In Tiwanaku, players lead their tribe into unknown territory in search of new lands to cultivate, trying to explore regions and draw outlines to develop cultures according to the customs and legacies of Pachamama. They must honor the deity by respecting the principles of diversity and complementarity and seek harmony rather than conflict with nature. Tiwanaku features elements of race games, risk-taking, deduction, intuition and timing.

Each scenario disc indicates a unique arrangement of terrain tiles and crop tiles. Terrain tiles are in regions of 1-5 spaces, and a region of one color does not touch a region of the same color, even diagonally. Crop tokens have a value of 1-5, and each value has a different size/color. Two identical crop values can never be adjacent, even diagonally. On a turn, players take either an explore action or a divine action: At the end of an explore or divine action, they can hand in 1-5 offering cubes for 0-10 points. When the final terrain tile is placed on the game board, the end of the game is triggered. Starting with this player, each player in turn can take a single divine action or pass.