From Tabula games we got the complete set of Mysthea, Icaion and Mysthea the Fall to review. Other then that it were heavy games and they had a lot of figurines, we didn’t really knew much about those games. But as soon as we did the unboxing of both board games and started to play Mysthea, we were really excited to find out what these games were going to bring to the table!

How to Play.

We found that the first playthrough of this game is quite a lot. Take your time, read the rulebook well because it’s well written and use your reference sheets. Things will get more clear after you’ve played an entire Era. For the setup I recommend to follow the guidelines from the rulebook as it is really well explained and shown with pictures.

If you have placed the setup on the table, you are ready to begin. Mysthea has five islands with separate regions you can concur and keep to score glory points. You are going to play three ‘Era’s’ and try and get the most glory points to win the game. Each Era is divided into three phases. The beginning of an Era, during of an Era and end of an Era. If you start with the first Era, do the following things: Take the Era deck with the corresponding number and place the first three cards face up. Take the monster miniature of the correct Era from the event board and place it on the island that matches the icon of the monster card, also shuffle the monster card in the event deck and see who is the first player.
If you are in phase one of Era two or three, you do a couple more things. If your champion is wounded, he/she will be fully restored, your fortifications go back to your player board and any claimed attunement cards go back to the game board. Also take back the cards from your discard pile, charge your artefact and determine the order of play by the most glory points.

Phase two is where you plan your strategy. You have to do one standard action on your turn. You can play a card from your hand, you can buy a card (develop) or you can meditate. If you play a card you gain the command points on that card, with that you can construct/ deploy your troops or move them or your champion. You can also upgrade your troops or champions with a card if you pay the cost of energy points and or command points. You can develop, this means you can buy cards from the Era deck for energy and place them in your hand. You can also meditate. If you meditate, you immediately gain three energy. But you also get all the bonuses for the regions you have power over.
You can also perform one special action. You can activate one of the cards on your player board to use the effect of the card. You can start a battle with another player by discharging your artefact. You can even move an island to where your champion is standing and perform an attunement card to get the bonus. And you can also face an encounter with your hero to get extra resources. With every turn a new card from the event board is turned face up, if there are five region cards face up, the players perform their last turn.

In phase three you solve every event card that is face up. For every region card, you get extra glory point according to the regions you control. If you solve a storm card, you ignore the glory points and you move all the monsters one island clockwise. If you solve a monster card, you also ignore the glory points. The monster will then attack all the units on the island it stands. If you defeat the monster, either together or alone, you will get more glory points and the monster will be defeated. It will move to the next island. If the monster is stronger then your units on the island, you choose a region on the island the monster was attacking and remove your units back to your player board.
If you solved all the event cards, the Era is complete and you either go to the next Era, or finish the game and count the glory points.

Playtrough of the game

After playing Mysthea for the first time, we were tired, but satisfied. You can play this game in so many ways to score the glory points you need and because you get a random character and cards, each game will be different. We like that it’s mostly competitive, but you can still choose to fight the boss together, or even place one sneaky unit on a region to get a bonus from the fight without to much risk.

The rulebook of Mysthea is really well written and every card is explained. But you don’t have to grab the rulebook every five minutes of your first game because Tabula Games made sure each player has it’s own reference sheets, not only for the cards, but also for the second phase. Also the look and feel of this game is amazing. The miniatures have a really good quality and the cards and all the boards and cards are pretty thick and feel good in your hand. What we also like is, the game setup is huge, but there is almost nothing that doesn’t have a space on one of the boards itself. The longer you play, the more awesome it looks on the table because you will deploy more miniatures.

Final thougts.

Mysthea is an amazing strategic area control board game, with high quality miniatures and components. The first time you play it can be a little overwhelming but with each Era, Mysthea gets easier. There is many ways to play and win this game and the thought and attention for detail the developers put in this game is awesome. Mysthea is definitely a new addition to our top three personal best board games.

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