Spotlight on Games > Translations
English Translation
6 April 2000
Game by Editions TILSIT, 1999 [Editions Tilsit errata in red underline]

1.0 Goal of the Game

The goal of the game is to realize the most possible sacrifices in the honor of the god Quetzalcoatl without the god Tezcatlipoca destroying the universe. To that end, players must rescue Quetzalcoatl from the underworlds and make him climb the pyramid of the gold temple without Tezcatlipoca descending to the underworlds.

If Quetzalcoatl reaches the gold temple before Tezcatlipoca reaches the underworlds, the winner is the player that has offered the most sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl.

In the event of a tie, victory goes to the player that has assimilated the most territories and finally, the richest player (adding the tribute to the cost of the warriors and boats).

If Tezcatlipoca reaches the underworlds before Quetzalcoatl reaches the gold temple, then all the players lose and the universe is destroyed by the Tzitzimimes daemons.

2.0 Presentation

Each player controls one of the four major peoples of the valley of Mexico (Aztecs, Toltecs, Chichimecs and Tepanecs) that will fight for the control of the neighboring city-states. As the head of your armies, but also of a network of commercial and diplomatic agents, the pochtecas, you organize, with the sole goal of capturing the most sacrifice points, fights, expeditions, alliances and uprisings against the independent city-states or the empires of the other players. Each turn, players receive cards that will allow them to realize special actions depending on the phase of the game turn.

Each player moves his armies according to a random draw and fights with the help of cards received at the start of the turn. The new conquests generate tributes and sometimes sacrifice points; tribute allows you to buy new armies, pochtecas and to participate in slave markets.

Players offer their sacrifice points to the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca. However, if the sacrifice points to Quetzalcoatl come close to gaining a victory for you, don’t forget to give some to calm Tezcatlipoca under pain of provoking the destruction of the universe.

We invite you to read the Player Notes before your first game in order to familiarize yourself with this unfamiliar world.

3.0 Game Components

In addition to the game components provided in the game box, each player provide a sheet of paper and a pencil.

The number of counters in the game is intentionally limited -- it is advisable for players to manage them carefully.

4.0 Game Board

The game board represents the valley of Mexico and its neighboring valleys, in the middle of the fifteenth century. The map is divided into territories that represent the principal city-states of the era, as well as the exterior valleys of Tula, Toluca, Tlaxcala and Oaxtepec.Each territory shows the name of its ruling city-state. Note that the valley of Tula continues under the pyramid and borders the valley of Toluca.

The central lake is split into four lake zones; all the city-states that border the lake possess a harbor. One can thus debark in any coastal city-state. There are two types of relief, mountains and marshes, which provide a defensive bonus. The chinampas (or floating gardens) are treated as marshes. The other elements of the game board are:

5.0 Preparation

Players may choose the people that they desire to play or choose at random. Each player takes the color corresponding to the people he has chosen and places his pyramid on the capital, which will be starting territory:

Each player receives 4 Tributes, 3 Generals, 10 warriors, 3 Jaguar knights (elite warriors) and 1 boat as well as his army organization Chart. This small display is divided in 4 boxes: 3 boxes for the 3 armies and 1 box for the Reserve. Distribute your warriors and Jaguar knights in the different boxes, observing a maximum deployment of 4 counters per box.

The General counters A, B, C are placed immediately on the game board in your capital, from which they will begin the game.

The Aztec player further receives a dike that is immediately placed on one of the 3 following junctions:


Players take all the counters of their color and make piles of like pieces: warriors, Tributes, verification markers… Then cards are divided into decks according to the color of their backs. There are 6 different colors:

Fold the outlines of Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca gods and place them on their plastic base.

Place the Quetzalcoatl god on his starting space at the bottom of the pyramid and Tezcatlipoca at the top of the pyramid.

AZTECA also requires 2 Sacrifice urns. The first one, the Quetzalcoatl urn, shows the picture of the feathered serpent and will be opened at the end of the game only if Quetzalcoatl wins. The second, called the verification urn, shows the picture of Tezcatlipoca and is regularly opened during the game. To make these urns, use the 2 pierced small plates and place them on the 2 rectangular compartments above the logo TILSIT in the game box.

5.1. Distribution of population points on the board

To have a different starting situation in each game, players each draw, before the first turn, one of the 13 Population markers. These markers are numbered 0, 1 or 2 and represent the worth in Sacrifice points of each territory.

