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Gamehelpterramystica

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Overview

Terra Mystica is a civilization building game for 2 to 5 players. At the beginning of the game, you'll choose a faction, each of which has its own separate home terrain and special abilities. As the game progresses, you'll terraform the land, build new buildings, and upgrade existing ones in order to collect more income and score more points. The player with the most points after 6 rounds wins!

Note that certain factions will change some of the rules here - exceptions and additions will be mentioned in parentheses and summarized at the end of this article.

Game Anatomy

At any given moment, each player will have the following resources:

  • Workers, represented by white cubes. These are usually earned from dwellings and can be spent to build new buildings.
  • Coins, represented by...well, coins. These are usually earned from trading posts and from taking bonus tiles not chosen by other players, and can be spent to build new buildings.
  • Priests, represented by meeples. These are usually earned from temples and sanctuaries and can be spent to increase on the cult tracks and to upgrade your terraforming and shipping.
  • Power, represented by purple discs. These are placed in three bowls, labeled I, II, and III. Power is typically gained from trading posts, strongholds, and as a side effect from other players building near you. When you gain power, you cycle it from bowl I to bowl II; if bowl I is empty, then you move from bowl II to bowl III. Only the power in bowl III can actually be spent, and doing so moves it back to bowl I. In other words, power needs to charge itself twice before it becomes usable.

Players also have the following things in or near their faction boards:

  • Buildings. The cost to build each building is given underneath it. When a building is in play, it exposes resources, which can then be earned during the income phase.
  • The terrain cycle. Your faction's home terrain is pictured at the top, and all others in a circle around it, separated by shovels. Your buildings can only be placed in your faction's home terrain, and the closer another terrain is on this circle, the easier it is to terraform something into your home terrain.
  • Your terraforming rating. The higher this is, the fewer workers are needed in order to terraform a space. (Darklings don't have this.)
  • Your shipping rating. The higher this is, the more river spaces you can skip for the purposes of adjacency. (Dwarves and Fakirs don't have this.)
  • Any other special abilities your faction may have. At minimum, you'll have one ability by default, and another when your stronghold is built. See the bottom of this article for more information on them.

The board as a whole contains the following features:

  • The game map.
  • The round tracker. There are six rounds in the game, each represented by a tile. During each round, building a specific building or taking a specific action will award bonus points, and at the end of a round, you will receive an additional bonus based on how far you've advanced on the cult tracks (except during the last round).
  • Special powers. Each of these provides a bonus when used, and can be claimed by any player for the appropriate power cost. These can each be used once per round.
  • The cult tracks. There are four cult tracks, fire, water, earth, and air. Players receive a bonus at the end of each round based on their progress here, and additional points for advancing the furthest at the end of the game.
  • Bonus tiles. These are worth additional income or bonus points. At any given moment, each player will claim one of them, then exchange them when they pass for the round, so there will be three unclaimed ones to choose from.
  • Divine favors. These are worth additional income, bonus points, and cult spaces, and are claimed on building a temple or sanctuary.
  • Town tiles. These are worth bonus points and some other one-time bonus, and are claimed when a player builds a town.

Setup

Before the game begins, in addition to segments automated by BGA, each player does the following:

  • 1. Each player, in turn order, selects a faction to play as and takes all components and starting resources needed for that faction.
  • 2. Each player, in turn order, places one of their dwellings on any space on the board of their home terrain. Don't pay for this dwelling. (Chaos Magicians don't place a dwelling yet.)
  • 3. Each player, in reverse turn order, places a second dwelling on any space on the board of their home terrain. Don't pay for this dwelling either. (Nomads place a third dwelling after all other players have placed their second dwelling. Chaos Magicians place their first and only dwelling after all other players, regardless of the turn order.)
  • 4. Each player, in reverse turn order, claims a bonus tile. Any bonus tiles not claimed get 1 coin placed on them, and the next player to claim these gets the money attached to them.

Game Flow

Terra Mystica is played across six rounds. Each round is broken into three phases:

  • 1. Income phase. Each player collects income. Any printed resource with an open hand under it is income, and these will generally be found from the spaces under built buildings, your bonus tile, and some divine favors.
  • 2. Action phase. Each player, in turn, takes an action. All players continue taking actions one by one until all players have passed.
  • 3. Cult phase. Each player gets a bonus based on their progression on a cult track specified by the round. For every number of spaces advanced on the specified cult track, players get the specified bonus. If this bonus involves terraforming, this is completed in turn order.

What To Do On Your Turn

One turn consists of taking one action, possibly with free conversions before or after this. Here are the actions you may take on your turn. Note that certain actions will be worth points just for doing based on the round tiles.

