Boxed Culture: Terra Mystica

The second game on our 10 x 10 was called Terra Mysitca.  In Terra Mystica you pick from over ten various fantasy races and attempt to establish dominance by peacefully colonizing the world. only catch is there is only a certain type of space your race can build on with out terraforming the planet.

The Good

The game can play pretty fast (1.5 hours for a point-salad Euro) and the different races really add a lot of replayability. Each race also has a very individualized play style. Some are based around religion, other are very good at terraforming, and some can even place buildings for free! That is a big deal on turns where building that building give you VP. Every race has its different colors as well so it is very easy to differentiate who is playing what race.

A whole mess of wooden painted pieces! I totally feel like I am a Wood Elf. Wait, I am playing Giants you say?

The game, as any point salad, offers a huge amount of variety in how you can win but most of the points are scored at the end of the game. After 6 rounds the game ends and two conditions are ranked by players. The first is the largest city and the second is everyone’s religious standing. This is where someone in the lead can be completely over taken and it can be kind of of exciting.

The Bad

This game is a point-salad Euro, “But Kyle, what does that term mean?” you ask. Well kids, a game is called a point salad when there are a huge amount of ways to score victory points! Do you want to build house this turn because each one is worth 1 vp or do you want to terraform because your race gets vp each time they terraform or maybe you want to establish religious dominance so you should build a temple to gain a religious bonus card, right? Wait, is that the best way to do each of those things? Maybe I should burn a priest to go up in religion? If I do that I won’t be able to use him again, but I will be able to get a free worker next turn due to the turn bonus. Hold on , I already have 7 workers. do I need anymore? Maybe in a few turns I need to build my fortress and that will turn workers in to priests. Oh shit! I forgot I need to save works to build as many house as  I can this turn because I get 1 vp for each. Dammit there is no spaces open for me to build and I need to use my priest to terraform.

Welcome to Analysis Paralysis Hell. This game has so many options you will likely spend the majority of the time second guessing your self the first 10 times you play, especially if you are playing with a new race each time. After a while you will get the hang of it but it really hurts the first few times. you will find your self practically brain dead after your first 3 games.

Okay, bring in the in the larger table! Sir, there is not a table big enough in the kingdom and we used all the wood to make the game pieces!

A second issues with this game is it’s footprint, it takes up a massive amount of table space. On top of this if someone bumps the table too hard expect to have to reset your player board. Who ever made this game did not understand that more components is a good thing only applies to Amerithrash (formerly ameritrash) games with mini’s, not wooden painted blocks.

The Rub

This game is great with a very competitive group who loves Euros, but make sure you are ready for a very intense thinking /numbers game and lots of tiny wood pieces. My verdict is that since someone else in my gaming group owns it, I will be trading my copy away and after 10 plays probably won’t be playing it again for a while.





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