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Terra Mystica board game mat
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Terra Mystica

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Quick Takes: Crowd icon 2-5 players Clock icon 60-150 minutes Adult and child icon Ages 12+ 3 of hearts Level 3 (advanced, looking for a challenge. Takes time to learn but offers big rewards)

About the Game:

Terra Mystica is a complex territory and economy builder game, with magic powers and cults. There is a lot to keep track of. Terra Mystica is still elegant enough to display all of these at once in a readable manner. There are individual player boards, a cult track, production tracks, and the board itself. Everything fits together in order to create a complex and continually shifting balance of power.

There are 14 races, each with their own unique powers. There are 7 landscapes, and each race can only build on one type of landscape. Players can terraform landscapes to build on, but this is expensive. Terra Mystica requires constant calculations to determine the optimal move, and the elusive optimal move changes constantly during gameplay.

Upgrading buildings has an immediate reward of more currency or resources, but it places the lower tier building back onto the tracker, diminishing the reward you already unlocked. Determining the best time to upgrade, and if upgrading is worth it at all, is an important decision.

Terra Mystica looks like an intimidating game. It is a heavy box packed full of wood components. There are a bunch of interlocking systems that you need to figure out how to invest in, and a limited number of turns to do it in. This game is difficult to teach, but players who are used to Euro games like Puerto Rico or Agricola can pick up the general idea within a few turns due to the layered visual cues on the board.

Non-violent player interaction promotes risky gameplay. There is an incentive to build near others through the bonuses to power, but there is the risk that the others will block you in and you won’t be able to keep expanding.

Zero cards, Zero dice. No luck, all skill. Sometimes games without a randomizer fall into patterns and every game starts to feel the same. Terra Mystica solves this problem with two mechanics. The first is the sheer number of races. There are 14 starting races to choose from, each with unique powers. The method to gain victory points per turn is also scrambled. Terra Mystica is different every time you play it.

Why we chose this game for Board’s Edge:
  • Replayability
  • Strategic depth
  • Elegant but complex systems, discern board state at a glance
Selected Awards and Honors:
  • 2015 MinD-Spielepreis Complex Game Winner
  • 2014 Gra Roku Advanced Game of the Year Winner
  • 2013 Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel des Jahres Recommended
  • 2013 Golden Geek Board Game of the Year Winner
  • 2013 Golden Geek Best Strategy Board Game Winner
  • 2012 Meeples' Choice Winner
  • and more!