Welcome back to the Myth & Goal Designer Diaries! So far I’ve given you an overview of the game and talked about the Players that make up a team; last time, I promised I’d talk a bit more about actions, but it occurred to me that I haven’t really given you a zoomed-out view of the game! That’s probably a sensible thing to start with – a zoomed-out look at the game board, how a game plays out, and how a team uses its Tactics Cards. A well-organised designer might have introduced these high-level concepts in the first or second diary, before going into detail, but I’ve never claimed to belong to that camp and I don’t plan to start now.
Right, let’s dig in.
The biggest and most important part of the game board is the field of play – that’s the big grassy splodge in the middle. This is where all the action happens! The field is divided up into a number of Areas, each of which can generally hold up to three Players at a time.
Down the middle of the field is the imaginatively named Midfield Row, either side of which are three rows that make up a team’s Half (where their Players are set up at the start of a period of play). Deep into each team’s half is their Gatehouse, a sturdy wooden wall which separates their Bastion from the rest of the field; if an opposing Player can run the ball around the Gatehouse (and, presumably, the defenders) and into the Bastion, they’ll score a mighty five points for their team. A Player who wants a slightly easier life can attempt to throw the ball through the Goal that’s lashed above the opposing team’s Gatehouse, scoring a less impressive two points. Either way, when a team scores, the scoring Player is teleported to their team’s Encampment (a tent near their own Gatehouse, which acts as a staging area for Players who are waiting to re-enter the field), along with any friendly players who are in the opposing team’s Bastion or directly in front of their Goal. This provides a gentle leg-up to the team who conceded points, and discourages Players from hanging around the other team’s scoring areas. Then the Ball returns to the field and play continues!
Let’s talk a bit more about how play is structured. Each game of Myth & Goal represents a single Contest, in which two teams of eight players face off across the field of play, trying to score the most points over the course of three Periods. At the start of a Period, each Manager forms five of their eight Players into a Squad, relegating the remaining three to their Bench (where they can catch their breath and recover from Exhaustion, as explained in the last diary entry). Each Squad sets up in their half of the field; one team is chosen to be the Aggressor (the Home team in the first Period, the Away team in the second, and the losing team in the third) and can give the Ball to one of their Players. Once play starts, the teams alternate taking turns, making Actions with their players and either trying to score with the ball, or prevent the other team from scoring (and hopefully steal the ball, and score themselves!) Once each team has taken four turns, the Period is over. Play is continuous throughout a Period, even after a team scores, so Managers need to be careful – if they push their offence too hard, they might not have enough players in their half of the field to defend against the inevitable counterattack!
As well as setting up their Squad at the start of a Period, each Manager goes through their Tactics Deck and secretly chooses two cards, which they will be able to play during the Period. The cards in a team’s Deck are determined by the Set Icons on their Faction and Focus cards; this means that a Devious team will have a whole different set of cards to a Versatile one, so even if they’re both a Westarch Ruffians team, they’ll play very differently. Picking your Tactics cards requires a bit of forward planning (not to mention second-guessing your opponent). Some cards give a lesser bonus but can be used in a wide range of situations, while others are very powerful but very situational.
Deciding how to build your Squad, and which Tactics will go well with them, are key elements that a Manager needs to grapple with if they want to get good! One other thing they’ll need to consider is when to use their Time Out. Each team can do this once per Contest, at the start of any of their turns. It lets them remove one of their Players from the field and replace them with a Player from their Bench, and also swap one of the Tactics cards in their hand with one in their Deck. A Time Out is a very powerful tool, letting you react to the game state, but you can only do it once. Use it too early, and you might regret it later, when you really need it; leave it too late, and you might have already missed your best moment.
We certainly hope you’re enjoying these design diaries, and that you’re finding them informative. We’ve still got a few to go – next time we’ll get into the actions and dice rolls, promise! Oh, and here’s a bit of exciting news if you’re someone who prefers to learn about a game by playing it: when the Kickstarter goes live, we’ll have a fully playable demo available on Tabletop Simulator. Exciting!
Myth & Goal is coming to Kickstarter on September 21, so make sure to sign up for updates and previews by visiting the Myth & Goal page so you're the first to know once we launch!
Also, make sure to follow Blacklist Games on Instagram to see the premiere of many exciting character art and miniature previews!