The first player draws a marker, looks at it, and then places it face down on one of the 13 territories of the Mexico valley; the player cannot place it on a capital or an exterior valley (Tula, Toluca, Oaxtepec and Tlaxcala), nor on a lake. He cannot place it on one of the two territories adjacent to his capital either, unless he cannot do otherwise. For the Aztec player, the dike determines the adjacent territories. Thus, each player in turn places a marker until all are placed.

Once this is done, turn the markers face up and remove the 0s. There should only remain markers 1 and 2 on the map.

6.0 Turn order

Each player rolls a die. [Or otherwise choose a starting player at random. --translator] The player with the highest total receives the Tlatoani card (Great Sovereign) and will be the first player.

On the next turn, the player to his left will become first player and will receive the card, and so on.

7.0 Game Turn

A turn is composed of 8 phases.

Players perform each phase before passing to the next one.

8.0 phase 1: Drawing Azteca Cards

Each player receives 4 cards on the first turn. On the following turns, during phase 1, players decide to keep their cards or to discard some of them, and then replenish their hands to 4 cards.

A player can never have more than 4 cards in his hand. The cards have a name, a figure indicating the phase when they can be played, as well as some descriptive text. Cards can be played during a player's turn or during the turn of another player, but always during the specified phase.

It is forbidden to play twice the same card consecutively, except Raid cards.

SPECIAL CASE: a player can never play a Raid card against a territory he controls.

9.0 phase 2: Tribute

The Aztecs did not know money and their economy was based on trading. In game terms, players’ fortunes are expressed in Tributes. There are 3 sizes of Tribute counters in the game: the small ones have a value of 1, the medium of 2 and the large ones of 5.

Each player must announce aloud the amount of tribute they receive.

Players receive an amount of:

Expeditions and the “Tlaloc” card also allow a player to gather additional Tributes.

At the end of each Tribute phase, players also receive Sacrifice points if they control:

These points are cumulative.

10.0 phase 3: Purchase and Recruitment

Starting with the first player, each player announces and pays for his purchases. You need not spend all your Tributes and can save for the following phases.

Advice: always save some Tributes to participate in the Slave Market and finance the missions of your pochtecas.

10.1 Purchase Costs

Jaguar knight
New General 1
1 only if one of your generals has been killed
2 only the Aztecs player can buy them

Each player can purchase as much as he desires so long as Tributes and counters remain.

10.2 Placement of Newly Bought Counters

Warriors and Jaguar knights are placed secretly on the Army Organization Chart of each of the players. Remember that you can never pile up more than 4 counters per box.

Pochtecas and boats are placed on the capital, awaiting for their mission.

Any new General starts from the capital.

A new dike is placed immediately on any one junction still available (see Dike 13.3).

11.0 phase 4: Slave Market

The Slave Market allows players to win additional Sacrifice points in bids.

A player that does not have any Tributes cannot participate in the Slave Market.

The first player shuffles the 4 "Slave Market" cards (whose value varies from 0 to 3 Sacrifice points). He randomly deals them face down on the locations numbered 1 to 4. Then each player in turn looks at 2 cards of his choice, taking care to replace them at their respective location. Players can look at the cards only one time. No one can reveal what he has just seen.

Next, each player secretly chooses the marker corresponding to the card he wants and bids a part of his Tributes. Players hide the marker and the Tributes in their hand and reveal them simultaneously.

A player who did not bid any Tributes cannot win a lot.

A player who bid alone on a lot wins the corresponding Sacrifice points.

When several players bid on the same lot, the one that put the highest tribute on it takes it and the other players recover their bids. If there is a tie, then the tied players rebid: they can negotiate, but cannot divide the lot of slaves between them. They are not obliged to respect their word. Players can decide not to bid anything.

The bids are again performed secretly; the player who bid the most takes it. If there is still a tie, both players lose their Tributes and no one takes the lot.

12.0 phase 5: Pochteca Missions

Pochtecas represented the commercial class in the meso-American tribes. Their domain of activity was very vast: merchants before all, they were also spies and diplomats. A caste less privileged than warriors, they nevertheless had a colossal power and no sovereign could do without it.

Pochtecas are bought during the purchase and recruitment phase. They are active only one turn and are removed from the board once their mission is completed. A player cannot send several Pochtecas to the same territory (except in Expeditions). A pochteca cannot be sent in a territory where there is an enemy army, or in the capital of another player.

