The shamans from several different tribes all come together for their yearly reunion. But this time is different: in the first night, everyone shares the same ominous vision. In their dream, an oracle appears announcing a long drought.
All tribes are affected and are in grave danger! Only the best shaman will be able to prevent the drought. To find the best shaman, the oracle challenges them to a contest to put their powers to the test: they have to find mystic symbols and cover them with oracle stones according to specific rules.
Players take up the role as the shamans and try to master the oracle's challenges as best they can. Only the shaman who best masters the oracle's challenges after seven days is powerful enough to prevent the drought and win the game.
- 1 Two-sided game board
- 6 Player boards
- 27 Oracle cards
- 9 Position cards
- 48 Oracle stones
- 30 Tiles Of Disfavor
- 6 Shaman stones
- 1 Day tile
- 30 Number tiles
- 1 Hourglass.
Object of the Game
Players take up the role as shamans, playing simultaneously against one another.
Who will be able to master the oracle's challenges over 7 days using the fewest oracle stones?
Only the quickest player who doesn't fall into disfavor with the oracle can win the game after seven rounds.
Place the game board on the table facing up (with the field for the position cards on the left-hand side) well within everyone's reach.
Lay the day tile on the grey circle in the box on the left of the game board and have the hourglass ready. Each player receives:
8 oracle stones
5 tiles of disfavor in the player's color, and
1 shaman stone, also in the player's color, which each player puts on field 0 of the score track on the game board. Once placed on the game board, each player chooses a player board.
Tip: In a game with 2 to 4 players, you can create identical playing conditions if you want by selecting 4 player boards showing the same pattern (2 of the boards are a mirror image).
Of course, the player boards can also be distributed among the players at random.
Sort the oracle cards according to their backside (see the example sheet for more information on the oracle cards). The basic game requires only the novice cards with the grey bird on the back .
Remove the novice cards that have 1 or 2 oracle stones and put them on the 3rd and 4th field in the upper row on the game board. Now shuffle separately the remaining novice cards and position cards, and put them in 2 piles next to the game board.
- Lay oracle cards and position card on the game board
- Place oracle stones
- Double-check and move the shaman stones forward
- End of round
1. Lay oracle cards and position card
Move the day tile one field to the right (except for the first round). To start each round, take the top position card and lay it on the left field of the game board with the side with the three oracle stones facing up.
This position card is the 1st challenge of the oracle; it shows the formation in which 3 of your oracle stones must be laid on your player board.
Pick up the top 4 novice cards from the pile and put them on the lower row of the game board from left to right (fields with ), destined for the oracle cards.
If there are not enough cards left in the pile, shuffle all the novice cards and from the newly shuffled pile, take 4 cards, laying them on the lower row. The oracle cards and position cards are explained in more detail in the example sheet.
The fields on the right side of the game board with the light-colored birds are empty for the basic game and only come into play in the advanced game variations.
Example for the oracle's challenges:
2. Place Oracle Stones
As soon as the oracle challenges are set, someone gives the command to begin. Everyone tries to complete each of the oracle's challenges on his player board with as few oracle stones as possible.
If you think you've completed all the challenges, call out "done" and turn over the hourglass. Once the hourglass has been turned over, all the other players have only as much time as the hourglass permits to complete all the challenges.
Be sure before calling out "done", because once you've said, "done", you can no longer make any changes to your player board.
Note: Copying others is not allowed! Each field may be occupied by a single oracle stone only.
If you need to, you can put all your oracle stones on your player board, but the fewer stones you use, the better.
Tip: You might find it helpful to rotate your player board in different positions.
3. Double-check and Move the Shaman Stones
Once the sand has passed through the hourglass, no one can lay down stones or move them around on the player board.
Player for player, each player board is examined to see how many challenges each player completed and how many oracle stones were needed.
Begin with the first challenge from left to right: whoever didn't manage to complete the challenge, has to lay one of his tiles of disfavor in the corresponding points box above the challenge. Repeat for each challenge, moving from left to right.
Once each player board has been checked for each challenge, all tiles of disfavor placed in the points boxes are counted for each player.
Then the number of oracle stones used on the player boards are added to the point total for each player, and the player's corresponding shaman stone is moved along the track of disfavor according to the point total.
Once moved, players retrieve all their tiles of disfavor from the game board.
