I had the opportunity to review Mystic Vale on their mobile platform earlier this year but, did not have the best experience when compared to other competitions such as Magic The Gathering and other deck-building games in said genre. The game mechanics itself felt mostly fulfilling with a fairly deep min/max mentality in how to build and play your druidic clan; however, the mobile app itself lacked polish to make an otherwise enjoyable physical board game setup shine as an “on-the-go” single/multiplayer option.
The goal of the game is simple. Build your druidic following to return the world to its former glory, one untainted by the curse that caused the husk that you now find yourself in.
The initial phase – the planting phase – flips your on deck cards to build your field to harvest in the following phase, without building more than 3 decay markers which will ‘spoil’ your field and render you unable to continue the round. You have the option to continue flipping additional cards after you hit the 3 decay markers however, if you incur the 4th you must forfeit the turn. In my initial review, I could not see a good reason to ever hit 4 decay markers due to the substantial loss in pressure in the game from a spoiled field. However, after playing quite a bit more and being more attentive to the other clan’s strengths I found myself taking the risk to just get that little edge to hopefully close the gap in an otherwise losing match, away from the darkness so to speak.
All in all the game feels more solid the more you play it but the improvements to the app and latest expansion, Vales of the Wild, definitely help it become a more versatile game for the people looking for a quick match while waiting on the bus or train. The animations have been improved and the response of the touch controls seem more snappy than my previous experience. I would like the ability to easily see how your opponents are building their decks; however, this could be done by adding in an option to ‘confirm if you want to see your opponents turn’ or not. Currently, you can see what they are doing but the app moves almost too fast through the CPU turns to really track the other druid’s plans. This would allow the same feel as the physical game to strategically plan your own turns to hinder others as well as strengthen yourself. Of course, I feel as though this should be an optional choice in the menu to allow for others to still get their quick matches in.
Finally, I would say the devs at Mystic Vale are making great strides in improving an already classic board game as well as being open enough to take criticism and evolve the game into a mobile version. I am excited to see where it goes next.