What is Mycelia well, its the root like structures of fungi. The spores sent out from fruited fungi (mushrooms) are what starts the Mycelia structures. Then when they meet up with another mycelia structure and form a dikaryotic then the mycelia can fruit and form the mushrooms we all love. This cycle is the process that the game Mycelia from Split Stone Games is simulating. Mycelia is designed and beautifully Illustrated by J.J. Neville.
Mycelia is a tactical tile placement game where players go through the journey of of the lifecycle of Fungi. Players will grow their network of mycelia and grow mushrooms and spore them to score points. Players start with 5 slots to grow mushrooms and when they grow, spore, and then decay the mushrooms in all 5 slots the game ends. The player that triggers the end of the game scores 5 bonus points. Each time a mushroom is grown players score points.
The setup of the game board is super easy 12 of the triangle tiles get setup in a star shape and the players start their mother mushroom in the center 6 tiles. The mother mushroom is a players primary token this is the initial mushroom that can move and spread spores. Players need to have the spores on tiles of certain colors to grow the mushrooms.
Players take 2 actions from a selection of 6 actions on their turn. A player can move their mother mushroom, explore by placing a new tile on the board or spore by placing cubes onto the board. Players may also fruit by placing a mushroom card from their hand into one of the five slots. Decaying mushrooms takes the mushroom card and places it behind the slot it was in and causes an action. The last two actions player may take are discovering where they draft new mushroom cards and finally, player can use insect tokens they have collected to move other players mother or refresh he mushroom market.
Throughout a game of Mycelia player will be filling up the board with spore tokens and growing and decaying mushrooms. This looks and feels like like players are a part of the lifecycle of fungi. The cards have beautiful illustrations of Mushrooms that are also contain a lot of game play information that's easily understood. This makes game play move fast and smoothly. During the game players will compete for space on the board with intersecting Mycelia networks. The area control aspect is a little different than most area control games as the networks can be split and player may utilize other players spore tokens if the circumstances are right. Points are scored (gold diamond on the card) by utilizing the spore tokens to grow mushrooms. The key of scoring a maximum amount of point is to know when to end the game by decaying a mushroom in all 5 spots. When players decay mushrooms that opens up the spot for another mushroom and the possibility to gain more points. The lifecycle and the area control aspect are a unique combination that give the game a lot of depth.
The lifecycle and the area control aspect are a unique combination that give the game a lot of depth.
The game also includes a single player variant that is card driven and works really well to give players a similar experience to playing with other players. The single player game only has one automata opponent. I don't see why you could not play with more the automata,the rules are scalable and it would make it challenging. The automata has an easy and hard version to use. The automata rules do not have the player wasting time trying to figure out what the automated player is going to do. The simple iconography from the main game is ever present in the automata.
Mycelia is a great area control game with lots of fun mushroom art. This game includes a solo variant that will have you coming back for more. Gather your friends around for a light to mid weight game that is perfect for a game night feature. Added bonus is you may just learn a thing or two about mushrooms along the way. Mycelia will be on kickstarter next week so hit that notify me button and get the latest on the launch.
Year Published: 2024
Recommended Ages: 10+
Time to Play: 40-90 minutes
A copy of Mycelia was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for review purposes by Split Stone Games. This is a pre-porduction copy and the production version may differ from what is pictured in this preview.