Mac Gerdts

PD-Verlag &

No. of Players:
2 - 5



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

As Princes of Machu Picchu we find us confronted with a life-threatening peril at the beginning of the game: The Spanish Armada finally has reached the south of America and has begun a truculent campaign against the original inhabitants. Especially our folk, the Incas, is on top of the list of the conquistadors. Maybe history were written different, hadn´t we collected a massive amount of gold that we had used to honour our gods. And in these gods we now set all of our hopes. Anyway, two hours after beginning the game we will know for sure, if our gods were strong enough to counterstrike the constant advancement of the Spanish Iron men with their Firesticks. If not, maybe our combined efforts to sacrifice were not enough and someone speculated to become a minion of the Spanish...

The town of Machu Picchu is divided into 15 districts. Some districts are for producing goods and acquiring Priests and Virgins and others to set up more Incas on the board. The former we need to sacrifice, and with each sacrifice we move further to the top of the Mountain Summit, which gives us a Sacrifice card at the top of the mountain. The latter are mainly our workers in the districts which we need to keep the production chain going.


In the game we move with our Princes from one district to another. The movement must be made to an adjacent district or we have to pay 1 Llama to move him to a district farer away. Our last possibility is to let our Prince remain in the same district, which gives us a moon tile from the game board (I will come later back to this).

Now on the game board you can find five districts for production. Whenever a Prince enters one of these districts, all Incas in this district can produce. Corn is for free, for all the other products (Llamas, Coca, Pottery or Cloth) we have to pay one Corn to produce. Of course, not only our own Incas but all other players' Incas may produce then as well. To attract Princes to districts with a minor allurement, a bonus is placed there at every night phase of the game.


Four more districts are for sacrifice. If a Prince enters one of these, he takes all temple stones in this district (one temple stone is put there in every night phase, too) and moves his progress figure three steps on the Inca-Trail closer to the Mountain Summit with every temple stone he took. In addition to this all players with Priests or Virgins can sacrifice Llamas to move further on the Inca-Trail to the top of the mountain. Furthermore, in the main temple it is possible to sacrifice goods directly, so you do not need any Priests or Virgins there.

This leads us to the question, how Incas, Priests and Virgins come onto the game board. Four more districts are the answer to this question. For a payment of goods we may buy Farmers and Shepherds in the Watchman´s Hut and Weavers, Coca Planter, and Potters in the Royal Palace. Only one Inca per district can be set up in one turn. In the House of Priests and the House of Virgins only one Priest or Virgin may be acquired in a turn.


Finally there are two districts for special actions. The central Plaza is a kind of market place and there we can trade goods with the bank, and the Sun Clock is the only possibility to get Incas back from other districts.

A player should reach the top of the Mountain Summit from time to time, starting once again at the bottom step of the Inca-Trail when the Summit was reached. On top of the mountain the player takes three Sacrifice cards from the stack and returns two of them, keeping one for his hand. These Sacrifice cards determine the strategic orientation a player should choose by setting out possibilities for gaining victory points.

Victory points are calculated as fallows: For each matching icon on a Sacrifice card with the players Incas you get 1 victory point. So if you have the Corn icon on two of your Sacrifice cards and have three farmers at the end of the game, this gives you 2x3=6 victory points. The Sacrifice cards always have several icons, so with increasing cards on your hand the choice for the best combination of Incas may change dramatically. All points are added up and the player with the most victory points wins the game, if, yes if the Spanish conquest was not successful....


The princes only manage to rescue Machu Picchu, if they worshiped and sacrificed enough during the game to please their gods. Only if all 15 Priests and Virgins are acquired or the last Sacrifice Card is taken, the rescue was a success. In the other case, the Spanish conquistadors take the town. As known from history, the Spanish were interested mainly in Gold, and consequently Gold takes a major role if the Spanish were successful. Victory points are counted as before, but additionally the Gold shown on the Sacrifice Cards contributes to a players score. All Gold on the Sacrifice cards is summed up, but the player with the most Gold triples this sum, and the second one doubles it. As you can see, this radically can change the result of the game.

Now the question will arise how you can influence the end of the game. Well this is strongly up to the players. The game always ends after the ninth day and actions only take place during the days. The end of a day has come when a player took the third moon tile from the game board. As you will remember a player can take a moon tile if he passes and lets his Prince stay in the same district. Although he will move forward on the Inca-Trail, he has the disadvantage that he cannot do any action in his turn. Players who do think that the Spanish conquistadors will take over, normally will take more moon tiles to end the game quite early. But what should a player do if the next Sacrifice cards offers great chances to win the game the other way? Because the Sacrifice cards are hidden from the opponents this is quite hard to judge…


Outstanding elements in Die Prinzen von Macchu Picchu are the twofold possibility in which the game may end, the nice, straightforward market mechanism which simulates changing prices based on offer and demand, and the cute wooden playing figures which stand a bit in contrast to the somewhat square-cut graphics of the gameboard which take some time to get used to. As an interesting observation which could be seen after several testing sessions, the game gets more logical with increasing player's experience, but it is still very difficult to predict the end. For some players this is a disadvantage, but other players like myself will keep trying on and on to figure out nice combinations, although there probably is no best way to win the game. With a playing time of two hours and more it is a little bit difficult to find enough players to go for that distance regularly, but if you are in the right round, the game gives you a lot and then you will really be happy that Mac Gerdts has invented a strong game once again.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2009 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany