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Terra Mystica

Terra Mystica is a Fantasy-Development game in which each player plays one of 14 different factions with unique abilities. Terra Mystica is a heavy game, learning the rules can be quite challenging for less experienced gamers.

Interaction: 5 out of 10 (perceived)

Theoretically, there is a good deal of (indirect) play interaction. Players compete for the actions to be purchased with magic. Players try to control the area and limit expansion opportunities of each other, to be highest on cult tracks, and to have the biggest connected area at the end of the game.

So Terra Mystica is more interactive than many heavy eurogames. Most of the interaction is indirect. Thus, king-making is mostly avoided. The downside is that players silently ponder over their moves. At least in our rounds there was hardly any communication going on. After all the game doesn’t feel very interactive.

terra

Fun: 6 out of 10

The challenge to find the optimal moves is fun. The missing direct interaction and the weak thematic implementation prevent the game from being more fun, though. Bonus tiles are put randomly so each game is a bit different. On the other hand it makes the game feel like mere maximization of points. For instance in the last one or two rounds, it can be better not to build any building if there is no bonus tile that awards points for doing so becauses resources also give a few points at the end of the game. Most of the time players do their math to check which combination of building they can afford to buy with their current resources. Personally I prefer to play the non-official AI implementation online. It takes much less time and I can try out some weaker factions so I really need to give my best to beat the AI.

Replayability: 10 out of 10

The game mostly uses common mechanics. The most innovative mechanic are the magic balls. It has little impact on the game experience, though.

The replayability is extremely high, with about 14 differenct factions and random bonus tile setups no two games are the same. The factions are not really balanced. Some factions are considerably stronger than others. Of course this can also be quite handy as weaker or less experienced players can get a handicap by getting a strong faction. Here you can find detailed stats about how often which faction wins: terra.snellmann.net/stats/

In the long-term I hope that the factions will be balanced by adjusting the amount of resources or power that they get in the beginning of a game. Alternatively, there could be an auction with power for the factions.

Conclusion

Each eurogamer should play Terra Mystica at least once.

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