Each player first determines the territories where his pochtecas will be sent. To that end, players secretly write down pochteca IDs (A, B, or C) on a piece of paper as well as their destination. As each territory is characterized by a number, it suffices to make the letter correspond with the number of its destination and to write, for example, A11 or B7 (pochteca A goes to territory 11, B goes to 7, and so on).

A player who wants to send some pochtecas in Expedition writes EXP. One doesn’t reconsider a player’s mistake in locating a territory.

All players reveal their instructions simultaneously and the pochteca counters are placed on the game board.

A pochteca can accomplish only one mission, one time only. There are 5 types of missions executed by the pochtecas: Expedition, Espionage, Alliance, Rebellion and Assimilation. The mission to be realized is left to the player’s choice.

Pochteca missions from the first player are first resolved*, then those from the second player, and so on.

The pochtecas from several players can be on the same territory; it is then possible that a Pochteca can no longer perform his mission.

*: Note that the Espionage mission is only resolved during phase 7 (Flower War).


The Expedition missions are resolved first. Each pochteca sent in Expedition is placed on the Mexico map and allows you to draw one Expedition card.

These expeditions, launched out of the Mexico valley, allow bringing back extra Tributes, but this is not without risk since the expedition can be massacred.

The cards are: Massacre, Gain 2 Tributes, Gain 4 Tributes and Gain 6 Tributes. A massacred pochteca is worth no Tribute. Gains are cumulative.

The first player shuffles the cards and draws one card for each pochteca that he sent in Expedition, and so on for the other players. If the deck is exhausted before all the players have been able to draw their cards, the cards are reshuffled and players continue drawing until each player is served. Gains are received immediately and can therefore be used during the turn.


A pochteca placed on a neutral territory can conquer this territory by proposing an alliance; to that end he must pay 3 Tributes. The alliance succeeds automatically and the player places a City of his color.

The alliance can be only concluded on a territory of the Mexico valley. Pochtecas cannot make alliance with the exterior valleys. A player can only attempt one Alliance per territory and per turn.

Note: if an alliance allows increasing the size of your Empire, it does not allow obtaining the Sacrifice Points from a victorious attack.


A pochteca sent to a City that is not assimilated nor occupied by an enemy army can attempt to provoke a Rebellion by paying 1 Tribute. Roll 1 red die: if you obtain a lance, the territory rises up and the enemy player loses his City and his territory. A territory in Rebellion becomes neutral.

You cannot initiate a Rebellion in an assimilated territory or in the exterior valleys.


A pochteca can fortify a City that he possesses to win 1 extra Sacrifice point per turn and avoid Rebellions.

Pay 3 Tributes to fortify your City and replace your City marker with an assimilated City marker (marked with a “1”).

You cannot have more than 5 assimilated Cities. This mission cannot be executed in the exterior valleys.


This mission is only resolved during phase 7 ("Flower War"). A pochteca in Espionage prevents a neutral territory from benefiting from his mobilization roll (see 14.13). This mission is also possible in the exterior valleys.

During the Flower War, if an enemy army enters a territory containing one of your pochtecas who did not yet realize his mission, it is removed only if the army conquers this territory.

13.0 phase 6: Lake Domination

As for the pochtecas, players write down secretly the location of their boats. On each turn players must determine the position of all their boats. There are 4 numbered lake zones. Players write the number of boats, then the letter “B” (boat) and last its deployment zone.

Example: 2B4 (2 boats in lake zone 4).

Players reveal simultaneously their locations and place their boats on the game board. Note that there are “1 boat” and “2 boats” counters.

The first player announces whether he wants to attack another player located in a lake zone containing enemy boats: the battle is resolved immediately. If other players are located in the same lake zone, they can either join the attacker, join the defender, or choose neutrality. A player who joins an alliance must announce it before the beginning of the battle. On his turn a player can attack all of the boats of a player located in a lake zone, then attack those of a third player that did not participate to any combat.

Each player, in turn order, announces and resolves his attacks.

To limit the amount of writing, it is recommended to write the position of the boats while determining pochteca missions.

13.1 Lake Battle

The battle takes place in successive rounds; the attacker can in each round decide to stop the battle. The defender simply undergoes the attacks. On his turn, he can possibly become the attacker if he is still present in the lake zone. There are no retreats in lake battle: the combat stops either because one of the players lost all his boats in the zone, or because the attacker decided to stop the battle.

