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Mystic Vale» Forums » Variants

Subject: Mitigating advancement/vale randomness rss

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Ryan Valdez
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I jumped on the Mystic Vale train a little bit late, but after a few plays, I've thoroughly enjoyed this game! My friends and I have played it quite a few times, and it's been different/close each time. That being said, with two expansions out and two more on the way, it becomes a little harder to have a set strategy because of the sheer variety of advancements there are. Combined with the fact that only 12-18 advancements for each level are in each game, and that certain advancements lend to certain strategies more than others, it feels a lot like a "make the best of what you see" type thing. Which is great and all, and some advancements work together in really unexpected ways. But sometimes, it's also fun to pile on cards that really lend themselves to each other and have a somewhat set strategy. It provides a bit more tactical depth in my mind.

So with that, here are some variants I've seen that help address the issue (with links to threads):
- The one-card reserve, where you can use one of your two buys to "reserve" an advancement/vale, then on a later turn, use one of your two buys to pay the mana cost of the reserve advancement to buy and place it in a card. Allows for a bit more control over your deck between turns, though I've been dabbling making it cost 1 mana to reserve an advancement or vale.
- Card stacking, where if you would ever refill with a duplicate advancement/vale, you simply stack it so that the 2 copies of the same advancement/vale take up only 1 spot, then refill again as normal. You are able to buy any advancement/vale in this stack of 2. This opens up for a little more variety in advancements. The OP also had it where, in the rare case that 3 of an advancement take up one spot, all 3 are removed from the game and the spot is then refilled as normal. Not sure how I feel about removing 3 advancements out of play, but again, it's a rare case anyway.
- Level 1 advancement start draft, where you essentially start the game with some level 1 advancements. You can check the thread for more details. The OP had it to where you draft based on the number of players. When I first used this variant, I changed it to where each player draws 4 level 1 advancements, picks 1, passes to the left, picks 1 from the new hand, passes to the left, then picks 1 and discards the other. The discards are then reshuffled into the level 1 advancement deck. This means each player starts with 3 advancements instead of a number based on number of players. This allowed for a controlled starting strategy plus a quicker start. However, we then added leaders, which also added to the quicker start. Right now, we have a "Pick 2, choose 1" method for leaders, but with the new Mystic Vale: Mana Storm coming out soon, they suggest doing a draft with leaders and amulets. Soooooo we may or may not do the level 1 advancements draft. Still, it definitely provides the asymmetric, boosted start for now.
- 4 advancements instead of 3, where I'm guessing you show 3 advancements per level instead of 4? The thread is quite literally empty, so this is the most I can make of it. Could be interesting, but could be game breaking. Who knows lol.

I don't know how active these forums are for this game, but I suppose it might be worthwhile to record my thoughts from my gameplays of messing with one or some of these variants, plus see what others have to say.
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Crazed Survivor
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Conclave, a new expansion, will help you personalize your market at the beginning of the game, by only putting a number of advancement instead of all of them.

I don't have many more details, you'll have to ask John or find the thread (I'm lazy ) about the Sunshard Glebe advancement.

4 advancements would be a pain for me, the game barely fits on the table already as is!
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Ryan Valdez
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I remember seeing that haha. But I also remember seeing that it wouldn't be out til December, so this is all a kind of "until then" variants thing. Definitely agree on 4 advancements taking up a lot of table space though.
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John Clair
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Nayr090 wrote:
...the fact that only 12-18 advancements for each level are in each game...


Glad you are enjoying the game! Just want to make sure you are playing this right, that should be 12-18 Level 1 advancements based on player count. However, you always use ALL the level 2 and level 3 advancements.

I'm a big fan of the Card Stacking variant rule. Two thumbs up for that.
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Ryan Valdez
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JohnDClair wrote:
Nayr090 wrote:
...the fact that only 12-18 advancements for each level are in each game...


Glad you are enjoying the game! Just want to make sure you are playing this right, that should be 12-18 Level 1 advancements based on player count. However, you always use ALL the level 2 and level 3 advancements.


Whooooooops haha. Glad I have that clarification! I don't think I've had a game where we normally go past that many level 2 and 3's, but this is good to know. I think the main thing is still just being able to hone in on a strategy if you so desire rather than be at the mercy of luck of the card draw and having to look for other strategies. I don't know if it's meant to be that way, but it's still a great game regardless, and I can't wait for the rest of the expansions.
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Justin Rubin
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This is a game my family has loved as soon as it came out. But the addition of the amulets and leaders has brought it to a whole new level - from a primarily tactical game to a combo of tactical and strategic and asymmetrical! Triple thumbs up from me!
 
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Sean May
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I like the card-stacking idea - it is a bit frustrating when two of the same advancements come up and you don't want them. It turns bits of the market into mini-Fertile Soil piles.

I was thinking of my own variant to aid market flexibility: What if you could pay mana equal to the level of the cards to flush advancements from the market and re-stock with new ones? If you don't like your level 2 advancement options, for example, pay 2, discard all level 2 advancements (to the bottom of the deck, say) and deal out three more. You could do the same with the Vale cards, too.
 
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Level 3 Tunt
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Has anyone played with adding an additional endgame condition of a set number of vale cards (possibly limited to just those that provide points)?

It doesn't directly mitigate the randomness but it does give more control to the various strategies. We've since been more careful about what the other player is doing to avoid this again but we had one game where the winner tripled the losers score thanks to having a significant number of vale cards. So many that it stopped being fun.

The other thing we've talked about is making a finite pool of vale cards available from the start like in Splendor, maybe something like six of each level and that's it for the whole game.
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