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Subject: Another under-rated game -- don't be fooled: It's awesome! rss

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Michael Brands
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Mythotopia Review

After a few plays of Mythotopia, and in comparing this with having played many, many other hobby games, I conclude Mythotopia is yet another under-rated game -- which, nonetheless, is awesome!

On the one hand, I wonder if the under-rated nature of the general response to this game is yet another reflection of the “dumbing down” of hobby gaming. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against shorter, smaller, easier, simpler, faster – etc., etc., etc. There is a whole category of games devoted to this: Gateway games. But, IMHO, “sorry,” these are not the hobby games which should constitute the core of hobby gaming. Unfortunately, the mad craze for more Gateway games as the great new salvation for those concerned simply with big-number sales is definitely dumbing down this hobby. Games like Mythotopia don’t get rated as highly on that kind of a scale or in that kind of an environment. But if you’re looking for a great hobby game, Mythotopia is one – and here’s why.

Hobby games, I think, need to combine real strategic decision-making, with real thematic experience, on a level that is at least a little deeper than Gateway games – and many of the best do so to a greater extent or on a deeper level than that. Among them, Mythotopia does this in spades!

To return to my first question above for another moment, the under-rated phenomenon can often possibly have to do with one of the most prominent dynamics which I have found within hobby gaming culture itself. I often get the impression that playing hobby games is the second-most-preferred hobby of many hobby gamers: Their first-preferred hobby often seems to be bashing hobby games. Yes, that’s right. Sure, call it careful discerning game criticism, if you have the guts to try staking out that argument. Sorry, IMHO, hobby gaming criticism is about as successful at criticizing hobby games as literary criticism is in criticizing classic literary masterpieces: It’s not! So, here’s my review of Mythotopia in terms of the most important strengths which this game features so well.

The deck-building aspect is as strategic and intriguing as any deck-building game, and more than most, especially in that it alsdo includes strategic deck-management and reserving cards for future use.
The way in which this deck-building game is as much or more a board game is brilliant. At the same time, it is a card-driven board game – a dynamic I find simply fascinating, with nearly endless possibilities…
There are many potential strategies to explore in this game – which also makes for great replay value.
And with all of that, you can play this game still in a couple hours or so, which makes it one of the best moderate-level hobby games I can recommend.
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Ægir Æxx
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I agree with you.

The biggest complaint about the game I've heard around the camp fire is how the 'end-game' mechanic works. Games can drag out as people try to claim victory. For me though, it's not an issue. With repeated plays you learn that building roads and thinning your deck is the key to victory.

MW's deck building mechanic( the one from AFAOS) is awesome. The fact that no two games will ever have the exact same setup is brilliant and gives the game added replay value.

My favorite MW game since Brass.
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Jack Francisco
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ChillusMaximus wrote:
thinning your deck is the key to victory.

This is pretty much the key to any game with a deck-building mechanic...efficiency.
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chris thatcher
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We played recently 3 player, it was great.

We did use following house rules.

We drafted provinces
We used the score track only for province vp's, vp chips were secret.
4th vp card cleared everyone has one more turn and game ends, end wars, score vp.

It took us 3 hours first play, we felt it ended just at right point.

But the simplicity of the game play, the options ect is awesome, plays great 2-4, fantastic game, and available cheap now.
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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drquest777 wrote:
Unfortunately, the mad craze for more Gateway games as the great new salvation for those concerned simply with big-number sales is definitely dumbing down this hobby. Games like Mythotopia don’t get rated as highly on that kind of a scale or in that kind of an environment.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with its poor rating. If you look at the BGG top 20 or even top 100 for that matter there are precious few gateway games to be found. The list is dominated by heavier and more complex gamer's games. As Chillus Maximus noted the vast majority of complaints are related to endgame issues and some feeling the theme was a bit pasted on.

That aside, thanks for adding the positive review for Mythotopia. How many games have you played thus far and at what player counts?
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Jake Staines
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NuMystic wrote:

As Chillus Maximus noted the vast majority of complaints are related to endgame issues and some feeling the theme was a bit pasted on.

To be fair, I think the comlaints about endgame issues are more likely to come from a 'lighter' kind of gamer. I've played most of my games of Mythotopia just against my partner, who generally doesn't prefer heavier games; she finds the turn-after-turn struggle for a single point or two in the endgame really off-putting, while I find it a... little frustrating sometimes? I do think it's a bit of a problem with the design, but I do also think that the negative reaction to it is more overblown than it probably would have been ten years ago. I do get the impression that hobby gamers used to be more tolerant of games that don't have a definite wrap-up mechanism to prevent close games going on a long time.