Note: Always first add up all the disfavor points (errors + number of used oracle stones), and then move your shaman stones along the track of disfavor.
You will always fall into disfavor in each round. The player in the least amount of disfavor at the end of the game wins.
Example of counting scoreL
Jasmine didn't place her oracle stones on her player board in the same formation as shown on the position card. She, therefore, puts one of her tiles of disfavor in the points box above the card
She successfully completed the 2nd and 3rd challenges: exactly 1 oracle stone is on a field with a cactus, and exactly 2 oracle stones are on fields with red stripes. For these challenges, she doesn't have to put any tiles of disfavor in the corresponding points boxes.
For the 4th challenge, Jasmine has more than one stone in the corner fields of the player board and has to put another tile of disfavor in the corresponding points box
Jasmine was able to complete the 5th challenge (2 oracle stones on fields with a gecko). She counts up all her disfavor: She has 6 points of disfavor for the tiles of disfavor and another 5 points for the number of oracle stones on her player board.
Jasmine then moves her shaman stone 11 spaces forward along the track of disfavor.
4. End of Round
Once everyone has moved his shaman stone forward, the round is over. Pick up the position card from the game board and put it back into the box. Remove the 4 oracle cards from the lower row of the game board.
Players remove their oracle stones from their player boards and have them ready for the next round. The next round can begin following the order of play as described above.
Note: Both oracle cards with the one and two oracle stones in the upper row stay on the game board.
Increasing the Level of Difficulty
Here's how you can add multiple levels of difficulty for the challenges:
The game proceeds as described above with the following changes: Remove the oracle cards that have either 1 or 2 oracle stones from the game. Shuffle the novice cards and randomly lay 6 of them on the fields of the game board destined for the oracle cards .
Leave the first two fields in the upper row with the 1 and 2 printed oracle stones empty. This increases the complexity of the challenges, as some challenges no longer have oracle stones.
The game proceeds as described above in the basic game and in level 1, and includes the following changes: Now the intermediate cards with the light-colored birds on the back also come into play.
Shuffle the intermediate cards and randomly lay 4 of them on the challenge fields with the light-colored birds . Now there are 7 challenges to complete. You can also turn over the position card so that 4 oracle stones are showing.
Tip: You can also play Xalapa by yourself. Simply keep track of all your points of disfavor for each game on a piece of paper and compare your score from game to game to see if you can top your previous high score.
The game proceeds as described above in the basic game and in level 2, and includes the following changes: Lay the expert cards with 1 or 2 oracle stones on the two challenge fields with the light-colored birds in the upper row on the right-hand side of the game board .
They stay on the board throughout the entire game. Replace the intermediate cards with the expert cards, placing them on the two fields in the lower row.
To make it even more difficult, you can also include the cards with 1 or 2 oracle stones in the pile of expert cards, shuffling them together. Now challenges can arise that don't have any oracle stones.
The game follows the same rules as in the basic game with the following changes: Remove the cards with oracle stones and put them back into the game box. Shuffle the expert and novice cards together.
Now randomly lay 6 of these cards on the game board (for challenges 2 to 5). Leave the fields with the printed 1 and 2 oracle stones empty. For the last two challenges, use intermediate cards as in level 2. Agree on which side of the position card to use.
The game follows the same rules as in the basic game with the following changes: All oracle cards can be combined to form new challenges! So simply play without oracle cards with 1 or 2 oracle stones being first laid on the game board.
Instead, shuffle these cards into the card pile. You can also shuffle all oracle cards together and create the challenges from these cards; you can even cover up the printed oracle cards with new cards.
You may even end up with challenges that consist of two oracle cards with oracle stones:
At least 3 stones must be laid on the player board.
Challenges can also be solved with zero oracle stones.
The same number of stones must be laid on red fields as on fields with a gecko. That can also be 0 stones on red and 0 on gecko fields!
Note: Some rounds can be rather easy, since some challenges can also be solved with 0 stones.
But some rounds can also be quite difficult; especially if you mix novice, intermediate, and expert cards together.
End of the Game
The game is over after the 7th day (7 rounds) when the day tile comes to rest on the last field. The player in the least amount of disfavor wins.
Tip: To even the playing field for beginners when playing with more advanced players, you can lay oracle cards on the right side of the game board on the corresponding fields for the advanced players.
The beginners have to complete only the first 5 challenges, while the advanced players have to complete all 7.