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iOS Game Review – Tikal

2012 November 28

Game: Tikal

Designer: Wolfgang Kramer

Developer: Condito Development/Sage Board Games

Number of players: 4

Play Modes: Pass’n Play and Game Center online

Requirements: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 and later.

Regular Price: $3.99/universal


What’s the game about?

From the developer…

Explore the untamed jungles of Guatemala at Tikal: the most important and largest of all Mayan sites. Send your expedition members out from base camp to discover buried treasure and uncover over-grown temples. But stay alert, as both treasures and temples can change hands as you compete with other expeditions! Each turn, you place a new tile representing an area of the jungle you have just mapped, then spend action points to explore. When a volcano tile is revealed, each player has one extra chance to improve their position, then points are awarded. Plan your moves and stake your claims wisely, and your expedition will take it’s place in the history books!

With stunning HD graphics and trademark attention to detail and theme, this latest offering from developer and publisher Sage Board Games makes it simple and entertaining to play a quick game of Tikal with your friends or by yourself — no matter where you are!

Combining deep strategy with an intuitive and beautiful visual presentation, Tikal draws you into the unknown secrets of the jungle and will bring you back for more, time and time again. Choose your favourite of 6 Mayan totems as your avatar, and then discover the true power of this ancient civilization as you compete against them in solo play. Once you’ve mastered the game, with the help of optional hints and the comprehensive rules and game guide, connect with other players online for turn-based multiplayer fun!

With no setup time required, no pieces to lose, and no arguments about the rules, the future of board games is here and Tikal gives you exactly what you want — to play!

Tikal is a area control game that pits players against each other in the heart of the jungle. Your sending out expeditions to claim different temples across a hexagonal map. These temples have a set amount of points, but come out randomly. In addition, you can get points for treasures. So, the game also features set collection. Scoring occurs a number of times throughout the game when a volcano tile is revealed. There are 4 volcano tiles in the game, after the final scoring, the game is complete and the winner is the player with the most victory points.

What’s your turn like?

Tikal for iPad

Tikal for iPad

On your turn you must first place a randomly selected hexagon tile out on the board. Then you have 10 AP’s or action points to decide what you want to do. Here’s the list of those actions…

  • 1AP – Place a truck (expedition)
  • 1AP – Move a truck between camps
  • 1AP/per stone – move a truck to another tile (ex. 3 tiles – 3 AP’s)
  • 2AP – Uncover a temple
  • 3AP – Recover a treasure
  • 3AP – Exchange a treasure
  • 5AP – Establish a camp
  • 5AP – Place a guard on a temple

What these mean…

  • 1AP – Place a truck (expedition) – This is your most basic action to get a “pawn/truck/expedition” out onto the board at a camp site
  • 1AP – Move a truck between camps – You can set up multiple camps in the game for easier and less costly actions – to move a truck between your camps, it just costs an AP and is extremely handy.
  • 1AP/per stone – move a truck to another tile – Your basic move action between tiles. If there’s one stone between the tiles, it just costs you 1 AP, but if the shortest route has, say, 8 stones, well, it’ll cost ya 8!
  • 2AP – Uncover a temple – You can uncover temples on blank hexes in the game. This costs 2 AP.
  • 3AP – Recover a treasure – There are pre set tiles with treasures on them, 4 treasures. For 3 AP’s you can recover a treasure. If you have 1 type of a particular treasure, you’ll get 1 point. If you have 2 of the same, 3 points; 3 of the same – 6 points. Rules are, you must have 1 expedition per treasure recovered; and you are only allowed a max of 2 recoveries across the board on a turn.
  • 3AP – Exchange a treasure – Theres a function in the game where you can exchange treasures with opponents. Personally in my numerous times of playing this game, I either forget about the action or don’t care to get involved. I tend not to trade in games much.
  • 5AP – Establish a camp – This costly move will help you later on. Placing another camp cuts way down on your movement actions. It’s like a space bridge or teleportation device, even though it still costs 1 AP to move between. In addition, if you have expeditions left, you can spawn them at any camp!
  • 5AP – Place a guard on a temple – This is a real nice action that has screwed me many times due to my lack of paying attention to details. If you are in control of a temple tile, you can place a guard here for a costly 5AP’s. It basically secures the location for you and you can take your expedition away to go conquer more areas.


Tikal for iPad

Tikal for iPad


The graphics are good to average on my iPad 2. Keep in mind, my iPad isn’t retina, so I don’t think I’m giving the game justice. It does look better on my iPhone 4s with retina, but its a smaller screen so I prefer to play on the iPad. The graphics do get a little dull over time, too much green and yellows, but that’s the theme of the game. Overall though, they did a good job.


There’s not much needed or going on in the sound department. Just some ambient background noises for the music which doesn’t lend too much to the game in my opinion. And I have to say I was annoyed with the truck sound when they move, but luckily, you can control all this in the settings.

Game Play/User Experience:

Overall the UI works well. Its relatively easy to understand and navigate. No ground is being broke here. I must complain about a couple things though. When in menu’s I found I often overlooked the cancel, red “X” button and hit back instead. Also when tapping the trucks to move them, they are too close to the camps and the hit detection suffers a bit. Please move the expedition trucks a bit away from the camps. I’m a a bigger guy too and my fingers are not over sized or fat so that’s not it.

My opinion on the game:

I’ve never played the tabletop version of Tikal but based on what I played here, I’d certainly play the tabletop version. While the theme is not my favorite, it works well with this area control game. If you’ve never played the game, there’s a slight learning curve – especially knowing what all your possible actions were. In my initial plays, I wondered why I couldn’t gain control of a temple, only to later realize its because the player placed a guard at that temple. The more and more I played, the more competitive I found the game to become. I enjoyed playing it and Tikal will definitely get played. The implementation works well. I only have a couple gripes about the UI but other than that, this was a well thought out version of a tabletop game.

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