Jessica has worked in the gaming industry for years and is striving to develop/release a game of her and her husband's design in the future.
My fiance and I are always looking for new and exciting board games. We took a chance on this one only days ago, and I must say it's is one of the best games I've ever played! There are a lot of things I love about this game. Even when I lost, I had so much fun that I wanted to play again immediately. If you haven't played Mystic Vale, now is the time to check it out. If you are looking for a game that will capture your attention, this is the game for you.
Ease to Learn
Set Up Time
Take Down Time
Concepts Behind the Game
You're a druid striving to bring back the the fertility of the Valley of Life after a spiteful king has cursed and desecrated the land. The Valley of Life is the birthplace of many spirits of nature, and when this curse descended, the spirits cried out for aid. The druid counsel heeded the call and sent forth their 4 most powerful clans:
- Beastbrothers (Red): a clan of druid that has formed a lasting bond with animals. These druids hold respect for the ways of animals including predator and prey.
- Lifewardens (Green): a clan of druid dedicated to plant life and the power of growth and harmony of nature.
- Dawnseekers (Yellow): Druids that devoted themselves to watching the sky and measuring the time. Often this clan will rise and set with the sun but some choose to stay up to see the end of one day and the beginning of the next.
- Waveguards (Blue): Preferring to dwell near the streams, rivers, lakes and oceans this druid clan has dedicated themselves to water. They are able to predict the weather with a single drop of rain.
(Each deck contains the same number and amount of cards.)
As a druid, your power is tied to the land; the land is your deck. You'll go through a series of phases to complete a turn. During these phases, you will choose to take risks or play it safe, get advancements, collect spirits, and gain Vales.
As your turns progress, you'll get more powerful advancements that you'll be able to combine in different ways every single time you play. The more growth you accumulate, the more powerful you become.
Each deck consists of 20 cards that you'll be able to customize as the game progresses. The starting cards are 8 blank cards, 3 fertile soils, and 9 cursed lands. Shuffle your deck (thoroughly) and lay it face down in front of you.
The commons contains the advancements available to you.
- First, you take out all the fertile soils and place them in a separate deck; these'll be available during any turn.
- Deal out 3 advancements from each tier (shown below) and 4 from each tier of Vale.
The amount of VP tokens is based on how many players are in the game. These are set aside at the beginning, and when they are all dispersed signifies the end of the game.
Setup of VP Tokens
Starting Fields Setup:
You'll always have 20 cards in your deck, and they will be in one of 4 places: in your deck, in the discard pile, on-deck or in your field. Each player will make a starting field following 4 steps:
- Shuffle your 20 card deck and place it face down in front of you.
- Turn over the top card in your deck and place it face up on your deck. This is your on-deck card.
- Place your on-deck card into play this is the start of your first field. Now turn over a new on-deck card.
- Repeat steps 1–3 until you have two Cursed Lands in your field and a third one on-deck.
Deciding First Player:
The way this game decides first player is extremely unique. Each player gets a Mana Token, and one of them has a star on the back. Shuffle randomly and hand them out to all players. Whoever ends up with the star mana token is first player.
How to Play: Taking a Turn
These phases must be followed in order. See the examples in the photos above.
1. Planting Phase
You already have your first starting field laid out in front of you with two decays in the field and one on-deck card, time to choose to either pass or push. If you pass go directly to your harvest phase. If you push place your on-deck card into your field and turn up a new on-deck card. If this card contains a decay symbol then you spoil and take all your cards in your field and put them into your discard pile. Flip up the mana symbol as a consolation for spoiling and start off the next turn with 1 mana. Now it is the next players turn.
2. Harvest Phase
If you didn't spoil during your Planting Phase then you are now free to move onto the Harvest Phase. Now you count up all of your mana symbols, spirit symbols, VP tokens and resolve any Harvest abilities listed on the cards in your field (don't count any symbols or abilities listed on your on-deck card). This can be done in any order but the game does suggest that you go about this a certain way as you cannot use symbols acquired during this turn.
Now you purchase advancements using your mana tokens, Vales with your spirit symbols and collect any VP tokens listed on the left hand side of the card. (There are VP tokens listed in gray on the right side of some cards, these are collected at the end of the game)
3. Discard Phase
You now sleeve all the advancements you've purchased this turn and replenish Vale cards and advancement cards within The Commons. Place all your cards in your field into your discard pile to the left hand side of your deck (don't discard your on-deck card as this will be the first card in your new field next turn).
4. Prep Phase
This game allows you to start your Prep Phase while the next player is beginning their turn although this is not required and you may choose for each player to wait. Place your on-deck card into your field and follow the steps listed above in the 'Set Up Your Starting Fields' section.
End of the Game
When the VP tokens have run out, finish the round you are currently on until all players have had an equal number of turns (determine this by who holds the first player mana token). If a player would still gain VP tokens after they've all been dispersed, take the VP tokens out of the box and disperse them as normal.
Players now count up their points in Vales, VP tokens, and VPs listed on the right side of the cards in gray. The player with most points wins the game. In case of a tie, the player with the most 2nd and 3rd advancements is the winner. If a tie still remains, then the players share the win.