Monday, June 3, 2013

A FemElephant Pictorial Quick-Review of Terra Mystica

Terra Mystica
Z-Man Games
2-5 Players
30 minutes per player

Terra Mystica involves heavy resource management and strategic advanced planning as you Terraform the environment to suit your race, grow in power and take over the map by creating structures and towns.
In this game, blue has completed three towns and yellow has completed 2 towns.

Terra Mystica is a game for a more advanced player who is familiar with Euro games, but it isn't so difficult that you can't enjoy your first game. The publisher has done a fantastic job on an incredibly detailed rule-book and also included an action tile quick reference. This was all very helpful while we were learning the game, and for teaching others. Everyone that we have taught have greatly enjoyed playing their first time.  

You receive points throughout the game by fulfilling the action on the scoring tiles,

creating a town, (which includes an additional benefit as well)

 and fulfilling the special action for your race.



(On the Halfling's player board we see that they receive
1 point for each spade they use to transform a terrain space.)

Throughout the game there are many decisions to make with a lot of repercussions. You may want to focus on a structure that will benefit your race the most,  or you may want to concentrate on the structures that score victory points this round.

For example, I am trying to decide whether I should build a trade house or a temple.
The temple will gain me a Favor tile and a priest for the next round, both of which can help my race achieve things and advance my race on a cult track. 


I must consider if building the trade house could give me points this round, help me to complete a town or build another structure and if the power and coins revealed on my player board benefit me next round...

Can I afford to place a dwelling back on my player board,
potentially losing a worker for next round?

If I build a tradehouse I will reveal power and money for collection at the beginning of the next round, but I will also return a dwelling to the board, resulting in one less worker being collected. Tough decisions have to be made.

Should I spend the workers and coins now, or should I save them for the next round? Do I need to pass so that I can get my choice of bonus cards and a better chance at power actions or surrounding land next round?

This is, of course, the tip of the iceberg. I haven't mentioned all of the structures, or the use of cult tracks and power which are both large parts of the game. 

End game victory points are rewarded for the most connected structures of your race and your advancement on the four cult tracks.

Thanks to the random placement of the score tiles and bonus tiles, along with the variety of races with unique special abilities, there is an endless potential for variety, providing a different experience each play.

You may want to know that the races can also be a negative aspect, as it seems some are easier to use, some are more difficult, and some are just plain more or less powerful than others. The advantage of some of the races' abilities is also affected by the number of players.

Terra Mystica is always satisfying. I really enjoy a game like this in which you are making progress toward a goal and accomplishing something without luck or other players destroying all of your hard work. In that respect it reminds me a little of Village. Win or lose I walk away thinking, "That was a great game!"

I give Terra Mystica an 11, because not only will I never turn down a game, I often think about how I wish I was playing it instead of another one.

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