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Terra Mystica» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Is This What I've Been Waiting For? rss

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Matthew Bartlett
United States
Connecticut
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When I first got into the realm of designer board games, one of those games which I was told about was Settlers of Catan. Everyone raved about it, calling it one of the best board games ever designed. And while I can appreciate what it did for the hobby, when I played it, I was just bored due to some of the mechanics of gameplay. I did not like the idea of depending of dice to get my resources for me.

But then, I heard about Terra Mystica. Friends had told me that it was a different type of Settlers of Catan, a more involved version of the game. I watched a few videos of the game and read reviews and finally decided to try it.

Terra Mystica does what I felt Settlers of Catan should have done. I loved the idea of taking resource management and board manipulation as being the crux of the game while having to realize that there was more to it than that. Upgrading your buildings takes time and effort to do so, and you only have so much time in this game. You have to pay attention to the turn bonuses and the cult tracks. You have to pay attention to what the consequences are your actions not only for the rest of the turn, but for the rest of the game.

The choice of upgrading your buildings comes at an enormous cost of workers or magic or gold, all of which effect the rest of the game. And while, on the surface, the game seems non-confrontational, it becomes a race to out think your friends very quickly.

Terra Mystica is not only about building the best town and civilization, it is about ensuring that your opponent does not. When it comes to bridges and the work which goes into the building of a bridge, you and your opponent both need that resource. It all depends no who gets there first. Controlling the board means controlling your own magic and vice versa.

Now I know there are people out there who complain that the game has no theme, and I have to slightly agree with them. I have not played the expansion so I am not sure if there is some theme in there. But this game forces you to think about what you're going to do. This game gives you choices that force you to plan out your moves not only three turns ahead, but looking towards the end of the round for the bonuses. Take the theme away and you have an intelligent game.

The game also beats you up, but it only does so if you, I repeat you, make the wrong decisions at the wrong time. The game doesn't really play you, but it will force you to live with the decision you made and it can make, or break, you.

Overall, Terra Mystica is an incredible game full of strategy that I find to be everything I was looking for in Settlers of Catan. I have said to many of my friends, that if you liked Settlers of Catan, you would enjoy Terra Mystica.
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Robin Zigmond
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Durham
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I utterly loathe Catan. A total luckfest, and unpleasant to boot. Whereas Terra Mystica is the best game I have ever played (I've played nearly 400, and there are at least 20 that I love, but none as much as TM).
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Guro Bjerkan
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I enjoyed Catan when I first played it and I still enjoy it (but primarily with the Cities & Knights expansion, which gives you more options to mitigate dice rolls if you upgrade the right type of metropole), but yeah, Terra Mystica completely has it beat. I love that it's pure strategy and I don't care that the theme isn't super strong. I'm a mechanics first, theme second kind of girl, and the mechanics in this game are solid. It's one of my, if not my absolute favourite game so far
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Craig Liken
New Zealand
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Although I can see the similarities, they are quite different beasts. I love TM but it you put it in front of someone who had never played a designer board game a tried to explain it then i'd hate to see what would happen. settlers is much lighter and more accessible.

Not sure tney are really servimg the same market.
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Paul Schroeder

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liken@xtra.co.nz wrote:
Although I can see the similarities, they are quite different beasts. I love TM but it you put it in front of someone who had never played a designer board game a tried to explain it then i'd hate to see what would happen. settlers is much lighter and more accessible.

Not sure tney are really servimg the same market.


Totally agree, I really wonder if the basis for thinking they are similar is because they both involve a building theme, use the almost standard euro game pieces, and happen to both be very popular. I would describe Terra Mystica as more similar to chess than catan for players with limited board game experience.
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Matt Stokes
United States
North Augusta
South Carolina
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I also believe that you met the King of the Forest, Mei, and meeting him is a sign of good luck.
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When ever I try to sell someone on Terra Mystica I describe it as Settlers of Catan all grown up. As a base comparison it removes the dice/card randomness and replaces it with resources based on what you have built. Throw in individual races and a pool of community special abilities and builds on and surpass Catan in all the right ways.

Settlers of Catan, finds its big boy pants.

Edit: Oh, and if they have never heard of Settlers of Catan, I would not even try to teach them Terra Mystica. It would pop their brain.
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Luke J
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I don't care for Catan, but love Terra Mystica, but they ARE very similar.

It's just that Terra Mystica solves the major issues that I have in Catan (luck, lack of information, overt politics, kingmaking) and adds an asymmetric element that takes it above and beyond.

I think it's fair to say that if you like Catan, are good at it, and get frustated by the luck factor, you will probably like Terra Mystica. The OP didn't say anything about it working the other way.
 
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Keith czop
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Love Terra Mystica, it remains my favorite game after about 2 years. When I think of this kind of topic I always wonder if a game like Terra Mystica, with all its wonderful mechanics, would ever be thought of if not for the slow progression of each new board game made before it.

It progressed mechanics used in Catan, Ticket to ride, worker placement games, 4X, light take that, asymmetrical play, and so many others.

All of which needed to happen first in order for a wonderful game such and this to be even conceived. This wonderful opus of a game relied of the others before it.
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