I want to share an experience of Mythic Battles: Pantheon I had three months ago with a friend, at « La Caverne du Gobelin », in Metz (Northeastern France). The presentation was held by Benoît Vogt, who is the original creator of the Mythic Battles, kind of spiritual father of MB P.
Since a lot of presentation of the gameplay can now be found on internet, and specifically on Mythic Battles Pantheon facebook page, I will skip both the presentation of the Background and of the rules and mechanics in order to speak straight to the game I had with my friend, during the demo.
Just in order to avoid you searching, I found the demo presented by Techraptor really easy to catch, here it is :
The game took us roughly one and a half hours, for a “regular” game duration of 45 minutes. The beginning was especially slow, for it was our first game and the choice of our units was mostly based on aesthetic criteria rather than strategic ones. Indeed, as simple as the rules seem, one needs some practice to get a correct knowledge of the units’ skills and a decent feeling of how they’re likely to work together.
It appeared that my team allowed a strong offensive strategy with very limited deck management (including Hades, Atalanta, Cerberus, Minotaur and three Troops), while my friend’s team was leaning towards deck management and rather defensive skills (Zeus, Leonidas, Hercules, Medusa and two Troops).
In the “Skirmish” Mode, we began the game at the exact opposite of our teams’ natural inclinations: I was trying to gather gems despite my team didn’t allowed fast displacements and was mainly efficient in close combat or at a distance of 1, and my opponent aimed to defeat me directly despite his team was made for temporizing attacks and harrying me to tear me down bit by bit.
Our confrontation was substantially eventful. Hades was quickly petrified and wounded by Medusa, but she was in turn promptly killed by Cerberus. Hades remained petrified for a long time, because I didn’t have any Art of War card in my hand to unfreeze him. However, despite his vulnerability, I wasn’t worried about him, for I managed to keep his enemies busy somewhere else.
Zeus had just absorbed his first gem and was on the verge of getting the second one, when Minotaur approached and threatened him, impeding his displacements despite the protective presence of the two Centaurs at his side. Zeus was then assailed by Cerberus which had just killed Medusa, but he showed more resistance than expected.
Meanwhile, Leonidas and the Hell Warriors had met Minotaur and Atalanta and had joined the battle with them in order to prevent them from assailing Zeus as well. Hercules joined Zeus, and his brute force and his control of dice rolls quickly weakened and killed Cerberus, letting Zeus barely injured.
Free again, Zeus started picking up his third gem that was lying around, but Minotaur charged him. Leonidas, who had finally prevailed on Atalanta, hastened to join his God. Minotaur charged Zeus twice in a row and deprived him of half his health. However, Hercules repelled Minotaur to temporize the attack and to allow Zeus to absorb the third gem. He then directly confronted the Monster.
Hades, finally un-petrified and last true offensive force of his team, came closer to his brother to cast a Cremation Spell on him. The spell was a dismal failure though, and a second spell was needed to finally let Zeus in agony. Then, Zeus started a long defensive strategy, waiting for a healthy Hercules to bring him his fourth and last gem back. In this purpose, he incessantly brought his Centaurs and his Hell Warriors back to life, counting on Leonidas’ protection skill.
Because of these protective Units, the only way for Hades to finish his brother off was to cast him another Cremation spell, because this spell causes area damages, and thus kills the protectors prior to injure the God himself. I was however lacking Art of War cards, and I had to wait until I picked them. The Amazons were of great help though, and after several turns of harassment and fierce assaults, Hades was able to cast a final spell and deal Zeus a death blow. At this point, one or two additional turns would have been enough for Hercules to bring Zeus his fourth gem back.
To sum up, although I was at first dominated by an opponent who quickly squandered his Art of War cards, I began prevailing as soon as Medusa died. Attrition warfare took place, preventing Zeus from casting his merciless Lightning spell, for which two Art of War cards are necessary. Hades didn’t hesitate to sacrifice his creatures to harm Zeus when he understood that these creatures outnumbered the enemies. Until his last breath, Zeus was able to surprisingly resist the adverse domination, and even threatened to win by catching his final gem.
The game can be destabilizing, because displacements and attacks are managed through a deck of cards which offers a limited control on each unit, but in the same time it allows to better read in the other player’s strategy, for example by counting the number of activations of a threatening unit. It can therefore be very helpful to decide when to carry on a decisive attack.
The game mechanics are easy to express, but complex and profound to use. Some units like Hercules, Cerberus, and Minotaur, are easily dreaded once you have seen them attack or taking damages. The feeling of controlling powerful units is quite exhilarating, but it is essential to choose these units carefully, because you really have to think about how they’re likely to work together as a team, and not just as distinct elements. However, despite our totally random initial selection, some synergies revealed themselves naturally. So, unless we both made very lucky guesses, it shows that the game is well balanced and that the rules of the selection phase are well designed.
The rules are very accomplished, but this is no surprise! The game has indeed been lengthily tested and is based on an already published game, which was thus sort of “improved”. On that subject, I have asked Benoit Vogt about the reasons that had driven him to publish a new game so shortly after the release of the base material. It appears that Benoit couldn’t afford developing a figurine game back in the day, and he wasn’t really happy with the setup duration of the base game. And so, by co-editing with Monolith and therefore taking advantage of some of his partners (in particular sculptors), and by dusting the game mechanics and the setup phase, he clearly fulfilled the missions he gave himself, in our opinion.
Graphically, the game we played was somewhere between the Print and Play and the prototype. We didn’t play on the final version of battlefield, but the one we saw was already very well illustrated, and at least as detailed as of Conan. The exposed resin figurines (essentially the Gods, the Monsters and the Heroes) are extremely detailed and finely worked, but are not overwhelmed with useless ornaments either. The illustrations of the future characters, digital for the moment, are simply stunning.
In conclusion, this game is efficient and offers a content that is coherent with the mythological background of a resurrection of heroes and monsters that did not live in the same periods of Ancient Greece. The game is designed to and is likely to be played in less than an hour, once you’re familiar with the game mechanics and the units’ skills.
The replayability of the game in “Skirmish” Mode will mostly depend on the diversity of the units, as well as of the playable maps. However, we look forward to experience other game modes, especially with game scenarios that let us imagine a God fighting an army of Heroes or Troops, even if that’s but a guess. The game seems really designed to allow an escape from the God vs. God scheme.
Anyway, I already intended to pledge Mythic Battle: Pantheon and I didn’t change my mind, but I may have changed my budget: the all-in was mentioned around $350.
- Last edited Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:11 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:06 pm
I was worried the all-in would be more than that. After playing at GenCon, I'm pretty positive I'm going all-in for this one. Nice to hear that it's hopefully less than I was expecting.
Thanks for this review.
Double thanks for heads up on the price tag