Each boat is worth 1 combat point. Players add up their combat points. The player having the most combat points is the strong side, the other is the weak side. The strong side rolls 1 yellow die, the weak rolls 1 red die: dice are rolled simultaneously. If combat points are tied, each player rolls a Red die. Each lance obtained on a die means the loss of a boat. At each new round, combat points are recalculated to determine the strong side.

When fighting with an ally, losses are distributed successively to one and the other, the ally never undergoing the first loss. A lake battle is worth no Sacrifice point.

13.2 Lake control

At the end of the phase, control of each of the 4 lake zones is determined. A player controls a lake zone if he has more boats in this zone than each of his opponents. If there is a tie, the zone is not controlled.

Controlling a zone is worth 1 Tribute in phase 1 and allows landing, transporting and retreating of your Troops (army and reserve).

A player that has boats in a lake zone controlled by another player must have his consent to cross it. Negotiations are possible. If a lake zone is not controlled, this means that all the players can transport or retreat freely in this zone without having the consent of any other player.

13.3 Dike

Dikes allow the Aztec player to connect his island to the coast and to use it as a ground link. Only the Aztec player can construct dikes and they cannot be destroyed. The Aztec player can construct up to 3 dikes with the following links:

Dikes do not prevent boat movements. The other players can use them to attack the Aztec player but in this case, he benefits from a yellow defense die as if he was defending in mountain or in a marsh (see 14.8).

As soon as a dike is bought, it is immediately placed on the board and it can be used immediately.

If the Aztec player places a dike connecting Tenochtitlan and Tizapan, the NEUTRAL territory Tizapan no longer benefits from a yellow defense die due to the marsh when attacking through the dike.

If the Aztec player or another player captures Tizapan, then this territory gives his possessor a yellow defense die due to the marsh.

14.0 phase 7: Flower War

14.1 Armies

Each player has 3 armies (marked A, B and C) represented by their Generals. These Generals move and battle on the game board. Players also have an army called Reserve (no marker), which is driven by special rules.

On their army organization Chart, players distribute their warriors and Jaguar knights counters face down between their armies and reserve so that their combat force is unknown. An army can never contain more than 4 counters (warriors or Jaguar knights). An army is destroyed and his general killed when its last counter is captured in a combat. Unlike Generals, warriors and Jaguar knights counters never move on the board. They stay on the army organization Chart and are only used when resolving battle.

14.2 Army Movement Order

An army can move only if it receives an order to do so. At the beginning of phase 7 "Flower War", players announce the number of non-destroyed armies they have. For each army, they receive a Movement marker of this color and all these markers are mixed. Then the first player randomly draws a marker that will allow the player of the marker’s color to move an army of his choice. The player can also choose not to move at all. When moved, an army must wait the next turn before it can move again. All "Army Movement" markers must be drawn. The first player or Tlatoani performs the drawing.

14.3 Movements

Armies move up to 3 territories. However, they must stop as soon as they enter a neutral or enemy territory. An army can move through a lake zone if boats of the same color are present. The player who controls a lake zone can prevent crossing of an army; if there is no control crossing is free. An army must always stop its movement on a territory.

When an army has finished all its movements and battle, it can no longer move but can still intercept.

The relief of the land - mountain and marshes – in no way prevents army movements.

14.4 Interception

An army, even if it already moved, can intercept an enemy army that is crossing or stops in an adjacent territory (ground or lake). Multiple or counter-interceptions cannot be performed. Only the first player who has declared an interception can realize it. An interception always provokes a battle. An army can intercept on a lake zone only if at least one boat of the same color is present and if the player controls this zone or no other player controls it. If another player controls the lake zone, he can allow the interception.

An army that intercepts on a neutral territory must, once the battle is resolved, retreat to its starting territory; it cannot, in any case, stay on the neutral territory.

An army that was intercepted and that wins the battle can finish its movement normally. In a turn, an army can intercept as many times as it wants and as long as it has troops.

A Raid can never be intercepted.

14.5 Reorganization

Reorganization consists in transferring warrior counters from one army to another. Reorganization is only possible during his game turn, that is when an army Movement marker of his color has been drawn. Any type of exchange can be done.

Whenever armies are located on the same territory, they can be reorganized. An army on his capital can be reorganized with the Reserve. An army that crosses its capital or a territory containing an army of his color can be reorganized.

A player can decide to get rid of one or two of his armies by transferring its troops either to the Reserve, either to another army. A player that empties voluntarily his army when reorganizing destroys it. A player cannot keep a General counter if the army does not contain any troops. The player will have to re-purchase a General.

