Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Mythic Americas - Rules Review

Unfortunately, the overall clusterfeth of the pandemic mixed with the holiday season meant that Warlord Games has had some trouble getting their shipments out.

I thought I would just wait, but the opportunity presented itself for me to pick up the limited edition collector's set and, well...

Yeah. So I thought I'd do a little overview of the system. (I'm still waiting on part of that order from Warlord. I want my Jaguar Warriors!)

To start, at it's very core, Mythic Americas is Warlords of Erehwon, and you can find a very good review of the system by DakkaDakka user auticus here. The bones of the system are the same: D10's, low rolls are better, randomly drawn order dice, etc.

Mythic Americas thoughtfully put together a single page that summarizes the differences between itself and Erehwon:

The Way

After creating a warband, you are randomly assigned one of two Alignments: The Everchanging or the Everliving. Since this is done right before the game, you never know exactly what resources your warband will have. Your Alignment will determine which Blessings (a set of six, single use abilities) your warband receives, which Devotions (secondary objectives) you can get, and potentially which Magic your wizards can take.

That's another difference - unlike Erehwon, magic in Mythic Americas is faction specific. An Inca High Priest and a Tribal Nations Medicine Man will have radically different spells.

There's a very nice set of cards that have all these rules on them, which makes selecting Devotions and keeping track of spells and Blessings simple.

So, to play a game, you make your warband, find out which Alignment you are, choose the Balance of the Way (the primary scenario) and randomly select a hidden Devotion of the Way (secondary objective), and your off! Games last for six turns or until one side breaks, with a 50% chance of continuing on for an additional turn.

The primary scenarios are pretty interesting. No straight up brawls here. "Build Altars for the Gods" has players building objective points and destroying the opponents. "Rainy Season" sees both players struggling over a series of bridges to push onto the enemy side of the table. In "The Great Hunt", warbands compete to run down randomly spawned spirit animals. During "Pillage the Village" both warbands need to raid five buildings while preventing the opposing player from doing the same. With "Liberators and Captors", the warbands will need to transport captured enemies across the field while trying to free those under the opposing warbands control. And in "Fog of War", only half the warband is deployed, as reinforcements pour into the fight from all sides.

The secondary objectives add some spice to the primary scenarios. For example, the Everliving have "Endocannibalism Ritual in Honor of Gaia" which will score a victory point if a ritual can be enacted at the site of a friendly unit's destruction. The Everchanging have the reverse, "Cannibalism for the Devourer King" where the ritual must take place using a destroyed enemy unit. More Devotions include, "Divide and Conquer!", "Through Enemy Lines", "A Worthy Sacrifice", and "Trophy Hunters".

I think my only complaint about the book is the imagery. There's some repeat usage of models and some black and grey renders of units that haven't been made yet. There's also a few images that are blown up to a degree that their quality takes a hit, or could have been replaced by better pictures. I think these could have been worked on a little more, or replaced with artwork.

To close this out, here's a quick look at the four factions included in the rules:

The Tribal Nations are described as "a hit-and-run, finesse army." You have a number of lightly armored, fast troops that can ignore terrain restrictions (and even have magic to move certain terrain features around). Wolves and giant eagles act as fast flankers, while hardier monsters like Sasquatches and the terrifying Wendigo can strike from the woods and cause havoc.

The Aztecs are "designed around a core of many, lower quality undead warriors that, when enhanced by magic, can stand toe-to-to with tougher enemies." Their living warriors are elite but fragile. The faction is supplemented by a number of decent spellcasters, including the formidable Quetzalcoatl, as well as the corpse-throwing, undead monstrosity of the Ayar.

The Incas "represent a balanced, elite force that excel in magic and other ranged attacks." Many of their units have the Shieldwall ability, giving them a slow, grinding playstyle. This is helped by ayllus (a bola-like weapon) throwing warriors, Condor Riders, and the snake-like Maras that works well as a harassing monster. The Incas also have access to the only spellcaster that can cast two spells per turn.

The Maya are an "elite, well trained force with warbands that usually muster fewer models. They rely on psychology rather than brute strength" to win fights, and many of their units have the "Cause Fear" and "Vicious" special rules. Apart from the regular units of infantry, the Maya can count on units of Werejaguars and swarms of Alux (small, totem statues that cause pins instead of wounds). They're backed up by the bat monster Camazotz, which can use its speed, flight, and Baleful Glare to strike fear into the heart of enemy warbands. Unlike other warbands, the Maya rely solely on their Alignment to determine their magic.

In the book, each of these army lists are accompanied by a well-researched (as evidenced by the reference section in the back) overview of the historical peoples that the factions are based on.

All in all, I'm very excited to start playing Mythic Americas, and I've begun work on my Aztec warband. And I'll be picking up a Maya warband when they're released later this year!

I'm also interested to see more units and factions added into this game.

When the original pre-orders for Mythic Americas went up, I decided to pick up the small starter set and some additional units to try out the game.

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