In other words, I ended up learning the game on an online face-to-face game. And I still don’t know what it’s like to play the game physically, interacting with the clear cards and sleeves.
Okay, everyone who is reading this has almost assuredly played more Mystic Vale than me and has a better idea of how it works. But here are my initial thoughts.
Mystic Vale is a deck builder where you use sleeves and clear cards to build cards (meaning that you don’t add more cards to your deck, you just make the cards you already have more interesting) with a push your luck mechanic for drawing cards. And having played a decent number of deck builders and push your luck games, what surprised me is that, mechanically, Mystic Vale seems simple.
Not that means light or bad or that you get to be an expert right off the bat, just that the process of how you get the moving parts moving is easy to learn. The individual pieces are not complex. But just because I know what a gear is doesn’t mean I can make a good clock without experience.
Mystic Vale has also made me think about Hecatomb, a weird little collectible card game that also used transparent cards. While I know that I played some demos of it and got some some starter decks when it first came out, I have almost no memories of what it was like to play. My only two memories are that it felt overly complicated and that there was an undead house cat card that disturbed my cat-loving self.
I do remember that you created layers of cards and I am absolutely convinced that Mystic Vale takes that idea and streamlines it, simplifies it and just makes it better.
I don’t know how good Mystic Vale will be in the long run. I do know that I had fun with my learning game and that I am going to be playing it again in the future.