Games Me

Terra Mystica

I’ve found a local gaming group and I played my first game of Terra this week. I’ve been curious about it for a while now as it’s so highly rated but playthroughs and reviews haven’t quite done it justice: it’s brilliant.

A (very) brief explainer for any readers who don’t know Terra:

The map is split into hexes (think Civ) and each hex is a different type of terrain (forest, lake, wasteland, etc.)

Each race can only build on a single type of terrain, to expand your territory you terraform adjacent tiles to convert them to your terrain type. Each race’s player board indicates how costly it is to convert each terrain to your preferred terrain.

Tiles are claimed by building dwellings which can subsequently be upgraded to other building types. Each has a certain cost and offers certain benefits. Some costs can be mitigated by building on tiles adjacent to other players but your build action will help them generate resources.

Each turn you will produce resources: workers (cubes), money, priests, power. These are spent to perform actions. Production and action costs vary between races so race choice is very important (each race also has a special power); your choice should be informed by already selected races and the round bonuses (round bonuses are randomly ordered each game).

Various actions throughout the game score (or spend) victory points. At the end of the game you can convert outstanding resources into points and points are scored for largest contiguous empire and a number of other scoring mechanisms and potential bonuses based on what you chose to build in the game.

It’s pure strategy and there’s more to it than I’ve explained here. It’s also really really good.

There were five of us playing, I was the only newbie and of the others two had played before a few times and the other two played pretty much every week. I was the Giants (one of the regular players picked my race for me) and I came third with a score in the low 100s, which I think is pretty good for a first play? As you’d expect the two guys who play every week came first and second with scores up in the 130-140 range, the two other guys were in the 50-70 range.

I could’ve scored a little higher but there a few mechanics I didn’t fully understand until I’d missed an opportunity to capitalise but I really can’t wait to play again. I’m some way off knowing the best race based on reward order and all that jazz but I could certainly manage my economy better now I’ve played once.

Roll on next week!