My friends and I binge play games. We buy one, play it for several weeks in a row, then move on to the next one. Our current binge game has been in the top 5 of BoardGameGeek’s top game list for awhile now, Terra Mystica.
For those who haven’t played or heard of it before, briefly speaking, it’s a game about creating large cities by terraforming lands to your home turf before building on it, praising 1 – 4 religious cults for favours, flexing your power to gain more resources… all for victory points. Each turn, a player has the option of doing 1 of 8 possible actions. The round continues until every player chooses to passes their turn. The winner is the player with the most victory points at the end of 6 rounds.
It’ll take awhile to explain all the rules to new players. They might feel overwhelmed at first but once you get the game going, all the pieces fall into place and runs fairly smoothly. What I really like about this game is the use of races/factions. This game is up to 5 players, but there’s technically 14 factions to choose from (7 double sided boards) in the base pack. Each faction has unique special bonuses and starting resources which means each player will have to take a different approach to reach first place. Leveraging your faction’s ability/abilities will win you the game.
Expansion: Fire & Ice
Overall I quite like the expansion. Three new faction boards were added, new rules and some re-balancing was done. A two-sided board is included where one side is the original board but with some of the terrain shuffled, and the other side has a new map.
Also, a new rule which I quite like is how you now determine turn order. Previously, whoever passes first becomes the first player of the next round, continuing clockwise from there. In this updated rule, turn order is determined fully on when people pass. This really changes strategies (and help players who are always screwed due to their physical seating).
Additionally, you can now change the final scoring tiles. There was a static two categories for final scoring (biggest indirect city and highest on each cult track), but now you can replace the biggest city with any of the additional tiles provided. Again, this helps makes the game a bit more dynamic and fun to play. There are more changes implemented in Fire & Ice but I’ll let you find out on your own.
Once you get passed the initial hurdle of absorbing all the rules, it’s a really fun game. I highly recommend getting the expansion as well, specifically for some updated rules which makes the game more balanced and makes you rethink your game strategy. Go to a board game bar or buy it yourself to find out why Terra Mystica has been in the top 5 list for this long.