Friday, July 5, 2024

Nine Perils: Mysticana’s first steps

 It only makes sense that my first foray into Mysticana was Nine Perils, the solitaire option of the core games. I mean, I only have to find myself in order to try out the game.

For me, Mysticana is going to live or die by the solitaire games. If I’m not enjoying it, then at least I’m not spreading the misery around. Solitaire games are how you test drive game systems.
And I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am alone on focusing in on the solitaire options. It seems like more and more games have solo modes. There is a definite demand for it. Out of the first nine planned expansions, if I’ve counted right, six of them are solo or have solo options. (Holy cow, that’s a lot)

Mysticana is an eighteen card deck that has three suites ranked A to 6. The suites are elemental themed with a rock-paper-scissors hierarchy. Water beats fire. Fire beats earth. Earth beats water. If I keep looking at these games, I feel like I should copy and paste the paragraph.

Nine Perils is pretty darn simple. Shuffle the deck and make a line of nine facedown cards. The other nine cards are your draw pile. Draw a hand of one to three cards (the bigger your hand, the easier the game) Flip over the middle card in the line and you’re ready to go.

Turns are simple. Turn over a line card. Draw a card from the draw pile. Play a card under one of the line cards. Game ends and figuring out if you’ve won or not when you’ve got a line of your own nine cards under the original line.

If every card in your line is greater than the card above it, you win. Which would mean you have to be lucky and good at card counting. But there’s a twist. If there’s a tie, that card and the next card down the line are determined by third card.

Basically, if you can set up a cascade of ties ending with your card beating the last card in the line, you win. Ideally, four cards will get skipped over and it doesn’t matter what you played on those spots.

So, Nine Perils really comes down to trying to do this one clever thing. You could also hope to being really lucky but the cascade move is really the goal. And that one clever thing is a very obvious strategy.

But… I found myself playing three times in a row until I got that cascade. The game play and the goal are simple and obvious but it was still satisfying. I’ll keep playing it and probably at a higher difficulty.

Nine Perils isn’t revolutionary or brilliant. It is a solid little solitaire though. I don’t think it’s a killer game that will make Mysticana famous. It does make me think that the deck does have potential.

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