Review – Mythotopia
A card driven, area control game.
Year Published: 2014
Designer: Martin Wallace
Publisher: Treefrog Games
Game Time: ~90 Mins
Set-up Time: >10 Mins
Theme: Medieval Fantasy
Mechanic: Deck Building, Area Control
How to win: Once conditions have been met, have the most points at the beginning of one of your turns.
Mythotopia is a deck-building game set in a medieval fantasy world that draws on the mechanisms found in A Few Acres of Snow with players customizing their personal card decks by drafting cards and expanding into provinces.
Set Up & Game Play
Set-up can differ slightly depending on certain cards drawn so I’ll just go through the basics here.
Everyone gets pieces and cards of their colour. You take ALL the Town, 6 Army and 2 Ship tokens as your ‘Stock’ and these are available to you during the game. You put the City pieces on the Reserve card, leaving the “2” uncovered.
Put the 3 ‘Fixed’ victory point cards next to 4 ‘Random’ variable victory cards. These Random cards (Citadel, Here Be Dragons, Runestones) can change the way the game is set -up so check for those now… Also, put the number of Victory point tokens on each the card as shown.
You deal out a number of Province cards depending on the player count. For each province card you have, put a Town on the ‘Neutral Military Strength’ space (yellow number) of that province.
Lay out 16 Improvement cards. These can be bought during the game.
Players shuffle their deck and draw 5. (Player 4 draws an extra card)
On your turn you play two actions and then draw back up to 5 cards, you retain any un-played cards
The actions are…
Invade a Province – Play the card that matches the Province you are invading from, Ship cards equal to the number of Sea areas you need to cross and one card with a food symbol on it (2 if invading over Hills). You also play cards with Army symbols to see how many Army pieces you place in that Province.
Place Armies – Play cards with the Army symbol and add Army tokens from your Stock to a Provinces you control or already have Army tokens in. If you put them in a Province you do not control you must pay 1 food too.
Remove Armies – Take some or all Army tokens from a single Province back into your Stock. You cannot take tokens from a Province at War (If you are invading or Defending).
Place Ships – Put a number of Ships equal to the number of symbols played in Sea areas next to Provinces you control.
Remove Ships – Select one Sea area and return some or all Ships to your Stock.
End a War – Must be the first action you perform and cannot perform free actions before it. You can End a War you are involved in at a Province where there is a clear winner, the player with the highest Military strength wins.
Then you work out who wins…
Defender Wins – Nothing Happens, go to Battle Clean Up
Attacker Wins – Replace a Town piece in the Province and gain the Province cards from the loser. As a Province is worth 3 points the attacker gains 3 VP and the defender loses 3 points. Armies are returned to their respective players.
Buy Armies & Ships – Use Gold to buy as many as you like into your stock, limited to the number left in your pool. Armies are 1 gold, Ships cost 2 each.
Draft One Improvement Card – Can only be performed once per turn by paying 1 gold to take an improvement card and add it to your discard pile.
Play Cards into your Reserves – Save one or more cards under your reserve to play in future turns… The reserve card will shows you how many cards you can have in your reserve.
Discard Cards – Discard cards from your hand or reserve; do not redraw until the end of turn.
Remove One or Two Cards from your Deck – Place up to 2 from your hand or reserve back to where they came from. So starting Cards removed from the game, Province cards are returned to the deck (but you still control the Province) etc… You cannot go below 7 cards in your deck.
Perform a Card Action – If the card says “Action”, you can play it.
As I used the ‘Build’ card as an example of one of the many action cards, this would be a good time to mention building…
To build, you need a Province card (Where you will build), a Build card (as above) and a number of Stone icons depending on what you are building.
City – This needs 2 Stone and will replace a town on the board. As you place a City from your reserve card, this will increase your reserve limit.
Castle – For just 1 Stone you can build a Castle that will add 2 Military when defending in that province. If someone takes that province from you, the Castle stays behind.
Road – Requires 2 Stone (3 over Hills) and is built between two Provinces you control and can’t go over mountains. A Road lets you use one Province Card with another Province connected to it by a road when invading. Also, as a Free Action, may move any Army counters to any Province you control within that road network.
After building, you can take a point token from the City, Castle or Road cards if there are any left.
Now back to the regular actions…
Patronage – Pay 2 gold to gain a counter, only if this card is in play.
Pass – Just Pass
End the Game – Must be the first action you perform and cannot perform free actions before it. You need to check Victory Points before resolving this action to avoid errors.
Firstly, 4 or more Victory point cards must be empty and you MUST be winning the game taking into account future points. You resolve all current wars with ties being won by defenders, bonus points added. Use a spare marker of your colour to update your points on the point track so your score marker stays where it is, just in case.
If you’re winning, you win the game! If not, you cannot take this action so it doesn’t count and you can continue to take 2 actions this turn.
This is a nice game that has a good mix of area control, without being TOO area control… and Deck Building, without being too Deck builder-y.
It’s theme and art are quite serious and sensible but the board has place names like Fadge… which makes people giggle.
The initial distribution of your starting Provinces is quite important. You can end up all clumped together, or behind mountains nice and safe… even no where near an opponents region. Or, you could end up spread all over the place and quite vulnerable…
Also, as each Province provides a resource, you can end up with an odd distribution. Maybe you have lots of Armies but no food? No Stone to build with or no Gold to spend…
You have to look at more than just the location of these regions before deciding which ones you want to try and keep hold of.
One you get going you have a constant uphill struggle to gain new Provinces while simultaneously fending off invaders to your own Provinces. This is where picking and choosing your battles comes in to play. You might let a Province go as it’s not worth putting the resources in to protect it, but you don’t want it to go too cheaply.
This constant battling and balancing your resources along with game-to-game changes in Victory Points makes for a very fun game…
I’d suggest drafting the starting Provinces though…
A very good variation of an area control game with nice mechanics and a good overall theme and look.
I give it 7/10