Board games: Mysthea Brings Complex Strategy Without The Clutter
Enter an immersive world shattered by a crystalline meteor while battling giant monsters and fighting over floating remnants of the planet.
Mysthea is a competitive strategy game with hand management, character building, area control and combat mechanics and so much more. There is a lot to Mysthea and attempting to summarize it all in one sentence in futile. So here’s a 6 minute video attempting to summarize it all.
Mysthea is a deep and heavy strategy game so there really is a lot to cover, but let’s go over the broad strokes.
Each player takes control of a Champion, each of which has their own unique powers. The goal of every play is to have the most Glory by the end of the game. Glory is gained through a variety of means: combat, area control, random encounters, playing cards, etc…
On each player’s turn they will take a Standard Action and maybe, a Special Action. Standard Actions are your typical strategy game stuff: deploy units, movie units, play cards, etc. Special Actions are the more complicated things, like activating special items, starting a battle or even moving the floating islands around the board.
Players will build their army, gain new accessories to build and customize their character and run through random encounters throughout the game. These random encounters are drawn from a deck of cards but, like the rest of the game, lean heavily into using icons instead of words.
The player encountering the…. encounter looks at the image on the front of the card as well as the 2 icons in either corner. These icons represent the decisions of the player in this encounter. For example, the dialog balloon icon represents speaking and opening a discussion. The Boot symbol represents exploration and movement. So based on how you perceive this card and the icon options, you make a choice on how to move forward.
After you choose, flip the card over to reveal your reward. This is such a simple mechanic, but I really like it. The almost Dixit/Mysterium level of interpretation is very fun to me. Plus it opens the game up to some roleplaying, which is never bad thing.
At the end of each Era, the Event Board activates which earns each player Glory based on the areas the control. But this is also when the monsters activate. They rampage around the board wreaking havoc. It’s the one time during the game the players will have to work together or else all their armies will be wiped out.
As the Eras progress, new cards are added to the pool of cards available to the players, improving their hand and increasing their power.
At the end of the third era, the game ends and whichever Champion has accumulated the most Glory is declared the winner!
Mysthea has a lot of parts to it. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t overwhelmed when I first opened the box. Because I was. But it didn’t take long for me to realize it’s much less than it appears.
On each turn, each player is only taking one or two actions. It’s only that Mysthea offers a variety of options within each action, but not so much as to cause analysis paralysis. It’s more offering up a variety of choices on how to tackle each issue. Which is aided by the fact that each player starts with very little. So most of the action options don’t apply right away anyway. But as you grow your hand of cards, and your army and area of control, new options open up to you.
Mysthea is a fantastic blend of high-level strategy and slick, streamlined gameplay. If you’re into Scythe, Blood Rage, and the like, Mysthea will also scratch that itch.
Thanks for watching!