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Divine right

Pachamama is a 1-4 players deduction game set in the Andean Mountains in pre-Columbian times. Different groups of Quechua people are competing for planting crops and making offerings to the Goddess Pachamama, while trying to divine the patterns she has devised for these crops. It will launch on Gamefound on October 19.

Image source: BGG

In the solo mode, you play against the Otoma, a nomadic group of Quechua people. Your goal is to get more points than them. The game is played on a 5x5 or a 5x9 grid, depending on how long you want the game to be. Each square of the grid has individual coordinates. Over the course of the game, this board will become filled with terrain tiles of four types, and crops of five different plants (quinoa, corn, chili, coca, sweet potato) will grow on these tiles. Before the game, you must pick a scenario wheel. If you feed the coordinates of the square by rotating the wheels correctly, the scenario wheel will specify which terrain type is to be placed there and which crop will grow.

You alternate turns with the Otoma. On your turn, you have two options: you may move or divine. To move, you pick one of your pawns, and move it in a straight line. However, if they ever meet a crop tile or another of your pawns, they can change direction. The pawns of the Otoma will block their movement. With this action, you can also introduce a new pawn on the board from your supply, starting with a free square on the edges of the board. Finally, if you end your movement on an empty square of the board, you will place a terrain tile there as specified by the scenario wheel. You will then move your score marker on the corresponding terrain track and gain the associated points.

Image source: BGG

If you choose to divine, then for each pawn you have on a free terrain tile, you will try to guess which kind of crop Pachamama has decided to let grow there. So, starting with the pawn of your choice, you make your guess, and then check whether you are right by rotating the scenario wheel. If you are right, you earn points corresponding to the crop level (quinoa being the top level and sweet potato the bottom one); if you are not, you lose points corresponding to the correct crop level, and your turn ends immediately. In any case, the correct crop type is placed on the terrain tile.

But how can you ever guess that? This is where the deduction part comes into play. The board is divided into unknown regions of homogeneous terrain tiles, with size varying between 1 and 5. Regions sharing the same terrain type are never adjacent, even diagonally. Then, in each region, crop types may only appear once, and they cannot be greater than the region’s level (so a size 1 region may only contain a level 1 crop). Besides, identical crops are never adjacent to each other, even diagonally. With these principles in mind, you can narrow down your guess and come up with the right prediction.

Finally, once you have moved, it is the Otoma turn. The Otoma only play after you explore, not after you divine. Remember that all your ‘explore’ turns end up with one of your pawn on a terrain tile (whether it was already there, or whether you discovered it). On this tile, an arrow is drawn in a specific color. The color indicates which of the Otoma pawn is to be moved in the direction matching the arrow. They move through everything and only stop when encountering an empty tile. There, they will discover the terrain type, and immediately divine the crop that goes on it – and they are always right. However, only you can make offerings. Whenever you divine correctly, you are given an offering token of the matching type, if you don’t have one already; you can then offer sets of offering tokens to Pachamama to earn extra points.

The game ends when the final terrain tile is placed. If you have more points than the Otoma, then the victory is yours!

#Pachamama #Gregoire #SitDown

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