14.6 Reserve

The Reserve is an army that resides in each player’s capital. It serves to protect not only the capital but also any City belonging to the player. This is a defense army that plays the role of garrison. The Reserve cannot have more than 4 counters (warriors or Jaguar knights). It is never destroyed, even if all its counters are captured.

It is called out to the player’s taste, only to defend his attacked cities. The number of counters engaged by the Reserve is chosen at the beginning of the battle, before the attacker has announced his combat force.

The Reserve can always retreat after the first combat round (except “Heroic Battle” card).

The Reserve does not have any limit in his movement, but it can only intervene in an attacked city to the condition that it can trace a continuous chain of territories or lake zones belonging to the player to this city. This chain is broken by natural catastrophes or by lake control from another player that would not give his agreement for crossing. The Reserve can never be intercepted.

14.7 Battle

There is a battle when 2 enemy armies meet, when an army attacks a neutral territory or an enemy City defended by its Reserve. Players add up the value of their troops in each army: a warrior counter is worth 1 combat point, a Jaguar knight is worth 2 combat points. The force of an army can therefore vary from 1 to 8 combat points. Sometimes, the Reserve can come and add his force to its armies force. Each player announces his total combat value. The strongest player rolls 2 yellow dice, the other player rolls 2 red dice. If there is a tie, each player rolls 2 red dice. The battle opposes the two opponents and takes place in successive rounds until an army is destroyed or retreats. A round corresponds to a dice roll from both players. There must always be at least 1 combat round before retreat is possible.

At the end of each round, the players decide either to continue the battle, either to retreat. At the end of each round, losses of each player are taken out and the strong side is re-determined.

Whenever a die shows a lance, an enemy troop is captured. A player wins a battle if he completely destroys an army by capturing all the enemy counters, or if the enemy army retreats.

Only the victor can transform the captured counters in Sacrifice points (1 counter=1 Sacrifice point). The troops captured by the loser are not transformed in Sacrifice points, they are simply discarded.

Whenever a player wins a battle in a neutral territory or in a territory belonging to another player, he captures the territory and places a conquered city marker. If the territory has already a marker from another player, it is replaced by a marker belonging to the victor. When both armies are destroyed simultaneously, the defender preserves his territory.

14.8 Lands

Whenever an army attacks through mountains, marshes, chinampas (floating gardens) or a dike (except the Aztec player), the defender receives a yellow defense die that is rolled before the battle. If he gets a lance, he immediately captures one counter of his opponent’s army. This counter will not be taken into account when determining the strong side. This counter will be transformed in Sacrifice point even if the defender loses the battle.

N.B.: the defender cannot accumulate several land effects in order to benefit from several yellow defense dice. Only one of these terrain effects applies.

14.9 Losses

A player taking losses chooses which troops he eliminates. Losses are removed simultaneously and put aside. They actually represent warriors that were captured during the battle. Only the victor will transform counters lost by his opponent in Sacrifice points.

Recall that the victor does not receive any Sacrifice points when fighting in a lake zone.

14.10 Experience

After a victorious battle against another army, a survivor warrior can be transformed into a Jaguar knight.

N.B.: this rule does not apply in battle against Raids.

14.11 Retreat

During a battle, a player can decide to retreat his army, his Reserve, or both. To that end, he must have an adjacent territory belonging to him or a continuous chain of boats that allow him to retreat to one of his territories. A player can retreat by crossing lake zones controlled by other players only with their agreement. A player that cannot retreat must fight to the very end.

Special cases:

14.12 Neutral States

Each neutral territory represents an independent city-state defended by its own troops.


All neutral territories in the Mexico valley defend with a minimum army composed of 1 warrior and 1 Jaguar knight, to which one must add the mobilization value of the population. These neutral armies can never retreat.


The 4 exterior valleys of Mexico (Tula, Toluca, Oaxtepec and Tlaxcala) represent either empires, either the gathering of very powerful Indian tribes. Three of them (Toluca, Tlaxcala And Oaxtepec) benefit from a bonus in defense due to their chain of mountains. And these 4 exterior valleys defend with a minimum army composed of 3 Jaguar knights plus a mobilization die whose result is to be increased by 1.

A conquered valley is worth 2 Tributes and 1 Sacrifice point per turn. Pochtecas cannot realize Alliances, Assimilations, or Rebellions in these valleys. They can, on the other hand, undertake Espionage missions.

