[Tactics and Tactility is our column about the feelings, details and pleasures of tabletop gaming. This week we’re looking at Mexica, and the glory of giving good friends the space to be cruel.]
Ava: Some games are a particular joy to teach, because you get to slowly watch the implications play out in real time on the face of your fellow players. Some rules are like a little snowball you start rolling down a hill, and watch turn into an avalanche. Games are systems, and it’s not easy to see the impact of a system until you’re in it.
I’ve explained the rules. I’ve told people that we’re trying to found districts of specific sizes, surrounded by canals, claim those districts, and then vie for ‘spiritual grandeur’ by building the biggest temples in each one. I’ve explained moving, bridges, placing canals and the scoring structure.
What I’ve not explained, is that in about fifteen minutes, everyone around this table will have been an absolute monster to everyone else.