If you haven’t played Teo at all, check out my review on why this game is amazing, but not for everyone. If you enjoy it, but want a few thoughts on strategies then here are my observations – again though, this reflects my plays which whilst many are not exhaustive in such a complex game:
During the Game:
Non-Resource Income; The placement of dice / workers for income means that you don’t take an action. This is fine in cases where you are building up dice in a position to then take a bigger action later (hopefully after other players move out!) but watch out for doing this in a space with resources as the dice’s pip value could have a knock on effect to your future benefit from that space. For me, take income in the non-resource boards and be more purposeful with the resource block moves
Build the Pyramid; I said it in the review, and I will say it again. the points for building the pyramid (particularly in the first round) are huge. Each pyramid build will also give you 4 points at the end of that round. No doing this will significantly cost you and there isn’t really enough scope to build an engine for the future – you have to score points every round! Leading in the pyramid is also 4 points bonus (for frankly something you want to do anyway!)
Alley of the Dead; There are counter structures in the game – the alley of the dead should be countered by the reduction of the value if players build houses, but the rewards for houses are much more limited (especially beyond the first 2 in each level of that track). Therefore on the balance I believe that a strategy which regularly kills of your dice is more effective than holding them for a more powerful action (and using the houses to decrease other players scores). This is of course dependent on the order of the map!
Decorating for the Temple; I think the decorations strategy can be a game winner, but its not quite as effective as the pyramid. Where it works is to get the temple bonus as well. Look out for the opportunity to move your primary temple forward or to go two steps at the same time. Getting up the temple (normally only one but some times two) is a huge score and mainly achieved through decoration.
Primary Temples; You will probably only get to the top of one temple, so my preference is to get to the top of the blue or the top of the green, and then get as far up the red as possible. I see this as the best combination of victory points albeit completing the red is a massive bonus when you can achieve it. You will need a bit of luck when building or a bit of decorating skill to get to two (or even three) temples completed. If you go for decorating, hitting all three pyramids is probably enough to beat the builder.
Worship; Locking in the dice in a space seems really pointless to me. You will end up passing a turn to get them back and the movement is not particularly powerful. I would say you could use it for masks but I don’t think they score enough either! So the only time to do this for me, is at the end of the game to go up the temple track and hit the final objectives.
Building Tech; There are not many techs that I recommend but the building one does seem overpowered to me. The ability to get an extra dice (which significantly increases the amount of tiles you can build) and the bonus of an extra resources of either wood or stone, seems extremely powerful during the game. Get this early, and make a lot of points by building more than anyone else can. To me, the rest of the tech is not great – except if you go all in on decorations and then it is worth getting the tech for bonus points when decorating!
Cocoa; Manage it closely but you should always have enough for the good move opening up – for me that means you want to have always the number of players in cocoa so that you can go to any space if it’s important enough! However, I would manage it pretty close to the wire. Early game I also tend to get 5 cocoa from the worker death. This is an efficient way to gain cocoa without costing board position or other key factors to your strategy.
Spread out vs Concentrate; The power of a number of dice in one spot is most keenly felt when gathering resources but try to then spread out. Moving as a pact around the board is costly and leaves you stuck to one single strategy. Spreading out significantly reduces the risk of being tied in during a single turn and will help you to collect cocoa at opportune moments around the board. On balance, I would try to keep spread out except when gathering stone and then building.
Avoid Initial Temple; At the start of the game, one of the temple colours may appear multiple times on the built tiles that start the pyramid – avoid this temple! This temple is now far harder to complete and will depend on luck. I would change strategies on preferred temples solely for this reason!