Review: Mystic Vale Card Game

  • March 22, 2017
  • James Skemp
  • review

The following is a review of Mystic Vale, received as part of the Amazon Vine program.

Fantastic Game

First, I absolutely love Mystic Vale. It’s probably my favorite game of the last six months, at least.

In Mystic Vale two to four players play as druids trying to build out their starting cards to earn the most points.

The cards are the most interesting and fun part, so I’ll start there. Each player starts with a deck of 20 cards, which can have up to three slots filled - top, middle, and bottom. These base cards are then slotted into one of the included tarot-sized sleeves, shuffled, and play begins.

The slots themselves can either provide mana or decay, with added enhancements adding either more mana or additional abilities. There are also additional vale cards which either provide points at the end of the game, or abilities during certain phases of the turn.

The quality of the cards themselves, and art on them, are both top notch.

Moving on to gameplay, each player sets up their field of cards once their turn ends. In a two player game this means that the turns can go by quite quickly. But even with three people if you’re not setting up your field you’re usually checking the available enhancements to see what you might be able to purchase next turn, if it’s not purchased.

However, much like Splendor, Star Realms, and other games that have a shared purchase area, you never know when things could be purchased.

Once a player’s turn begins they can also choose to push their luck, with the potential to skip their turn completely if they flip over too many decay symbols.

Like Ascension, play continues until a set number of victory point chips are taken, and then the chips and points on the cards are totaled.

So, quite a lot of fun. However, there are a couple downsides.

First, there are certain abilities on the cards that cancel all, or all but one, decay symbol on the card. It would be fantastic if there was a way this was denoted on the card itself, as this was commonly missed in every game I played.

Second, the dots on the enhancement cards that denote what level they are, one through three, are rather small. It would be great if the level could be denoted in some other way, possibly with coloring on the back, or some sort of border.

Ultimately, these two minor points don’t detract from the game itself, and I give it a full five of five stars. Mystic Vale is fantastic, and definitely worth playing if the game dynamic appeals. I’m also looking forward to the fantasy variant that they appear to be working on, and just purchased the Vale of Magic expansion.