[Beyond PlayStation] Mystic Vale Review
Mystic Vale from Nomad Games is a digital take on the excellent and unique board game, now out on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Mystic Vale review!
Mystic Vale from Nomad Games is a digital video game take on the beloved board game from Josh Wood and Alderac Entertainment Group. The board game is a very innovative experience since it offers a card crafting system in which you use transparent cards to stack different upgrades in your card sleeves to boost each card’s potential. What makes the digital version a great option – at least for me – is that there’s no need to desleeve all cards at the end of a game, and there’s also no need for pesky math to be done manually by players. Oh, and the cards feature some subtle animations that help to bring them to life in the digital realm!
In Mystic Vale, a curse has been placed on the Valley of Life. The druids hear the cry for help from the spirits of nature, and rush to use their blessing powers to heal the land before it’s too late. Can you do what is required to rescue the spirits? You need to be careful because the curse is so powerful, it could end up affecting the druids that are corrupted by its power! You will take control of one of the druidic clans that will try to cleanse the land to remove the curse. Whichever clan scores the most victory points will win the game!
The game does a great job of teaching new players all of the basics for Mystic Vale under the “How to Play” section, from which you’ll be shown what to do during a match – be that an offline or online battle. The playing area is split into three sections. The top displays the Vale cards that can be bought during a game – they are split into Level 1 and Level 2 cards. Advancements are drawn to the middle section, and they represent the upgrades you can get for cards. The last section is at the bottom, representing the player area. It is here that you can review your current resources, your field, the discard pile, on-deck card, and the Vale cards you have purchased.
Your deck will consist of 20 cards, which will contain nine Cursed Land cards, three Fertile Soil cards, and eight Blank cards. During your turn, you will need to decide what to do during each corresponding phase. In the Planting phase, you can either pass and move to the Harvest phase or push. If you push, your on-deck card will be played on the field, to the right of any card you played before. When a card its played, its abilities will be put into action, and once they’re resolved, the top card of your deck is turned over and placed back as such on top of your stack as your on-deck card.
Before you can take to the Harvest phase, a check must take place to see if you spoil. You see, some cards have a decay symbol on them, and if at any time during preparation or during the Planting phase four or more decay symbols are present, you skip your Harvest phase and go into the Discard phase. The good news is that some cards can also have a growth symbol, and each growth symbol will cancel one decay symbol.
If you end your Planting phase before spoiling, then you will go to your Harvest phase. During this phase, all harvest abilities will be resolved, and spirit symbols – Animal, Forest, Sky, and Wild – will be counted. You can also use this phase to purchase Advancements. The last part of your turn is the Discard phase, during which any Advancements you might have bought will be sleeved, and Vale cards and Advancements will be replenished in the commons. After this, it will be the turn of the next player.
Each game will have a pool of victory points from which all players can earn some victory points for their cause. Once there are no victory points left in the pool, the round will end once all pending players have taken their turn, and then the game will be over. The number of victory points available in the pool will differ depending on how many players are in a game. For games with two players, the pool will have 23 victory points. When three players are participating, the pool will have 28 victory points. If you’re playing in a match with four players, then there will be 33 victory points up for grabs. Victory points are obtained by buying Vale cards and Advancement cards that reward you with victory points. You can obtain victory points as you play, as well as earn grey victory points, which are added at the end of the game.
If you want to add the Vale of the Wild or Mana Storm packs to your collection, you can do so in-game straight from the main menu. The game even allows you to browse both decks so that you can see which Advancements, Vale Cards, and Leaders each one has to offer – as well as the Amulets offered by the Mana Storm pack. You can even click on each card to have it shown in full – including its new animation sequence – so that you can read its relevant gameplay information. Each of these expansion packs is available individually for $7.49, or you can get a bundle that includes both packs at a discounted $11.99 price to save a bit.
Mystic Vale is out now on Nintendo Switch for $21.99, and it’s a must-have for fans of the board game. At that price, it includes the base game as well as the Vale of Magic expansion for free, providing dozens of hours of fun at a reasonable price. And if you dig the game and want more, well, the other expansions are one download away
This Mystic Vale review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Nomad Games.