(As to the theme, I think "pasted on" is completely the wrong term, the theme fits the game very well... it's just bland and not very compelling.)
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Bichatse wrote:
To be fair, I think the comlaints about endgame issues are more likely to come from a 'lighter' kind of gamer.

Most die hard Wallace fans are hardly "lighter" gamers and that's exactly who rushed out to pre-order this and were the first to raise the issue. Mythotopia isn't even on the radar of most light gamers.

Bichatse wrote:
I do also think that the negative reaction to it is more overblown than it probably would have been ten years ago. I do get the impression that hobby gamers used to be more tolerant of games that don't have a definite wrap-up mechanism to prevent close games going on a long time.

The majority of the biggest titles in 1995 were games with clearly fixed end game conditions. (El Grande, Medici, Modern Art, We The People, etc.)

I don't know many regardless of their weight preference or how long they've been in the hobby who are fans of titles likely to seriously drag out in the end game.


Bichatse wrote:
As to the theme, I think "pasted on" is completely the wrong term, the theme fits the game very well... it's just bland and not very compelling.

Perhaps but it is the term being used. (was just reporting not sharing an opinion)

For many pasted on doesn't necessarily mean the theme doesn't fit. It implies that the playing of the game doesn't have a strong thematic feel. Where it could just as easily be any other theme and it wouldn't change the experience of the gameplay for most people in any significant way.

Unless it's a rare game where theme is the primary driver of the experience, for me mechanics and gameplay matter more than anything. I'd buy "Drying Paint: The Board Game" if it was a strong enough design mechanically.
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M M
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This is a review? Sounds like a comment on bgg.
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Brian Baird
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Bichatse wrote:

To be fair, I think the comlaints about endgame issues are more likely to come from a 'lighter' kind of gamer.

As NuMystic says, I think you're completely wrong on that one. The guys I played this with are long time Wallace fans, eat 18xx for breakfast, etc etc. Player's preference for light/heavy isnt' causing the endgame criticism.

The endgame fell completely flat with us in a 3 player game, dragging out for far too long until one player passed his turn to give the win to another player.

I like the intent of the end-game, but in practice, it feels like it forces stalemates until someone gets just enough of a bad card draw.
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David Espada
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fenners wrote:
[q="Bichatse"]
I like the intent of the end-game, but in practice, it feels like it forces stalemates until someone gets just enough of a bad card draw.

Can you tell us which is the "intent" of end-game? I am interested in playing game and, perhaps, search for alternative end without compromising game spirit.

Thank you.
 
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Aaron Gelb
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Sound a like there are some house rules out there...does anyone play with a finite ending condition?

I'd be interested in this game if I knew it wouldn't run 3+ hours and have a lackluster finish.

7.0 ain't a bad rating by any means, but compared to the number of GREAT deck building/area control games out there (hands in the sea, Tyrants of Underdark, etc) it's not as appealing.

Anyone know how A Handful of Stars will compare? Fix the issues Mythotopia has?
 
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DavidSh
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+1 for that, would be glad to get updated opinions as I am considering buying Mythotopia now.

asgelb wrote:
Sound a like there are some house rules out there...does anyone play with a finite ending condition?

I'd be interested in this game if I knew it wouldn't run 3+ hours and have a lackluster finish.

7.0 ain't a bad rating by any means, but compared to the number of GREAT deck building/area control games out there (hands in the sea, Tyrants of Underdark, etc) it's not as appealing.

Anyone know how A Handful of Stars will compare? Fix the issues Mythotopia has?
 
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David Espada
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rousett wrote:
+1 for that, would be glad to get updated opinions as I am considering buying Mythotopia now.

It is very easy using Mythotopia without ending problems, like A Handful of Stars. When the objective of scoring cards is completed by one player, the rest have an extra turn and then all of them one more turn and the game is finished.

In Mythotopia the timer are the scoring cards. In A Handful of Stars is the suffle track. The only "problem" of Mythotopia (only with more than two players) is the very open ending.

They have different feelings. I like Mythotopia very much for what it is. Buy limited edition with wood components, for a better experience
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