ToysBulletin.com takes a look at an epic game from Iello.
“Iello” has released “Mythic Battles,” a game that is massive in scope with near endless possibilities. This is a two-player game, with the manufacturer suggesting it best be played by those ages 14 years old and up. The game actually pits the armies of Hades and Athena in battle against each other until one army is hopelessly outnumbered and defeated.
The game includes 145 unit cards (legions of army affiliated with either Hades or Athena), 86 maneuver cards (used to activate the units), 9 stele cards/5 stele tokens (representing stone slabs used in the initiation campaign), 40 art of war cards (strategy cards), 10 special attack dice (6 sided dice are rolled to attack), 34 unit tokens (each marks the location of a competing unit), 6 double-sided tiles (representing the battleground), 30 power point tokens (used to enhance certain actions), and a complete rule book.
“Iello” has also smartly included a special campaign booklet that walks beginner players through nine consecutive scenarios of play, introducing players to various game elements as they progress from one scenario to the next. It is expertly written and makes the complete game rules fall into place very nicely. However, let us take a look at the highlights of a complete regular game.
The regular game setup begins with each player assuming the role of general and choosing sides or factions (Hades or Athena). The first player must decide on the 4 tiles that will serve as the battlefield, while the opposing player picks the deployment zone (starting locations of the unit cards). They each choose their armies, but are limited to unit cards affiliated with their faction, and also a total recruitment point limit. The available unit cards are substantially different for each faction with advantages and disadvantages on both sides. Each faction can only recruit a maximum of 10 units.
Once the unit cards (two competing armies) have been chosen, the matching maneuver cards and unit tokens, along with 10 art of war cards are distributed to each player. Each player distributes their unit tokens to their respective deployment zones, sets up a special draw deck including their respective maneuver cards and art of war cards, and draws a hand of 7 cards from that deck. Although a bit confusing the first time, the set up actually flows fairly fast and now the battle is ready to begin.
Basically, players alternate turns drawing 3 additional cards from their deck. Maneuver cards can be used to activate units or counter-attack, and art of war cards may be used to accumulate power points, or assist the general in activating additional units.
Once a unit is activated it can move or attack. There are ground units and flying units, and the terrain can have an impact as units move around the battlefield. Attacks can include either a close combat attack or a ranged attack, and the dice decide the outcome. The number of dice rolled depends on the attack numbers shown on the attacking unit card. A defending unit card includes a vitality (damage) rating, and there are very special rules regarding how to read and interpret the effects of dice attack rolls. It may take several wounds before an entire unit is destroyed. Additionally, power points can be used to defend an attacked unit or to harass an enemy unit.
When an army is reduced to 3 units, it is defeated and loses the battle.
Toys Bulletin staff members took turns playing the beginner campaign, and then moved on to play two more games with the full set of rules. They found “Mythic Battles” to be a prime example of how to combine several winning features into one game. The selection of the unit cards prior to the start of the game was a most ingenious device, especially due to the variety of unit cards offered. Each player basically starts the game with a personalized army deck, and it can be changed each and every game. Next, there is an element of chance based on drawing cards from the assembled decks and the rolling of the attack dice. Lastly, the game is played on an ever-changing game board. Because the 6 tiles included with the game are double sided, and only 4 are used during a game, the design of the battlefield includes endless possibilities.
Having said all of this, “Mythic Battles” is a vast undertaking. It takes considerable time to understand and play a complete game correctly. But once all of the pieces begin to fall into place, it is a rich and rewarding experience, and a complete game can be finished in less than an hour.