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Terra Mystica Board Game
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 January 2015
So Terra Mystica is a board game that seems to have looked at Settlers of Catan and decided that less luck and more strategy could work in a similar vein and expanded on that general idea and it works beautifully.

In a nutshell, each player plays the role of one of 14 possible races such as Dwarves, Nomads, Mermaids etc split on seven double sided boards. Each board has a colour, each colour represents a terrain type that race can build dwellings upon on the main game board map. If a terrain doesn't match, using a terrain wheel on each player board as reference you can "transform" (terraform) that terrain to change it to the type you need to build, though others can if you aren't quick enough, change it back. Each dwelling can be upgraded through set routes to trading posts, sanctuaries and Strongholds giving each player access to extra resources and abilities.

Each building, upgrade and most actions take a mixture of money, workers, priests and power to perform meaning to get the most out of your turn you must plan your resources, decisions and which order very carefully.

The power section of the board is rather unique in it's mechanics worth mentioning though it's hard to explain. Each player gets a set amount of power points represented by wooden discs located in one area split up into three sections (1, 2 and 3) all discs need to move from section 1 to 2 before any can move to 3. Once in 3 they can be spent either on powerful one use a turn actions available on the main board (money, more workers, free terraform action etc) or used from your own board for similar powers at a far worse ratio. Once used, the power goes pack to pool 1 and the process starts over. It seems pretty unuseful at first but by the end of a game it becomes really powerful especially if you play into it from the start.

The end of the game is won on points once the final round ends that are scored up in various ways from round specific goals that randomise eash game, race specific abilities, as well as other chits, rules and tracks. Needless to say the game is far more complicated than I have explained and with so many different races, randomised goals and abilities it has a lot of replay value to go with it.

The components are of high quality all in a nice reasonably sized cardboard box. There are solid wooden pieces, some of which are unnecessarily large like the Stronghold (it's awesome). The boards are all pretty thick, nice and flat and the artwork on them is colourful with excellent iconography making it pretty easy to play once you get over the initial sense of being overwhelmed.

Overall Terra Mystica is a well thought out good looking game with a fair amount of strategic depth and replayability. It offers some unique mechanics yet is surprisingly easy to play after a couple of rounds.

Recommended.

+ Nice strategic options.
+ Power mechanic is original and clever.
+ Decent replay value.
+ Quality components.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2014
Terra Mystica is a totally engaging and enjoyable board game. It is a game of territory building set in a fantasy world. The game comes with twelve different factions each of which has its own special ability. Territory is built up on a hex playing board made up of various terrains. Your faction can only grow on a single terrain and so it is essential to terraform first and then build outwards. Once terrain is terraformed to match your faction then it becomes possible to build dwelings - which in future turns may be upgraded to trading houses, temples, sanctuaries or a stronghold (a mighty 1 inch x 1 inch x 1 inch playing piece!). There is a benefit to building close to other player's settlements to trade with them and gain power as the build next to yours vs. the constraint of losing hexes near your settlement and constraining your territory.

Terra Mystica rewards the investment in time: (i) learning the rules; (ii) playing the starting factions as part of the set-piece introductory game; (iii) enjoying the subtle difference between all the factions and learning their strengths and weaknesses. It is a game that has excellent replayability within its context. Although their is very little inherent luck, the player actions and choice of starting locations on the board lead to very different outcomes. There are a ton of other actions, power actions, cult status (fire, earth, water & air), shipping technology, and variable special actions. The game plays over six rounds and there are victory points awarded. At the end of the game victory points are given for longest connecter areas on the game board and for the cult status achieved on the four cult tracks. In summary, if you like the theme and enjoy low luck strategic games then I definitely recommend playing it as soon as you can! (Note to first time players.... start with a 2 or 3 player game and not the full 5 to get your head around the rules and game play / basic mechanics; this is not to put anyone off - just a realistic expectation! The box says 30 mins per player - this is quite accurate once everyone knows what they're doing.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2015
A real brain-burner, it's a tough game all the way, eight actions waiting to be chosen, six fast rounds, close scoring, a lot of possible paths leading to victory (or extreme defeat!).

In a sense, it resembles the classic DOMINANT SPECIES (regarding the number of options, brain-burning, beauty of game components, weight of the game box), but without the "cutthroat" aspects of the latter.

For people who don't like conflict in their games, this game is very low in the direct conflict aspect. Of course, one must pay attention to what your opponent is doing, but there is no "punish the leader" mechanism or a player will not probably deviate from his tactics just to disrupt his opponent's move. Yes, there is some kind of blocking and competition in the Cult tracks, but other that.. What I mean is that this game is suitable for people who will enjoy a hard Euro game (this is an Euro all the way) without so much aggression.

Interesting that, although designer are Helge Ostertag and Jens Drogemuller, the credits says that the rule book is written by Agricola's designer Uwe Rosenberg.

People swiftly published which races are better, its vantagens and disadvantages, ideal places to star set up for each race, etc, etc...
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2013
Other people's reviews have pretty much summarized everything that I wanted to say about this game. It's well worthy of all the praises it has gotten. I just wanted to add that the pieces are very well done... They have a nice thickness and feel into them. Anyways, i can recommend this game to almost everyone, don't be scared of the amount of pieces or the seemingly complex layout. The game feels intuitive and starts to flow easily after couple of rounds. Right now I am just waiting for the upcoming expansion set, which will surely bring even more fun into this game!
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on 6 May 2015
There has to be a reason this is in top 3 of best BGG games. And the reason is...

it is simply one of the best games ever. Deep, complex in thinking yet simply in rules. Re-playability is awesome as well. It is must to buy for all board game geeks.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good game with great replay value, 2 - 3 hours game time and endless ways of play. Great simple playing pieces and easy to follow rulebook. The individual gameboards are graphicly easy to follow. The mechanics are unique and intriguing. I warmly recommend it to whomever are new to the serious side of board gaming, but could also be a gateway game for the intermediate players to gear up.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2015
Excellent
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2014
Fantastic game which we keep coming back to
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2015
great game if a little complicated
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2015
Great game of stradgey.
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