The third Imperium: Horizons civilisation spotlight is all about the Mayans and how they play...

An image with the text "IMPERIUM: HORIZONS CIVILISATION SPOTLIGHT: THE MAYANS, DESIGNED BY NIGEL BUCKLE AND DÁVID TURCZI", alongside an illustration from the game depicting a group of Mayans in headdresses

Today on the blog we are featuring the Mayans who, following the footsteps of the earlier Olmec Civilisation (found in Imperium Legends), were one of the ancient civilisations from Mesoamerica. Like the Olmecs, we consider the Mayans to be one of the more complicated civilisations to play in Imperium.

The Mayans card from Imperium: Horizons, with art depicting a figure in a headdress standing in front of a step pyramid

The Mayans in Imperium covers the Classic Period (250 CE - 900 CE), and their deck features some unique mechanisms – many building on the concepts the Olmec deck introduced. Masks make another appearance, and along with the familiar Stone Masks seen in the Olmecs you’ll find new developments: a Turquoise Mask and three Headpieces. These beautiful, handcrafted headpieces are special: you can develop them before you become an Empire – by of course constructing them with your Fine Featherwork card.

A sample spread of cards from the Mayans deck of Imperium: Horizons, titled left to right: Stone Mask, Turquoise Mask, Headpiece and Fine Featherwork

The Mayan deck does not have the usual utility cards (Prosperity, Conquer, and Advance) many decks feature. Instead, it has pin cards that will go into your tableau when played to replace them. You power these cards with Masks to get the missing effects: spend one of your actions, discard mask cards from your hand, and you gain the effect. This allows you greater flexibility: with more pinned utilities in play, you can decide which one to use your masks on. While the basic stone masks can be used, the other masks give more options.

For example, Road Networks are what you use for expanding your territory (acquiring regions), but if you discard a more elaborate mask, you could instead acquire a Tributary.

The Mayans are famous for their cities, now magnificent archaeological ruins, and the Mayan deck features four of them – one as a metropolis. These cities are a little different from the usual cities in Imperium in that they allow you to retrieve masks from your discard pile. However, you will have to manage the water supply of these cities, using the Chultuns, a clever invention used to collect rainwater.

A sample spread of cards from the Mayans deck of Imperium: Horizons, titled left to right: Road Networks, Palenque, Chichen Itza and Chultuns

Finally, some of the elements utilising the Trader expansion are found in the Mayan deck – specifically references to Goods, a new resource. More about those in a later post.

Next Tuesday, this blog series will be covering the Inuit.

Find the previous civilisation spotlights for the Japanese and Taíno here - and high res versions
of the sample cards above under the images section of the game's BoardGameGeek page.

Imperium: Horizons is out February 2024.

Pre-order now.