next time someone asks if your a god, you say "yes!"
The Geek Gods are various and powerful and love playing games. As do we. But the only difference is that "we" are their game. They manipulate and transform us into mighty heroes or villainous monsters, making us walk the path that "They" want us to go down.
But now we have the upper hand as we can control those "all powerful" Gods to our hearts and whims delight. Mythic Battles: Pantheon is the evolution of an early Iello edition of Mythic Battles by Benoit Vogt. Although, this edition is pumped full of miniatures and additional characters and creature. Unlike it's predecessor, which was cards played on a grid. But the game is mostly the same. You will be choosing a God from the many livable (depending on the number of add-ons that you purchase) then draft an army around that God, consisting of Heroes, Monsters, Troops and maybe a Titan. Then combat starts...
Fortune is ally to the brave
The game is a combat game that takes element from games that we already know and meshes them into a simple to understand and play instantly game (minus the time to set up). Much like chess and it's learning curve, but also like a collectible card game that uses a deck to active characters. Plus some traditional and slightly tweaked dice combat with degrading player characters that wither away, the more injured they become. A game that the Gods would say, "this is walk in the park."
You will start with picking a God to be your avatar. Then create an army that benefits and complements that God. Whether it be Zeus, Ares or Hades, having the right combination is an essential key to your success when playing. Although, you could just experiment and mix and match to your hearts content, as there are enough units in the base game to keep you amused for months. Each unit has a wide variety of statistics, from life points, special powers to unique ability. So choosing the right ally that compensate another can take a little time to get your head around, as well as take a little real world time. And not only that, there is the battlefield to take into consideration. For example, having a team of flying creatures that are not hindered by the different levels of the terrain, will have a hard time dealing damage to your opponent's forces, if they are hiding in one of the many forests.
There are many type of terrain that will help or hinder movement, ranged attacks as well as hand to hand combat. Some of this terrain comes with physical trees and rocks, that not only make a picturesque playing field but make a difference to the game as it can be destroyed to remove, along with their penalty's and benefits. Because we all know the frustration of losing a game on the count of one small obstruction that prevented you taking a shot at a very weak God, who you'd like to kill before they have a chance to absorbs an Omphalos, winning the game.
Find, and fulfill your destiny!
Skirmish mode is the common way to play this game, two, three or four players. But there are also some campaign's and scenarios that will hold your attention. Where you'll race to find healing plants or rescue a princess. Even the possibility of cooperatively playing to prevent the Hydra from entering the local, defenseless village is available to play. You may play an all Vs all or team up in pairs. With a system that allocates points accordingly to the number of player and the side that they are on. A one verses three player game is also a viable. But no solo mode...Boo-Hoo!
But you'll probably play more skirmish's than anything. They are simple to set up from the scenario book and allow you the freedom to create your army's from the mutilated of units and characters. With a simple end game of either destroying the opponents God or getting your God to absorb more Omphalos than the others. As well as an easy way to get into the game, they also serve as useful way to see the potential in your warriors for future battles. This game is one massive and mythical learning experience.
Getting your head around all the powers and ability as well as accustoming yourself to the terrain can be a bit tricky if you are not into heavy, epic, strategic warfare. As there is hand management, card counting, spatial perception of the board and taking note of all your characters statistic that change with the damage they take. Even so, the game play mechanisms will sink in quite quickly, making it an enjoyable, flowing experience. Especially with the big reference cards available.
Call no man happy who is not dead!
Most games have your hero preforming dice combat to show their impressive sword skills or other ability for mowing down the opposing minis. Even when your character is on their last legs and final drop of blood, they are still swinging their weapon high, rolling the same amount of dice as they did at the beginning of the game. Not here...
Going back to my HeroClix's days, I remember the sensation of having a hero weaken in combat, struggling to survive. And they needed help from the my other character, just to stay in the game. And the win that I accomplished, even with this Achilles Heel was a gratifying one. The same is here. Each character has a life point bar that, when damaged, depletes. On it's way down to death, their strength of their attracts get weaker as you roll less dice. Also, their defense may go down, or their movement will be reduced. All leading to the demise of that character. Some may have powers that only unlock when reduced to one point of life, like the Phoenix. Making it a more realistic, down to earth system that is reflected in it's combat. If a Phoenix really excised, that is.
the bigger they are...
Talking of combat, what would an epic game like this be, without epic dice rolling. There is plenty of that in this game. Fortuna may not be your chosen Goddess, but that is no bad thing. You can manipulate your dice in an exploding fashion or sacrifice them.
Technically, five sided dice, even though they have six faces, only five of which have the possibility of doing damage. The blank face is an immediately remove dice when rolled. Any other number can be sacrificed and remove to make the value of another rise by one. Transforming a die from a three to a five by removing two other dice is a good way to hit those powerful Gods with a defense that is higher than the values marked on the dice themselves. I hear you saying, "how can I damage a God that has eight in defense but the highest value on a die is five?" The importance of have a five on your dice is they can be rolled again, adding it's new value to it's previous. Giving you those higher results with this exploding dice mechanic.
It leaves players feeling that they have some way to negate their dice rolls and manipulate the result to what they want, which many games don't give you. Unless you have a power. Added to that, the fact that when you remembered to add the bonus from the terrain and that characters special ability, will have your fist punching in the area when you achieve massive (maybe mythic level) damage.
titan against titan. it's all in the cards
If Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh! is your thing, you may take solace in the fact that you will have the same power in your hands as in those games. Your deck of cards are made up of the characters you drafted and some special Act Of War cards. Every turn, you'll add one card from your deck to you existing hand and then play one or many cards that will summon minis to the board, or move that minis if already placed. With no text, these cards are easy to read, activating the depicted character leaving you with the hard choise. Which simple or complex actions to take. Using them wisely can bring a level of complexity to your plans as each character has a different amount of cards assigned to them. Leaving you card counting your opponents deck and second guessing who they will activate the next turn.
Burning the Act Of War cards or later in the game, Omphalos cards, are a way to preform other actions. Like playing and activating a second character or drawing more cards into your hand. You can even search the deck for that valuable card that you need right now. Hand management is key element in the fight to victory. Use your cards sparingly and your army is reduced to nothing. And running through your deck too quickly may not be advisable either, as your opponent will get to place their whole remaining deck in their hand. Giving them the upper hand (excuse the pun) in the vast number of cards to pick from.
this is how epic it is...
Release the Krakken!
This is a massive game. Not only massive in scope and game play but also as massive as some of it's mini's. In particular, the Titans that are very impressive figure with a great amount of detail. In fact, every single mini, carved die, character board and other component has been magnificently produced for this game. I can not state the amount of fantastically beautiful attention to detail has gone into producing this game. Of course the art work stands out, by far. This is a game that, if I could have on the wall, I would. But I would probably have to construct a few more walls to have sufficient space to place everything. As would you, if you were to back this project at it's highest level.
If your looking for a very deep warfare experience with high production values, I could not recommend a better one. This game has teeth, like a Krakken. Battles a satisfyingly profound after the placement of you army start to amass. And many expansions that need a Krakken size hole on your gaming shelf. With deep and thoughtful decisions to made every turn, players may play as quick a someone who has looked into the eyes of Medusa. Every battle is a real fight, even struggle between the players to become the victory. If this game is missing something, it's the word "EPIC" from the title. This is the EPIC miniature combat game to end then all.
my original KS videos
Technical Score 10/10
My BGG Score 7/10
Combined Score 8.5/10