While board gaming is still a fairly small niche of the hobby world, it’s made up of many smaller niches. Many of those I’ve dabbled in: war games, miniatures, 18xx, smelling like you haven’t showered in three weeks. One group I’ve never participated deals with something called Print-and-Play. These are the crazy people [I only say this because a good friend is one of these people and he’s only slightly not crazy -ed.] who spend a lot of time to handcraft beautiful copies of games released for free and posted on sites like BGG. I haven’t even been one of the lazy ones who just print everything on regular paper and tape it together with Scotch tape. Nothing in this process interested me in until I helped design a Print-and-Play game of my own, and now I think they’re the greatest thing ever. Well, this game is, at least.
The game is titled Temple of the Feathered Serpent and it promises adventure, daring, and a reason to order more ink for your printer. It’s a solo game of exploration with a bit of Indiana Jones-style flair (which just means we plagiarized quotes from the movies). Is it the best game ever? Well, no. That would still be Through the Ages. To be honest, it’s probably not even in the Top 10 games of all time. But I helped make it, so guess what I’ve been playing.
TotFS has you meandering through four levels of a Mesoamerican pyramid searching for the three lost treasures of the fabled Feathered Serpent. You’ll flip tiles to build the temple and draw Encounter cards that can be anything from thieving monkeys to deadly jaguars to tacos. Why tacos? Because they’re delicious.
Each turn you’ll take an action that costs some of your Energy, more depending on how strenuous the action is. Digging through a wall is pretty tough. Searching the tile, not so much. There are items you can find to help protect you from the jaguars that followed you into the temple, to give you back Energy, or even to capture a monkey or two. The goal is to find the three treasures and escape, but your backpack can only hold three items, so once you’re carrying those baubles, you’re a bit defenseless. The game ends when you fall unconscious, get eaten by the aforementioned jaguars, or when you leave the temple. If you manage the latter you can figure out your score based on how many treasures made it out of the temple with you.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, this isn’t a real review. Nothing that happened back at PT would be as ethically questionable as me reviewing my own game. No, this is more of a preview. While it’s a simple game without a lot (or any) strategy, I’m proud to have been a part of it (even though I was a relatively small part). If you’re bored and looking for something to do, check it out. It’s free, after all. I’m also creating a VASSAL mod for the game right now, so you’ll be able to play solo on your PC/Mac soon as well. I’ll post that link when the module goes live. For now, you can get the pdfs at the links below. You can also order the cards directly from Artscow, if you want a professionally printed deck.
Disclosure: If you didn’t notice, I’m one of the designers of Temple of the Feathered Serpent. Neither me nor the other two designers are expecting to make a cent off of this game. All the files are free to download, and we don’t make any money if you order the cards from ArtsCow, either. (Well, I don’t, at least. Not really sure how ArtsCow works). Just did it to have fun, if you can believe it. Mission accomplished.
- Temple of the Feathered Serpent files at BoardGameGeek, free
- Temple of the Feathered Serpent cards at ArtsCow, $17