Mystic Vale is a new Steam game based on the deck building tabletop game of the same name from creator Jon D Clair and published by AEG. Set in a high fantasy based world, Mystic Vale’s world is as interesting and almost as complex as the game itself. Does it translate well to digital format? Read on and see what I thought about this Origins award winning card game.
From the Mystic Vale Steam description:
“A curse has been placed on the Valley of Life. Hearing the spirits of nature cry out for aid, clans of druids have arrived, determined to use their blessings to heal the land and rescue the spirits. It will require courage and also caution, as the curse can overwhelm the careless who wield too much power.
Mystic Vale is a deck-building card game, in which players take on the role of druidic clans trying to cleanse the curse upon the land. Each turn, you play cards into your field to gain powerful advancements and useful vale cards. Use your power wisely, or decay will end your turn prematurely. Score the most victory points to win the game!”
I love card games. While I had not invested in the tabletop version of Mystic Vale, it has always peaked my interest when browsing at my local game store. When I heard there was a digital version, one I can enjoy with people or an A.I. while on my lunch no less (at a cost of half the physical version base game, $14.99 MSRP) I was thrilled.
Mystic Vale is pretty complicated. Thankfully developer Nomad Games was kind enough to include a tutorial that does a fantastic job of teaching new players like myself. Do not expect to enjoy this game if you do not learn to play it first. I enjoy figuring games out as much as the next nerd, but Mystic Vale took some time to learn and this teaching tool should not be missed.
I won’t go into the nitty gritty of the rules here as it would take forever and a day. If you really want to learn more before buying this game, check out the tabletop rules: https://www.alderac.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/mystic-vale-rulebook.pdf
Or just take my word for it and if this sounds like something you would be interested in, buy it, support indie games and card games alike.
I will go over the basics. Each turn players have three phases, Planting, Harvest, and Discard. Planting will draw cards from your deck and give you the option to draw more, just be careful not to Spoil, if you get too many decay symbols showing you will lose your turn. Resources are gained from these shown cards and are tallied up for the Harvest phase. Some cards will be blank to start with but in Harvest phase you can purchase upgrades, some will just add resources to existing cards in your deck so next time they come back around they are more powerful. Others will go to your Vale providing various powers. The goal being to build up your deck and purchase more powerful upgrades and Vale cards to increase your score. The one with the most points after the pool is depleted wins!
One to four people can play Mystic Vale at one time via online matchmaking. Personally I just enjoyed playing the AI in two or four player games, as the challenge is adjustable, this is a great way to build up your knowledge of the game before venturing out to take on real people. My only complaint would be that there isn’t enough players currently so finding a game at any given time is not easy. Graphically do not expect the spit and polish of Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering: Arena in Mystic Vale. While the card artwork is fantastic the only effects added are some slight motion when you hover over them. Better than nothing though! The music and sound effects reflect the low key emotion of the game and provide a nice background. The best thing I can say from playing this game, if you enjoy the table top version at all, get this game. This digital conversion of Mystic Vale is complete and removes some of many strenuous movements and setup/teardown required by the physical version.
Mystic Vale is a relaxing card game with a lot of hidden tactical elements and depth. The best part is that this is the very beginning with plans for expansions and more cards added to the mix. One can expect a fan of this genre to spend many hours just playing the A.I. alone or finding a group of friends to play with online. With the proper support this is a game that hopefully will find success and grow, I for one will be looking forward to the future of Mystic Vale.
Mystic Vale is available now for PC via Steam. This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher.