Mythotopia has been in development for some time now. The game is set in a medieval fantasy world and draws heavily on the mechanics found in A Few Acres of Snow. The major difference is that Mythotopia can be played by two, three or four players.
Mythotopia is a deck-building game set in a medieval fantasy world. You customise your deck by drafting cards and expanding into provinces.
In theory no two games should ever be the same. The board is made up of forty provinces, each of which has its own card. You are randomly dealt a number of provinces at the beginning of the game, which determines your initial positions, which you mark with town pieces. There are twenty-seven Improvement cards in all, of which sixteen are drawn and placed on display. These are the only cards that can be drafted during the game. Each player also has a set of five Initial cards. You shuffle your Province cards in with your Initial cards to make your starting deck. You then draw a hand of five cards.
There are three fixed Victory Point cards and nine variable ones. Four variable cards are drawn randomly and placed on display with the three fixed ones. A number of Victory Point counters are then placed on each card. The fixed cards give points for building cities, roads and castles. The variable cards may change the board situation by adding in dragons, runestones and citadels. They also grant victory points for controlling a certain number of sea areas, for successfully attacking other players and bonus points for building cities/roads. As these vary from game to game they alter the balance between developmental and aggressive play.
When it is your turn you perform two actions. Once you have finished your two actions you refill your hand to five cards and the next player has their turn. The game continues in this manner until four of the seven Victory Point cards have been emptied.
You have nine actions to choose from. You can invade a province, which means playing the Province card from which you wish to invade, then some military cards, followed by food. This allows you to place a number of armies in the province you wish to invade. You can add to these later by using the place army/ship action. To take control of a province you have to have a greater military strength than any other single player there or the neutral strength if it is still neutral. The twist is that you can only win a war as the first of your two actions. That means that after placing armies other players have the opportunity to oppose you, you cannot simply invade and win automatically.
Other actions allow you to buy more armies and ships (you start the game with six armies and two ships, with the rest placed to one side). You can also draft Improvement cards, place cards in your reserve (which allows you to use them in a later turn), discard cards and permanently remove cards from your deck (i.e. thin your deck). Finally, some cards have an action described on them.
There are three resources in the game, food, stone and gold. Food is used to feed invading armies (you never have to feed defending armies). Stone is used to build cities, roads and castles. Gold is used to buy armies, ships and Improvement cards. Most provinces have one resource type marked in it, so gaining that province gives you that resource. Some provinces have a military symbol marked in them, which are used to allow you to place armies on the board. You need to look at the balance of resources you have at the start of the game and work out which provinces will be the best ones to expand into.
You can turn towns into cities, which increases the number of cards you can keep in your reserve. You can connect provinces with roads, which allows you to substitute one card for another on the same network. It also allows you to move armies freely between those provinces. In general armies are held off-board and placed where they are needed, but it would be worthwhile leaving armies on the board as a defensive force if they are on a road network. Finally, castles increase the defensive value of a province. All of these constructions also give you victory points.
The aim of the game
What you are aiming to do is score the most points. Taking control of a province will always give you victory points. Additional points are available on the Victory Point cards, which you take as and when you perform an action that meets the condition on the card, e.g. building a road will give you two victory points but if the Roadside Inns Victory Point card is in play then you can expend an extra gold to gain an additional victory point. You can lose victory points if you lose control of a province. However, you can never lose victory point counters, which reduces the damage that can be inflicted on you by an overly aggressive player.
There are twenty-seven different Improvement cards in the game, each one only occurring once. Sixteen of these will be available to be drafted, they are not replaced as they are taken. Each Improvement card costs one gold. You need to work out your strategy for the game and then see which cards best support that. You can be defensive by taking Limes, Reserve Army or Diplomacy, or you can be more aggressive with Cavalry and the Hero. Improvement cards may also help you to cycle your deck faster or allow the conversion of one resource into another. There are no ‘bad’ Improvement cards and their value to you very much depends on your situation.
The game ends once four of the seven Victory Point cards are empty. The game moves quickly and only takes about sixty minutes to play.
The random set-up and availability of Improvement cards means that no two games will be the same and that no dominant strategy can emerge. Some games will rewards aggression, others more peaceful development play.