14.13 Mobilization

Mobilization symbolizes the raise of troops in the population. During an attack of a neutral territory, each of the players announces whether he plays a “Reinforcements” card. When all these cards have been played, the neutral player performs a mobilization roll. He rolls the white die:

1 to 3: no extra warriors are added
4 to 5: 1 extra warrior is added
6: 1 Jaguar knight is added.

The player to the left of the attacker rolls the dice for a neutral force.

For the mobilization roll of the 4 exterior valleys, you add 1 to the result of the die. A pochteca in Espionage mission cancels the mobilization roll.

The extra troops brought in with the "Reinforcements" cards are the last to be captured. If they win the battle, they remain on the territory until the end of the turn.

The troops brought in with the mobilization roll are removed at the end of the battle; unlike the reinforcement troops they do not remain on the territory.

14.14 Cousins

Any player adjacent to a neutral territory attacked by another player can declare himself cousin of the attacked kingdom. In this case, he can send 1 counter from his Reserve to help the neutral army. To that end, the territory adjacent to the neutral territory being attacked must be connected to his capital. This counter can never retreat. It must fight to the very end and will be the last one to be captured (after reinforcement troops).

If the neutral wins, the territory that the counter defended cannot be occupied even if it is the last survivor. If this is a warrior, then it can be transformed into a Jaguar knight and will return to the Reserve.

Several players can declare themselves cousin of the same neutral. Losses will be taken in turn order.

14.15 Plundering a Capital

Attacking an enemy capital is desireable for capturing Sacrifice points and Tributes from the unfortunate player. If the attacker is victorious, he takes half of the Sacrifice points (rounded up) of the defender, as well as all his Tributes. Then the attacker must retreat for a capital can never be conquered, only plundered.

Therefore, a player can never be eliminated from the game. At worst, he loses half of his Sacrifice points and his tribute.

If a capital is plundered by a Raid, the defender of the capital loses half of his Sacrifice points.

If the capital is the last territory of a player and that all his troops are captured while defending it, the player still preserves his capital and will receive for free 1 General as well as 3 warriors and 1 Jaguar knight on the next turn.

A player whose capital has been plundered can still take part in the “Judgment of the Gods” phase.

15.0 Judgment of the Gods

Sacrifice points accumulated during the whole game turn are kept secret by each of the players. They now must distribute their Sacrifices between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca. At this time of the game, players can discuss and make agreements between them.

15.1 Sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl

In game turn order, players secretly put Sacrifice points in the Quetzalcoatl urn that they offer to the Feathered Snake. This urn will be opened, and the number of sacrifices revealed, only at the end of the game to know the winner.

For scrutiny purposes, but without revealing their own choices, players must put the same number of Sacrifice points in the verification urn by using the purple verification markers. This urn will be opened every two game turns and will be used to make Quetzalcoatl climb the pyramid steps. Indeed, he goes one step up every 20 Sacrifice points. Leftover sacrifice points are left in the urn for the next counting. Quetzalcoatl must climb 5 steps. When he is on the penultimate step, the verification urn will be checked every game turn to know whether he climbs the last step.

15.2. Sacrifices to Tezcatlipoca

Players hide their Sacrifice points in their hands. Next, they reveal simultaneously the number of Sacrifice points that they offer to Tezcatlipoca to calm his anger. Sacrifices from each players are added up, then the hold of the Tlatoani card rolls the white die three times keeping the highest result (this figure represents the number of voluntary persons that sacrifice themselves to prevent destruction of the universe). The total of the Sacrifice points plus the result of the die must be greater or equal to the " Tezcatlipoca Anger" card that is drawn at random. This card has a figure (9, 10 or 11) that is the minimum number of sacrifices claimed by Tezcatlipoca to keep calm and remain in peace. If the total is greater or equal, then Tezcatlipoca does not move. If the total is inferior, Tezcatlipoca, furious, goes one step down.

N.B.: the 3 cards "Tezcatlipoca Anger" must all have been played before being reshuffled. Thus, at the second and especially the third turn, you can anticipate more easily the level of Tezcatlipoca's anger.

15.3 Game End

When Tezcatlipoca has descended the 4 steps, it goes to the underworlds and, faced with men’s ingratitude, destroys the world to get his revenge. In this case, all the players lose the game and the Quetzalcoatl urn does not need to be counted for there is no grading among the losers.

