on two tracks or twice on one track). Pay the appropriate amount for each advancement.
Construct one or two buildings or one monument and pay the appropriate cost. If you construct two buildings, you can apply your architecture technologies to either the first or the second, but one of them must be built without architecture technologies.
If the first building gives you a new architecture technology, you may apply that effect (and any others) to the second building, as long as you applied no architecture effects to the first one. If the first building gives you a resource, you may use that resource in constructing the second building. If the first building gives you an action, perform that action before constructing the second building.
Climb up 1 step on two different temples. This costs 1 block. Perform any one action on the Tikal gear. (You do not have to pay extra to use a lower-numbered action).
Uxmal is the commercial center. Here a player can make offerings to the gods and engage in various commercial enterprises in the market.
Climb up 1 step on one temple. This costs 3 corn.
Exchange corn and resources as many times as you want. The exchange rate is given by the resource exchange table (beside the bottom technology track).
Take one worker of your color from the bank and put it in front of you. This action has no effect once you have all 6 workers in play.
Construct a building and pay for it with corn. This works almost like construction on the Tikal gear, except that instead of paying with resource blocks, you pay 2 corn per resource required. You must pay entirely in corn. You cannot pay any portion of the cost with resources.
You cannot use this action to construct a monument.
Perform one action on either the Palenque, Yaxchilan, Tikal or Uxmal gear. This costs 1 corn (in addition to any costs of the chosen action). Note that actions on the Chichen Itza gear are not available here. Perform any one action on the Uxmal gear. (You do not have to pay extra to use a lowernumbered action. However, if you choose action 5, you still have to pay the 1 corn specified by that action).
Chichen Itza is a sacred place. Here you may leave your crystal skulls and earn the favor of the gods. Each action has a place for a crystal skull. When you perform an action on this gear, you must place a crystal skull inside the oval corresponding to that action. You cannot perform the action if someone else has placed a skull there already. In other words, each action can only be used once per game.
When you perform the action, place the skull and receive immediate rewards:
a specific number of victory points,
a step up on a specific temple,
and sometimes a resource block of your choice (wood, stone, or gold).
Each action pleases a specific god:
Chaac has the brown temple on the left.
Quetzalcoatl has the yellow temple in the middle.
Kukulcan has the green temple on the right.
Example: Red wants to place a crystal skull in Chichen Itza. She picks up her worker from action space 7. She needs a gold for her other plans, so she pays 1 corn to use action 6. She puts a crystal skull in the oval and receives 8 victory points. She moves her green temple marker up one step and takes 1 resource block of her choice - a gold. Like the other gears, Chichen Itza has an action space (10) that allows you to perform any action on the gear without paying extra corn.
Starting Player Space
The Starting Player Space is between Palenque and Chichen Itza. If it is unoccupied, it is one of the action spaces you may choose when placing your workers. As usual, you pay for the number of workers placed and you pay the cost of each action space chosen. The Starting Player Space has a cost of 0.
When you play here you get several benefits. Three of these benefits come during the Advance the Calendar phase, but the first benefit comes as soon as you finish your turn:
Take Accumulated Corn
In any round in which no one chooses this action, 1 corn is placed on a tooth of the Tzolk'in gear. If you play here, you get all the corn that has accumulated on the teeth. Take the corn as soon as your turn is done. (This means that you cannot use this corn to pay for placing workers this round, but you can use it to feed workers if this round is a Food Day).
The following things happen at the end of the round, during the Advance the Calendar phase:
Take Back Your Worker
You do not wait for a pick up turn to get this worker back. Your worker returns to you automatically at the end of the round.
Note: This is similar to the return of a worker when it is pushed off a gear. These are the only two ways to get a worker back without picking it up.
Move the Starting Player Marker
The Starting Player Marker always changes hands if you choose this action. If you already have the Starting Player Marker, you pass it to the player on your left (which means that you will be the last player until someone chooses this action again). Otherwise, you take the Starting Player Marker and become the starting player until someone chooses this action again. This is the only way the Starting Player Marker can change hands.
Advance the Calendar
Normally the calendar advances 1 day, but you may choose to advance it 2 days instead. This privilege is subject to limitations:
You cannot use this privilege if your board is darker side up. When you use this privilege, you must flip your board over to the darker side to show that you have used it.
(If you reach the top step of a temple, you can flip it back. flip it back, as explained in the next section, under "Temples").
You may not use this privilege to push off a worker that would not normally be pushed off a gear. In other words, you may not use this privilege if there is a worker on action space 6 of one of the four smallest gears or action space 9 of the Chichen Itza gear.
Even if you cannot use the time-speeding privilege, you still get all the other benefits of choosing the Starting Player Space.
It is not possible to use this privilege to avoid Food Days. If the next day on the Tzolk'in gear is a Food Day, you may still advance 2 days, but the new round will be the Food Day that was skipped over.