Friday, March 20, 2015

Terra Mystica

Wednesday night this week was gaming night. A couple of co-workers I hadn't met before (brother and sister) talked me and Kevin M into a game of Terra Mytica.  Mike's sales job wasn't good up front.  He said it's like Cataan, and Carcassonne, and Small World, and Puerto Rico, and x, and y, and z.  That was a bit intimidating.  But it wasn't as difficult to play (strategy, yes) as that description.

The idea is that you're terraforming the land and each person is a particular race (Small World) with certain bonuses.  They prefer a particular type of land and try to terraform (shovel) it to their preferred land.  Once it's their preferred land they can build on it (Cataan) and upgrade the huts/towns to buildings that produce more workers and priests. There's a separate track for using the priests to generate points by having worshipers.  Biggest town (7+ points of buildings in proximity) gets points and towns generate other points/bonuses.  Many things let you cycle magical energy so you can bet yet more works/priests/shovels.  And there are cards that you can pick from each turn that have a special skill/money/etc (Puerto Rico).  So it comes down to a balance - do you focus on the worshipers, the town, blocking others, straight up scoring...

I focused on worshipers, but only because I had all sorts of priests my race really couldn't use.  And then, while everyone was pondering that priest board, I was squirreling away workers so that on the last turn I could increase my shoveling ability, which decreased the cost per shovel, and allowed me to maximize shoveling per worker.  The benefit there is that the last turn had a 2 pts/shovel bonus and I terraformed everything I could reach just to get the points.

The joke while playing with a couple of software developers is that those buildings look a lot like something you'd see in a Visio diagram.  We were pretty sure we were looking at network diagrams of servers (taller rectangles), databases (cylinder), and server farms or data centers (that big block).  It's not nearly as fun if you think you're building a redundant network.

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