Mystic Vale: Vale of the Wild Review - Take A Drink Everytime Vale Is Mentioned

Not much to say here really. Mystic Vale was an innovative card-crafting game from 2016, which despite being good, had the flaw of not having enough cards present. We've had one expansion to date to address that issue and now we have a second. However on this occasion, it's not just a bunch of new cards. Now you have leaders to use as well, or to put it in gamer terms, player powers. An improvement, a detriment or will you barely even notice them? 

Also AEG - Stop naming your expansions using the same name as your base set. You don't need to include the word "vale" in everything, you'll just confuse buyers! 




Designer: John D. Clair
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
Age: 8+
Players: 2-4 
Time: 60-90 minutes
RRP: £19.99 


From the AEG website:

As the struggle to restore the Valley of Life intensifies, the ranks of those combating the curse continues to swell. Some druids, in particular, are rising to the forefront as potent leaders. While they are as varied in their approach and nature as the druidic clans themselves, these servants of Gaia all strive for the day when a wicked king’s bitter wrath no longer taints their world.

Vale of the Wild adds a large variety of new advancement and vale cards to the base Mystic Vale game. Players can start the game with new leader cards in their deck. Leaders grant abilities that can be upgraded to become even more powerful! New eclipse advancements may be covered by another advancement and still add its ability to the card, offering greater flexibility to craft cards and enhance powerful combos.



UNLEASH YOUR ANIMAL SPIRIT


Vale of Magic contains 80 new cards matching the same quality and card stock as seen previously:

54 advancements (18 new titled cards in each of the 3 positions)
18 vale cards
8 leader cards


As before, you can't distinguish the cards from the base set so good luck filtering them out of the game if you don't want the expansions in, although why would you even consider such a thing, we were all crying out for more cards in the first place after all? The leaders however are entirely optional and you can forgo those if you want to keep life simple. 








BORN TO BE WILD


Two new mechanics are thrown in here. Firstly the Eclipse cards - very straightforward. These may be covered by another advancement and still add its ability to the card, offering greater flexibility to craft cards and enhance powerful combos.

But the real new addition here is the Leaders. Essentially these are player powers that can be upgraded during the game to be more powerful or simply grant more victory points. They take the place of one of your blank cards in the deck so you still stay at 20 overall. These really should have been in the first expansion, hell maybe even the base game. They help to give players a sense of direction, much like the Leaders expansion did for 7 Wonders. So far I'm not seeing any major balance issues, though some are easier to grasp than others for new players. I'm definitely enjoying using them though and to be honest, I'm happy leaving them in for new players as well. 



OTHER DRUIDS EXIST. . . I THINK


There is no replacing of cards so you simply add these new ones in. This does lead to a little dilution within the game, but it's not even really a flaw here. It just means that because you can't count on a particular advancement being available to purchase that you have to react to what's out on the table. I don't see how that's a bad thing especially as new players won't know what cards exist anyway and I'm certainly not going to memorise them all. If anything it actually improves the replay value as now the Level 1 advancements in particular have a greater influence in how the game will progress - remember you only use so many of them in one game.

There's also a heavier focus on decay now. Which I admit is kind of strange when you're supposed to be a druid benefiting the land, but hey ho, evil druids exist in fantasy lore so I'll roll with it. Some of the new cards will give you extra points or benefits for added decay symbols, but making the most of them will take some practice. 

Still however, Mystic Vale remains a multiplayer solitaire experience as these abilities aren't really enabling players to interact off each other, but I guess this is going to be always the case until maybe another game arises using the card crafting system. I don't mind as I still enjoy the variety and crafting, but you know me, I love a bit of player interaction. 




VERDICT ON MYSTIC VALE: VALE OF THE WILD


If you're going to choose which expansion to get, I'd nab this one first. You don't need the previous one to make it work and this one at least adds the Leaders in, which are a nice addition to add some variety and some direction for new and old players alike. It's a costly purchase for what you get, but if you're a fan, more cards and some added player powers will go down well. 


   


BROKEN RATING - 7 SPOILT PINE TREES





YOU WILL LIKE VALE OF THE WILD IF:


You enjoy the base set and simply want more of the same - more cards!


You don't want new abilities that are overly complicated.


You like having unique player powers.




YOU WILL NOT LIKE VALE OF MAGIC IF:



You think given the additional cost that this really should have been in the base game.


You were hoping it would add some player interaction.


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