Redeemed! We played this several months ago and stumbled into an endgame situation that’s been pretty well documented on bgg: basically, you can’t end the damned thing. The first 2/3 of the game is an awesome deck-building area-control thing (it’s based on A Few Acres of Snow), and the last move just can’t be executed.
Well, so, that did not happen on a second play! I shelved Mythotopia in disgust/dismay after that awful first go and it was, dunno, grim curiosity that got me to open it back up.
This happens all the damned time with rpgs and so it should not have surprised me! One play of the game exposes a sequence or procedure or property that you need to avoid in the future, but you can’t know it’s there until you step in it. Is that bad design? No idea. Sometimes! Discovering the WoD death spiral the first time, yeah, that’s bad design. Discovering you’ve written bad Beliefs in Burning Wheel? Learn to step around that and the game opens up.
Anyway: Mythotopia. Good game after that first really bad game. Highly repeatable! And a nice game for three players.
14 thoughts on “Mythotopia”
How exactly did you avoid its horrible end game?
Well, a couple things.
First, just knowing it’s possible actually helped a lot! That moderated our chase to empty out the victory point cards, and believe it or not that had a major impact. So more of the game became about territory rather than chasing VP tokens. That was surprisingly important.
Second, there’s an Improvement card called Reserve Army that I hadn’t seen before. That had a major impact on play. Not that that comes up every time of course. But between knowing about the endgame and the presence of that card, we had it wrapped up with a clear winner in under 90 minutes.
Wallace is such an interesting designer.
He is! I still absolutely adore first edition A Study in Emerald. That and Mythotopia are the only two of his that I own. I love the look of Onward to Venus so that might be next. I guess Steam is classic must-play but choochoos just do not do it for me.
I might seriously have to revisit Emerald; gave it a shot with Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel and Emily DeLisle a while back, and we were not fans.
(Of course, this was right after a COIN binge, so perhaps it just doesn’t compare favorably to them?)
I think that ASIE endgame is something you either dig or haaaaayte.
I wonder if all of Wallace’s games have funky/iconoclastic endgames?
Endings are hard. Just ask Neal Stephenson.
Have you written about the WoD death spiral anywhere? I’m not familiar but would be interested in reading about it.
Struggle of Empires is my favorite Wallace game. But even better (so I guess that makes it my favorite) is the retheme of Struggle that Wallace did for the rerelease of Conquest of the Empire. It streamlined a lot of fiddly bits and was basically Struggle of Empires 2.0 super elegant, super fun. One of my all time favorites.
Paul Beakley if you don’t know that game, you should.
So this? Interesting that Drover and Wallace are both on it. So you’re saying the Wallace rules are the ones to play?
The other is just a reskin of Conquest of the Empire…which is a pretty cool game on its own, basically a niftier, Roman version of Axis & Allies. But Struggle is the better of the two.
I just picked up the game for £12 (new!) and we had a two player player game yesterday. We both enjoyed it and it certainly makes you think about how you could have done better in so many different ways.
Was calling one of the provinces Fadge a Martin Wallace gag? It certainly opened up the game to some sniggers.