I’m a big fan of fantasy sport boardgames. I’ve made my own custom board for Blitz Bowl, I’ve painted up 6+ Blood Bowl teams and I got my son Mantic’s Dreadball for Christmas. In fact, there’s one interesting link between all three of those games: James Hewitt of Needy Cat games has been heavily involved in all of them.
So when I heard that he’d made a new alternate reality sports board game with Blacklist Games? Well, my interest was piqued.
Myth & Goal
The Kickstarter campaign for Myth & Goal is currently live. Need an elevator pitch?
Fantasy sports with loads of miniatures. You get 5 double-teams, big enough for 10 teams in Myth & Goal, or you can use the models for full Blood Bowl teams too. Gameplay-wise its shorter, less swingy and more tactical than Blood Bowl, but more crunchy than Blitz Bowl.
The campaign is going pretty decently, at 172% funded so far, with lots of extra unlocked stretch goals, including a Dwarf riding some kind of Murder Ram – which I’ve very happy with as it will make an excellent proxy model for the insanely expensive GW Dwarf Deathroller (At £48, its the cost of two Blood Bowl teams, and is 60% of the cost of the Myth & Goal box, which contains 87 miniatures… and an entire game!).
What’s it play like?
One thing that has changed a lot since I last bought a big game on Kickstarter is the widespread use of Tabletop Simulator. Thanks to that, I was able to load up a virtual demo game of Myth & Goal, and spend an enjoyable evening hammering it out with my pal James.
Following that time spent, I have some thoughts:
Unlike similar games I’ve played, there is a unique level of focus on tactics as a team and unique states for each individual player on the pitch. Player types generally share a skill, but quickly are differentiated by their Fatigue and Infractions; Shaggura on the left will be exhausted by a single further action, whereas Rutgrot risks a penalty if the coach rolls an infraction on the Gambit die.
On top of this, Tactics cards will synergise with player Special Rules and Team Focus cards. This means your squad is much more granular than in other games, and yet, by only having five on the pitch, totally within your ability to mentally grasp and strategize with.
Understanding balance is hard on a single play, but a quick look through the deck shows that a stronger Team Focus card generally unlocks weaker Tactics cards and vice versa.
I love the Infractions and Fatigue rules (as they play, anyway, as they could be more clearly explained in the draft rulebook). You never consider, in Blitz Bowl, the idea that a player might be knackered from doing all the work whilst everyone else just stands around. Or in Blood Bowl, the idea that a player might catch the eye of the ref and be progressively more likely to be sent off.
Fatigue immediately makes itself known; its a limitation of actions before your player becomes exhausted and loses their Special Rule. Bridgitte above is at her maximum fatigue – if she takes one more than the orange 3 on her card, she will flip to the exhausted side like Lars. It feels tight-but-right, constantly limiting your options and making difficult decisions the order of the day.
Infractions are perfect, the push-your-luck element that gets adrenaline pumping. You can add a Gambit die to any roll, increasing your chance at success, but with a risk of rolling an Infraction. One gets you a warning, two a penalty, three a permanent sending off of the player. At first, both James and myself felt like the Gambit die didn’t work, it was too easy, you might as well use it on every single roll. And then we rolled an Infraction. And another one. And then suddenly, the Gambit die felt like an addictive precious resource. It might give you the edge in a strongly opposed action; or it might lose you a player. Very quickly, every use of the Gambit is an interesting decision all by itself.
I’ve played a lot of Blitz Bowl recently – mostly because its so much shorter than Blood Bowl. One of the interesting aspects is that game scoring touchdowns is actually less important than scoring Challenge Cards; for things like successful passes, particularly effective tackles, running with the ball. Initially I found myself missing these additional Challenge Cards points, but I think the scoring options are broad enough to be interesting in Myth & Goal.
You can score two points with a Score On Goal – basically throwing a ball through the hoop – or 5 points with a Breach the Bastion – somewhat like a traditional touchdown in a more limited space. Already this provides two very different approaches, and its layered with the fact that play doesn’t stop – the ball is immediately released in the Gate of the player that was just scored against. In effect this means that you have to be very careful when scoring that you don’t leave yourself open for an immediate counterattack.
The tightness of actions makes it even more interesting – unlike Blood Bowl, you don’t have options for your whole team to set up a careful defensive line and connect an attack, nor do you have the post-touchdown reset to prep yourself. It keeps things fast and tight.
I’m excited about Myth & Goal.
It seems reasonable to say that you can feel James Hewitt under the hood here; for example I see a lot of ideas from Blitz Bowl coming through – the score board is basically identical, the lack of reset post-goal is very familiar – but Myth & Goal is definitely its own game. I’m looking forwards to playing it and I am confident it will be providing tons of tight, interesting, fun decisions.
The Kickstarter also looks to be insanely good value, frankly for the models alone. If you play Blood Bowl or Blitz Bowl, you are getting Dwarf, Orc, Human, Elf and Lizardman teams for those games too – plus Star Players and it looks like a Rats team will also be fully unlocked – and you are getting an extremely interesting game in its own right! One of the things I love about Blitz Bowl is that it uses models you already have. This does more of the same, and I’m sure there will be unofficial team and player cards for other common teams after it drops.
If you are intrigued, check out the Myth & Goal Kickstarter here – or click the image on the right. You have about 3 days left to make up your mind!
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