Players: 2-4 Play Time: 45 minutes Publisher: Alderac
Prior to Origins this year there was a game that had everyone buzzing. With an innovative “card crafting system” the likes which had never been seen before, Mystic Vale had a high standard to reach to if it was going to live up to the hype. Does Mystic Vale have the magic touch or wither away in mediocrity? Read on to find out.
In Mystic Vale a curse has been placed on the Valley of Life, so you and up to 3 other players have the role of drudic clans trying to heal the land. There is fierce competition between clans so you are trying to heal the land the best so you can have bragging rights for the rest of eternity. Maybe there is some kind of plaque erected in your honour but the rule book doesn’t give that much detail. However the powers which have caused this blight are trying to fight back and will overwhelm those who harness too much power. You need to use your magic carefully to revitalise the Valley of Life.
A players turn is separated into 4 phases. The planting phase, the harvest phase, the discard phase and the prep phase.
Planting phase: Players can choose to push their luck in order to get more mana. You can skip this step and go straight to the harvest phase or you can place the on-deck card in your field and draw a new card. As long as the card doesn’t have a spoil icon you can add it to your field. If it does have a spoil icon you must go to the discard step.
Harvest Phase: If you have not spoiled you count up your total mana and spirit symbols then you can buy up to 2 enhancement or vale cards.
Discard Phase: You then sleeve the enhancements ensuring no pictures are covered; replenish enhancements & vale cards and then all cards in your field are added to your discard pile.
Prep Phase: Draw new cards to your field until you have 3 spoil cards showing including the on-deck card.
Cards have abilities that are used in different phases so ensure you read the cards carefully. You repeat these phases until the pool of victory points is depleted. You add up on card and separate points and see who wins.
Mystic Vale promises innovation with its “Card crafting system” which certainly is a cool idea, but when I’m playing this game it just feel like any other deck builder. The art on the cards is lovely but I just find myself focuses and the symbols and trying to optimise my round that the art just passes me buy. One of the issues I have with this game is the lack of choices; even with 9 cards avaliable by the midway point there will be turns where you can’t buy anything. This is due to the fact that you can’t cover previous enhancements so you’ll just waste turns. The push your luck mechanic does mitigate this issue and is a good addition to the game.
Overall it’s not a bad game but I’d much rather play other deck builders that do the same job. The acetate cards are very difficult to shuffle and the sleeves have already started to split. I don’t get any excitement when playing and think that it’s close but not a hit for me and is an average game at best.