Hey Mythball fans, and welcome back to another designer diary! It’s not long to go now until the Kickstarter launch on September 21; have you signed up to be notified when the campaign goes live? In the meantime, let’s talk a bit more about the game’s mechanics. (If you want to catch up on previous diary entries, they’re here.)
At its heart, Myth & Goal is a game all about Actions. An Action is a set of rules that a Player uses to do something on the field. There are four core Actions that are available to all Players:
Run is the most commonly-used Action, and with good reason – it’s the main way of moving your Players around the field! This Action lets a Player move from area to area (always orthogonally, never diagonally) a number of times equal to their Speed rating. Any standing Player can make a Run Action, but if they want to leave an area that contains any standing enemy Players, they’ll have to Evade. More on that in a minute.
Tackle is the main offensive action. It can be made by any standing Player who isn’t carrying the Ball, and lets them hurl themselves at an opposing Player in the hopes of giving them Fatigue or knocking them down.
The last two Actions, Pass and Shoot, work in a similar way. They’re only available to a player who’s carrying the Ball, and are used to throw the ball to a teammate or attempt a throw through the Goal above the other team’s Gatehouse.
In addition to these core four Actions, some Players have unique Actions listed on their Player Cards, and others can be found on Tactics Cards (which can be played once per game). Sometimes, these modify existing actions in interesting ways; Morik Rokland, Charger for the Durnhold Anvils, can make the Bull Charge action, which lets him move into an adjacent area (automatically Evading any enemies) and then make a free Tackle action. Other times, unique Actions are a bit more unusual; the “Swipe the Ball” tactics card lets you target the Ball Carrier and give them a choice: take Fatigue or drop the ball.
When it’s your team’s turn, you gain four Action Tokens, and can spend each one to make an Action with one of your Players. After the Action’s been resolved, you flip the token over – revealing the "Fatigue" side – and place it on the Player’s card. If you want to know more about why that matters, check out the second designer diary in which we spoke about how Fatigue affects Players!
So that’s a decent explanation of what Actions are, but I’ve not really talked about how they work. A lot of Actions feature an element of uncertainty; will your Running Player manage to Evade the opponent who’s trying to slow them down? Will your Tackle hit hard enough to bring down the ball carrier? Will the Throw be intercepted? Whenever this is the case, the rules call for an Action Test – which will make use of some rather flashy custom dice.
Each player has a set of five Check Dice and a single Gambit Die. Each Check Die has a combination of Hit and Block symbols on its faces, with a slightly greater number of Hits than Blocks. The Gambit Die features the same symbols but in greater quantities, as well as the dreaded Infraction Symbol… but we’ll get to that!
An Action Test is an opposed dice roll between the two Managers, directly pitting the Player making the Action against a Player from the other team. Each Player uses one of the Ability Ratings on their card (which we also talked about in Diary 2), which determines the number of Check Dice rolled by their Manager. The number of dice can be adjusted by various factors, such as additional supporting players (increasing the number of dice) or long range for a throw (decreasing it).
Both Managers roll the dice. The Active Manager counts up the number of Hits they scored. The Opposing Manager, meanwhile, counts up Blocks they rolled; each one removes a Hit from the Active Manager’s result. Then, if the Active Manager’s result contains three or more Hits, the test results in a Full Success, which generally means the Active Player achieves exactly what they set out to do! If it contains one or two Hits, the result is a Partial Success, which might mean the Player achieves something close to what they were attempting, or might give one of the Managers a tough decision (for example, a Partial Success on a Tackle action means the target can either take one Fatigue or be knocked down).
All of this information is summarised in a handy Test Chart, which accompanies the rules for an Action (and which can be found on the back of the rulebook, for quick reference) – although in our experience, players only need them for the first few rounds of their first game.
THE GAMBIT DIE & WARNINGS
I talked about the Gambit Die earlier, and you might be wondering what it does. When a Manager really wants to increase their chance of success (or their chance of preventing an opposing Player’s success!) they have the option to include the Gambit Die on any roll. This is always an option, and doesn’t come at a cost… well, not a cost up-front, anyway.
Using the Gambit Die represents a Player giving the action their all, and possibly pushing out of their comfort zone. The results can be spectacular – most faces give additional hits or blocks, and one even doubles the number of hits or blocks in your roll (!!) – but look out for the dreaded Infraction symbol! If you roll this, it means your player’s broken one of the rigorously-enforced rules of Mythball, and will receive a Warning!
Like Fatigue, Warnings are tracked by placing tokens on a Player’s card. Unlike Fatigue, you can’t get rid of them until the end of the Contest (i.e. game). The first time a Player receives a Warning, it has no effect on play. The second one – represented by flipping the Warning Token to its Serious Warning side – comes with a Penalty. This triggers a teleportation spell, sending the Player straight to their Encampment, where they’ll have to stay until their next turn. If a Player makes a third Infraction they are Ejected from the Contest, and will not be able to take any further part in its proceedings, in the same way as if they’d Collapsed from exhaustion. Vitally, you can’t replace such a Player until the end of the Period (unless you use your once-per-Contest Time Out) which puts you at a significant disadvantage.
This presents Managers with some tricky choices. If you’re planning an all-out offensive but all of your team’s hard hitters have one or two Infractions, should you send them in… or leave them on the Bench and use some less capable players? “Give players interesting decisions” is always one of our key design aims at Needy Cat Games, and Myth & Goal is full of them!
Well, that’s probably enough for this week’s entry. Come back next time for the scoop on advanced play options, including Solo Play, Free Agents and League Play!
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!