To be able to win, players must bring Quetzalcoatl to the last step of his temple before Tezcatlipoca attains the underworlds. The contents of Quetzalcoatl's urn is then revealed and the player who offered the most Sacrifice points to Quetzalcoatl wins the game.

If Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca both attain their objective in the same turn, Tezcatlipoca takes it.

Advice: in general, put a Sacrifice counter with value 5 rather than 5 Sacrifice counters with value 1 in order not to fall short of counters! Be very precise when putting your counters in the Quetzalcoatl urn because you cannot make any mistake without distorting the game. Never open this urn before the end of the game. If you make a mistake, notify the other players and keep track of the number of Sacrifice points you will need to subtract from your total.

16.0 Rules for Three Players

With 3 players, the Aztec player is taken out of game. Tlalolco and Tenochtitlan form a unique territory considered a marsh.

A population marker is placed on this common territory. The 4 valleys, TULA, TOLUCA, TLAXCALA and OAXTEPEC, are not taken into account in the game, no player can enter these lands.

Quetzalcoatl needs only 15 Sacrifice points to go up 1 step.

The rules for dikes are not used.

17.0 Difficulty Levels

Players can agree to increase or lower the game difficulty by modifying the number of Sacrifice points needed for Quetzalcoatl to climb a step: 25 points for Expert level, 22 points for Experienced level, etc.

18.0 Options

Since we like to offer various game variants, we propose you to test the following optional rules.

"NOT COSTLY ENOUGH, MY SON...": Players who know the game can decide to start the game in a different way: each player has 34 Tributes, except for the Aztec player who starts with 37. Players do their purchases secretly and then announce their armies composition. Tributes can be partly kept.

"THE BIG DEAL": Cards can be sold or exchanged between players. You can play a card to help another player. Players can give or lend Tributes to each other. A player is never forced to keep his word.

"PIROGUE EXPRESS SERVICE" : A player can allow another player to use his boats for movements.

"I’VE ALREADY GIVEN...": People in the area have undergone long periods of invasions and anarchy and are more unwilling to conclude Alliances. Now Alliances and Assimilations are no longer automatic.

Alliance: allows to conquer a territory without fighting in the Mexico valley only:

- if the player pays 2 Tributes, he rolls a red die: if he get a lance, the alliance is concluded.

- if the player pays 4 Tributes, it rolls a yellow die: if he gets a lance, the alliance is concluded.

Assimilation: allows to make a City faithful so that it can no longer undergo a Rebellion. This also allows to receive 1 additional Sacrifice point per turn. To attempt an Assimilation, the player pays 1 Tribute and rolls a Red die: if he gets a lance, the assimilation is succeeded.

19.0 Player Notes

Your one and only goal is to gain Sacrifices. Never forget this objective and think constantly to the profit of your actions in terms of Sacrifice points. Always hide Sacrifice points that you win during the game turn.

Play in the different sectors of the game: economical, political and military. Always keep Tributes to participate in the slave market, think of getting your cities quickly assimilated. The constant lack of Tributes will force you to do difficult choices. If you are short of Tributes, send your pochtecas on an Expedition.

The fact that you have more territories than the other players does not mean that you will have more Sacrifice points. Your conquests are only interesting if they yield Sacrifices. Two imperatives: protect your capital by controlling neighboring territories and conquer territories that allow to threaten the other players.

As a priority, you should conquer territories that yield Sacrifices but always think of assuring a good connection between your Cities, and even of doubling it by controlling lake zones.

N.B.:: the Flower War is not a war of massive destruction, nor a war of pillage, as was the case for European armies at the time. Rather it was a limited war of movements, with feints, stratagems and alliances. So don’t be a diehard or a bitter player bent on revenge because the objective in this game is to react quickly to other players’ mistakes without becoming trapped in endless conflicts that will cost you the victory. This is an opportunist’s game.

Do not hesitate to retreat in combats because the loss of an army is very costly. Always keep troops in your Reserve to face Raids or defend your Cities.

Always try to break inter-city connections from the other players to get your hands on isolated Cities without fighting. Think of using your pochtecas in Rebellion. Never underestimate the importance of controlling lake zones, otherwise you will expose yourself to inopportune landings.

Always use the counters with the highest value to put your Sacrifice points because they are in limited number and if you cannot put the exact amount towards the end of the game, then you will lose your Sacrifice points.

