Yucata - General game info
2-4 players, 15-30 minutes, 5 years and older
AuthorStefan Dorra
IllustratorFranz Vohwinkel
Published byHans im Gl├╝ck
Online since 2001-03-01
Reimplemented 2015-10-16
Developed by (BloodyMary)
Kay Wilke (Sparhawk)
Previously developed byKay Wilke (Sparhawk)
Yucata.de owns a license for the online version of this game. A big "thank you" to the copyright owners (publisher and/or author and illustrator) who make it possible to have this game for free online here!
Note: This online implementation uses slightly changed rules!
Yucata - Rules

In the deepest rain forests of Mexico, near the town of Palenque, stands the Mayan Sun temple. Here in 1995, the famous archaeologist and games expert Stefan Dorra, discovered the remains of an ancient game. He used these to reconstruct the game, probably last played around 1300 A.D. The spaces on the board of Yucata' exactly match the ground plan of this renowned archaeological site. The pale and dark stones in the game represent good and evil influences, which the players seek to collect, or avoid. Probably Yucata' was played solely by Mayan priests, as part of their ancient rituals, but there aren't many Mayan priests around these days, so it's probably safe enough to play the game, without any risk of angering the Gods.


Each player receives an amulet and 7 cards in the matching colour. The cards are held in the hand, the amulet placed on the first space of the board (The large space in one corner).

Course of Play

First choose a starting player. Starting with this player and continuing in a clockwise direction, each player plays one of their cards and moves their amulet the corresponding distance. This process continues until an amulet reaches or passes the end space. More than one amulet may stand on any space.

The Cards
  • Playing a 1,2,3,4, or 5 card moves the amulet 1,2,3,4, or 5 spaces forward around the board.
  • If a player plays the Speer-card, they must move their amulet to the space in front of the leading amulet. If the player with the leading amulet plays it, they move their amulet one space forwards.
  • If a player plays the ?-card, they move their amulet in exactly the same way as the previous player, i.e. if the previous player played a 4 card, then the question mark card would act as if it were a 4 card etc. That means that card copies the card last played.
  • The ?-card may not be played as first card.
  • A player may only play the same card as the previous player if it is their last card. As long as they have a choice, they must play a different card from that played by the previous player.
  • Cards played are placed face up on the table in front of the player. Subsequent cards are placed on top of the first card. In this way all players can see which card each player played last. Once all 7 cards have been played, the players pick their cards back up and play on with the full set again.
The Stones

If an amulet reaches or passes a space with a stone on it the player must take this stone. If for example the leading amulet is moved three spaces, the player will have to take three stones. There are never any stones on the board behind the leading amulet.

Game End

Movement ends as soon as all 35 stones have been taken. Then the scores are worked out. First, the player who has taken the red stone returns it to the box, along with one dark blue stone. If the player doesn't have any blue stones, the red stone has no function. Each player must now return pale stones to the box, depending on how many dark stones they have.

1 Dark stone, return one pale stone
2 Dark stones, return 3 (1+2) pale stones
3 dark stones, return 6 (1+2+3) pale stones
4 dark stones, return 10 (1+2+3+4) pale stones
and so on

The player who has the most pale stones left after this is the winner.

Alternative layouts

The layout of the stones on the board can be altered to give a new dimension to the game of Yucata'. The layout given on the board is only one of many possibilities. A selection of ceremonial Mayan arrangements is given here:

Ceremonial layouts from Mayan history

Kintaya (Evil traps) The master of this ceremony (i.e. the winner of this game), was recognised as a skilful leader, capable of avoiding the most subtle traps (intrigues). They were accorded particular respect in Mayan society.

Monzola (Sweet figs) The fig was for the Mayas, a symbol of temptation. Those who succumbed, had to reckon with uncomfortable consequences. Only a player who managed to resist temptation had a chance of winning and so of rising to the priesthood.

Ayuno (Major leap) or Mayaya (Twins) This was a ceremony to decide on elevation to the priesthood. A candidate for the priesthood needed to complete both the Ayunito and the Ayuna ceremonies with distinction if they were to be accepted. In this way the Mayans tested the power and foresight of the candidates. Any candidate who failed the tests was permitted to repeat them as often as they wished.

Ayunito (Minor leap) This layout, along with the "Ayuno" ceremony, were the two most important tests for any candidate for the Mayan priesthood..

Tumo Zumo (Great caution) This game can only be won by a player who plays with the outmost caution throughout, without being too defensive. This ceremony was therefore used to find the best military commanders.

Zattopusta (Stormy wind) The wind blows hard, and then dies away. The winner of this game was considered worthy to join the council of the Wise.

Acuma y Taya (Water and light) The arrangement of the dark stones, suggests the "Taya", the rainbow symbol. The winner of this game was considered to be the favourite of the rain god, and so suitable to lead the water ceremonies.

Ozzi Krakra (7 black ravens)The ravens symbolise famine, and may have been a reminder of 7 years of drought at some time in the past. The winner of this game was considered worthy of the honour of carrying out the annual fertility ceremony.

Yazurika This is a random board layout.

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