Mushroom themes are slowly but surely becoming more and more popular. So far, no game has implemented the theme as sweetly as Mycelia from the company Ravensburger does. Daniel Greiner's debut work cleverly combines deck building with a sliding puzzle around dewdrops. These must be removed from your own forest as quickly as possible.
All players work on their own forest and try to get all their dewdrops to the Shrine of Life before the others. This way you can secure the blessing of the forest goddess. The first person to remove all 20 dew drops wins the blessing and the game.
But the players can't do it all alone. They must secure the support of the many forest dwellers. With these, your deck improves card by card and the dew drops reach their goal more and more effectively.
That Mycelia is aimed at deckbuilding newbies, you can tell from the fact that the game briefly explains what deckbuilding actually is at the very beginning of the rules. It only takes two and a half pages to explain all the important rules of the game.
Deck building made easy
Before we can get started, our own forest must first be prepared. The game comes with four double-sided setup cards, each of which dictates how the dew drops are distributed on your own game board at the start of the game. Equipped with identical starting decks, the players then rush into the race to get the dewdrops to the Shrine of Life as quickly as possible.
The game continues in turn until one person has completely emptied their forest board. In addition to card effects that you collect over the course of the game, the shrine field on your own forest board is particularly important here. If you push a drop here, it is immediately placed on the Shrine of Life. When the shrine is full, the attachment is turned until the cube and all the dew drops fall down. The side of the die rolled in this way determines where one or two new dewdrops are placed among all players.
During your turn, all three hand cards that you draw for each turn are played. Whether you use the effects is up to you. No cards may be taken into the next round. There is usually a use for all cards somehow. The order in which you play the cards can be freely chosen.
For example, the card effects give you leaves that represent the currency in the game. You can use them to buy new forest creatures from the five-card display during your own turn, thus improving the deck of cards. The cost ranges from two to eight sheets. Especially with the more expensive cards, you should remember their powerful effects carefully in order to prepare them optimally.
The other card effects manipulate the dewdrops on your own forest board. A rough distinction can be made here between moving and directly removing dew drops. There are always certain requirements for the effects, which relate either to the type of landscape or the number of dewdrops on a field (or both).
The third action that you can carry out in addition to playing and buying cards is using the action cards. After paying the costs, you can use them to swap the display of cards or move any dewdrop one space.
Variants for a little more complexity and for solo playing
The expansion included in the game adds more forest creatures that are simply shuffled into the deck. Their effects are a little more complex and allow you to remove cards from your own discard pile. Especially for experienced players, this action gives you a little more control over your own deck and the cards you draw.
Cards can now also have instant effects that are activated immediately after purchase. There are also three additional action cards that are purchased together with certain cards. Particularly exciting is an additional shrine that can be placed on your own forest board in addition to the printed shrine and offers the same effect.
Each forest board has a side that is the same for everyone. There are also four different backs that offer a new challenge.
Finally, there is a solo variant in which you compete against the ghost mushroom Gwidyon. His goal is the same as that of the solo player. He wants to bring all of his twenty dewdrops to the Shrine of Life. These are on his pile of leaves tableau.
The Ghost Mushroom's actions are controlled using six action tiles. Some also allow the human player to carry out actions.
If five tiles have been resolved, all tiles are shuffled so that one of the six actions can be chosen again on the next turn.
If you manage to get rid of all the dewdrops faster than Gwidyon, you win the game.
Information about mycelia
|Number of players: 1-4 people
Age: from 9 years
Playing time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Family game
Long-term motivation: good
Game idea: Daniel Greiner
Illustrations: Justin Chan
Published by Ravensburger
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2023
Cost: 30 Euro
Mycelia presents deckbuilding mechanics for beginners in a beautifully illustrated way. Unlike some other entry-level deck builders, there is an expansion with cards that offer advanced effects. Thanks to the instructions, the principle of “deck building” as well as the entire game concept are presented clearly and understandably using well-chosen examples.
Deckbuilding alone doesn't make this game as good as it did in our test. It is the connection with the dew drops that makes the game special, so that you want to play it again and again. With this combination the game can convince me even more Wanderlust – adventures in summer camp, another entry-level deck builder that Sven reviewed here a few weeks ago and that I was able to test with.
Especially when you build a strategy around a few “more expensive” cards, there is a lot of room to try out new things. You should always keep in mind which card effects are present in your deck so that you can use them as effectively as possible.
Visually, the game also fits the family target group perfectly. The illustrations are sweet and make the game even more fun. The Shrine of Life as a counter for distant dewdrops and as a dice “tower” is completely oversized. That's exactly what makes it so beautiful for us and further enhances the table presence of this already appealing game.
There's nothing wrong with the game material. The dew drops are nice to touch and for a change they don't have that "classic" shape like the resin everdell. The cards and leaf tokens are also of good quality, although perhaps rounded tips on the leaves would be more durable in the long term. So far we haven't noticed any wear and tear.
Another highlight is the game's solo mode. In its complexity it fits the game perfectly. The six action tiles are all dealt with quickly and do not distract from your turn unnecessarily. As with playing with people, the luck factor also plays a role here. Towards the end, one of the tiles can bring victory, while another can let Gwidyon remove the crucial dewdrops. With a playing time as quick as solo mode (approx. 25 minutes), you simply play a revenge game.
Overall is Mycelia a very good family-friendly deck builder that has a decisive advantage over other deck builders of the same level of complexity thanks to the exciting extra mechanics of the dew drops.
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