Be careful not to make a mistake when putting your Sacrifice points in the Quetzalcoatl urn for it cannot be opened in any way until the end of the game. A player that makes a mistake must announce it, keep track of it and subtract the amount from his final total.

Beware of Tezcatlipoca for if you do not give enough, he will descend very fast and soon attain the last step where it will be very difficult to maintain him several turns running without doing very big Sacrifices to ensure the game goes on.

LAST PIECE OF ADVICE: the idea of the game is to get you discover a civilization and a different philosophy from ours, so play the game and put yourself in an Aztec king’s shoes.

Don’t be a bad player by making the other players lose under pretext that you think you can no longer win: no Indian people would have adopted this selfish and destructive attitude and moreover, you cannot know whether you have lost as long as Quetzalcoatl did not win, unless you are a psychic!

20.0 Short glossary of Aztec terms

COLHUACAN: "humped hill", Toltec city founded by the "cloud serpent" Mixcoatl king in the ninth century with the survivors of Tula.

TENOCHTITLAN: "the place of the cactus", Aztec capital founded in 1325 on an island of the Texcoco lake.

AZCAPOTZALCO: city constructed by the survivors of the Teotihuacan people and captured by the Tepanecs "those that live on the rock" (on the lava flows of the Xitle volcano).

TEXCOCO: capital of Acolhuas, Chichimec tribe.

CHICHIMECS: "descendants of dogs", this term was not offensive and designated the gathering of nomad tribes coming from the north, who invaded the Mexico valley in successive waves. Toltecs, Aztecs or Mexica, Acolhuas and Tepanecs are Chichimecs.

CHINAMPAS: small floating garden laid out on artificial islets in lagoons or not very deep lakes. Harvests were frequent and abundant. This farming method palliated the lack of arable land.

QUETZALCOATL: "feathered serpent", god of creation and life; discovered corn and promoted human knowledge. He is TEZCATLIPOCA’s brother-enemy.

TEZCATLIPOCA: "lord of the smoking mirror", night and lunar god, bloody and aggressive, patron of sorcerers, he is the lord of shadows. He is the enemy of the virtuous QUETZALCOATL whom he corrupts.

TLALOC: "the one who makes thing grow ", god of the earth, rain, lightning and green paradise. He was the god of peasants and represented agriculture.

YACATECUHTLI: God of the pochtecas.

POCHTECA: caste of merchants that had a very powerful role since they managed the entire economy, organized expeditions and also played the role of spies and ambassadors to the service of kings. Many cities had their pochtecas’ guild.

CHALCHIUHTLICUE: "of jade his skirt", goddess of lively waters, wife of Tlaloc.

UITZILPOCHTLI: "humming bird from the south", a purely Aztec god representing war and sun. He is identical to Tezcatlipoca. This was the most important divinity in Tenochtitlan.

TLACATECUHTLI: "army commander-in-chief", term also designating the emperor.

TLENAMACAC: "high priest", superior rank in the religious castes.

QUIMICHTIN: "mouse", this term designates the spies.

TLATOANI: "The one who speaks", this term designates the king or a big head of state.


1.0 Goal of the Game
2.0 Presentation
3.0 Game Components
4.0 Game Board
5.0 Preparation
5.1. Distribution of population points on the board
6.0 Turn order
7.0 Game Turn
8.0 phase 1: Drawing Azteca Cards
9.0 phase 2: Tribute
10.0 phase 3: Purchase and Recruitment
10.1 Purchase Costs
10.2 Placement of Newly Bought Counters
11.0 phase 4: Slave Market
12.0 phase 5: Pochteca Missions
13.0 phase 6: Lake Domination
13.1 Lake Battle
13.2 Lake control
13.3 Dike
14.0 phase 7: Flower War
14.1 Armies
14.2 Army Movement Order
14.3 Movements
14.4 Interception
14.5 Reorganization
14.6 Reserve
14.7 Battle
14.8 Lands
14.9 Losses
14.10 Experience
14.11 Retreat
14.12 Neutral States
14.13 Mobilization
14.14 Cousins
14.15 Plundering a Capital
15.0 Judgment of the Gods
15.1 Sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl
15.2. Sacrifices to Tezcatlipoca
15.3 Game End
16.0 Rules for Three Players
17.0 Difficulty Levels
18.0 Options
19.0 Player Notes
20.0 Short glossary of Aztec terms

Translation by Didier Renard and Rick Heli
Copyright 2003 Richard M. Heli