Mythe Review

Passport Games, Ludicreations
Koji Malta
Yoshihiro Arisawa, Sami Laakso

Mythe is a beautifully presented little game with a couple of clever little mechanisms that make it fun to play.  It doesn't have enough depth to be a regular part of our rotation and the endgame can stall a little, but there is enough going on here to recommend it regardless.

It’s a storybook, and that’s simply amazing.

I mean, come on.

From the first moment I got a look at Mythe, I was interested.  The little board was perched primly on a pedestal on the perimeter of the Passport booth at Gencon, and as we were picking our way through the throng and doing our best to examine each of the offerings on display, Jess tapped me on the shoulder and pointed, her attention grabbed at 20 paces by the tiny box, the adorable bits, the generous tarot-sized cards, and most of all the simply beautiful board.

This dragon has our cheese. Quests do not get more epic than this, people.

Andrew:  It’s an eye-catcher, that’s for sure.

Jess:  You’re not kidding!  I think the game is adorable all around.  Of course, the gameplay’s the thing that matters most, but, you know, we eat with our eyes first, right?

Andrew:  Totally.  As far as the gameplay…

Brave mouse heroes, ready to venture forth from the mouse village.

Mythe is an odd little duck when it comes to categorization.  It’s basically a drafting game, but the cards you are pulling are blind-drawn from other players’ hands.  What others are holding is a function of how you hand your cards out at the end of your turn, so there is a memory element, too.  And finally, there are cards which bust you when drawn, so Mythe also features push your luck mechanics.

Andrew:  And while that may sound like a lot to pack into this little box, well, it isn’t.

Jess:  Yep.  Not because Mythe is a complex game at all, but rather because it’s actually really simple.  Those mechanisms aren’t broadly or deeply applied.

The heroes set forth!

Let’s get to the nuts and bolts.  In Mythe, a group of mouse heroes who are on a mission to recover the sacred Golden Cheese from the dragon which stole it.  To do this, they will adventure across the land, collect the legendary treasures, and hopefully make it up to the mountain and past the dragon to where the cheese has been hoarded.

Jess:  And of course, they are racing to be the first to accomplish this feat, because somehow working together just isn’t heroic enough!

Cheat cards for everyone! Nice, tarot-sized, cards, too.

Gameplay happens in 2 phases:

  • Draw:  The active player draws cards, one at a time, from the hands of the other players.  They may not see what they are taking before they take it, but they may draw as many cards as they want, until they either choose to stop or draw an obstacle card

As soon as a player draws an obstacle, they bust and their turn is over.  Otherwise, if they choose to stop, they can

  • Advance:  Each card (that doesn’t bust you) adds points to your ‘adventure pool’  This movement pool tells you how far along the map you can go, with each space costing 1, 2, or 3 points to move through.
The cards power your actions, but they can scrap your turn, too.

Whether the players’ turn ends with a bust or they finish their move, all cards they drew get added to their current hand, and then they give as many cards to the other players as they care to.  These cards are given in secret, and once every player has at least one card, play passes to the next brave mouse.

Obstacle cards will simply destroy your turn. Fortunately, there are only 3. Keeping track of them is the key to victory.

Jess:  Now, to finish the game and grab the sacred cheese, you will not only need to overcome the challenging climb up the dragon’s mountain, but in order to get past the dragon itself, you will need to be holding one of the legendary items!  So keeping track of which player is holding what cards is a critical part of the game.

The legendary treasures, needed to best the dragon.

Andrew:  Yeah, it’s really the only strategy in this simple little game.  Cleverly distributing cards so that you are unlikely to draw obstacles on your turn and to maximize your movement is the name of the game.

Sometimes, a bit of a line forms at the Dragon. Eventually someone will bust through, though, and then it’s golden cheese for all!

Mythe’s charm is its presentation and its simple strategy.  As a filler, it’s certainly fun and engaging, but its simplicity also probably limits its replay value a touch.  And as in the photo above, it is possible for several players to essentially be in line to beat up the dragon, simply waiting for the legendary treasure needed to do so.

It also uses a neutral draw deck when there are only 2 players, which is a simple enough solution to the obvious issues with the memory element inherent to the gameplay.  It is not nearly as fun as having a third (or more) player), but it works.

Still, these minor criticisms aside, Mythe is a charming, charming, charming game, and at least worth a look for its weight and price-point.

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(Gameosity received a review copy of this title.  We were not otherwise compensated.)

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