  • 1. Terraform the land. You may terraform one space any number of spaces. At the beginning of the game, each step of your terraforming track will cost 3 workers, but this can be improved later. The space you are terraforming must be adjacent to an existing building. If this space is now your home terrain (or already was to begin with), you may build a dwelling by paying the appropriate cost. (Darklings pay priests to do this instead of workers. Halflings score 1 point for each terraform performed this way. Dwarves and Fakirs may opt to pay a cost to terraform/build one space further away and gain points.)
  • 2. Improve an existing building. This replaces one building type with another. A dwelling can be upgraded to a trading post. You pay the smaller money cost if it's adjacent to another player, and the bigger cost if it isn't. A trading post can be upgraded to either a stronghold or a temple, and a temple can be upgrade to a sanctuary. If you build a temple or sanctuary, you also get a divine favor (two divine favors if playing as the Chaos Magicians). If you build your stronghold, you get another special ability dependent on your faction - see the end of the article for how that works.
  • 3. Improve your terraforming rating. By paying the cost given, you move your terraforming rating up one step, thereby gaining 6 points and reducing the cost for how many workers are required to terraform a space. (Darklings don't have this. Halflings have a reduced cost to do this.)
  • 4. Improve your shipping rating. By paying the cost given, you move your shipping rating up one step, gaining points. From now on, you may skip over that number of river spaces when determining adjacency. (Dwarves and Fakirs don't have this. Mermaids have a different track, ranging from 1-5 instead of everyone else's 0-3.)
  • 5. Send a priest to a cult track. Move up the specified number of spaces on the track. If you pass by any gates containing power, gain that amount of power. Priests sent here remain there for the rest of the game. To advance to space 10 of any track, you need a key, gained from forming a town.
  • 6. Take any special action, indicated by an orange octagon. Six of these are on the board, cost power to use, and are first come first served amongst all players. Other actions may be printed on faction boards, divine favors, or bonus tiles.
  • 7. Pass. When you pass, gain any bonus points included on bonus tiles or divine favors (if any; the Engineers also have a bonus here if their stronghold is built), then select a new bonus tile. If you are the first player to pass, you will be the first player in the next round. (If the Variable Turn Order option is enabled, the turn order will be the same as the order in which they passed; otherwise, it will proceed clockwise from there.) You no longer take actions for the rest of this round.

If you build next to another player, they have an option to gain power from this. Specifically, each building type has a power level associated with it - dwellings are worth 1, trading posts and temples 2, and strongholds and sanctuaries 3. For each power level on buildings directly adjacent (in other words, ignore shipping for this) to the one you built, they can gain 1 power. However, they will also lose points equal to the amount gained this way minus 1. This power gain is optional, and is not at all dependent on which building was built to trigger this. (If any player accepts this power gain as a result of the Cultists' building activity, the Cultists can advance one step on any cult track.)

If your move results in four or more directly adjacent buildings with a total power level of 7 or more, this forms a town. If the Sanctuary is one of those buildings, this can be completed with 3 buildings. One divine favor reduces the power cost to 6. Towns are worth additional points, some other one-time bonus, and an opportunity to advance to space 10 on a cult track (the "11 points" tile does not have this key, and the "2 points/2 steps on each cult track space" has two keys; both of these are part of the Mini-Expansions option). Any new buildings directly adjacent to this are considered part of the same town and can't be used to form a new one; however, two towns can freely be merged together once already established. (Witches and Swarmlings get extra bonuses on forming a town. Mermaids can include one river tile in their town.)

In addition to the above, there are free conversion actions you may take before or after the above actions. These are specified near your power bowls of your faction board. You may exchange power for resources, or downgrade other resources (i.e. turn a priest into a worker, or a worker into a coin). Another type of free action is to burn power. To do this, move any number of power discs from bowl II to bowl III, and remove the same amount of power from bowl II from the game. This can be useful if you need to get power immediately.

End Of The Game

The game ends after 6 rounds. At the end, players earn bonus points based on the following:

  • The player with the largest connected civilization earns 18 points. The second largest civilization scores 12, and the third largest scores 6. Civilizations are considered "connected" if they are directly adjacent, or can reach each other using their shipping track (or the range attached to Dwarves' digging or Fakirs' flying). If players are tied for a position, add the value for that position and the next, and split it between all players.
  • For each cult track, the player highest on the track score 8 points, the second highest scores 4, and the third highest scores 2. Ties are broken the same way they are with largest civilization.
  • For every 3 coins left in your supply, gain 1 point. All resources are automatically downgraded to coins for this. (Alchemists instead gain 1 point for every 2 coins.)

After all this, the player with the most points at the end of the game wins!

Faction Abilities

If you are playing for the first time, Witches, Nomads, Mermaids, and Halflings are generally seen as some of the most straightforward factions.

Alchemists

  • Home terrain: Swamps (Black)
  • Any time you would be able to do a free conversion, you may trade 1 point for 1 coin, or 2 coins for 1 point. (This last part is done automatically during final scoring.)
  • When you build your stronghold, gain 12 power. Additionally, each time you terraform (from any action or effect), you gain 2 power.

Auren

  • Home terrain: Forests (Green)
  • When you build your stronghold, gain a divine favor. Additionally, you now have access to a new action. This action allows you to advance two spaces on any cult track.

Chaos Magicians

  • Home terrain: Wastelands (Red)
  • You start the game with only one dwelling, placed after all other players have place their dwellings.
  • When you build a temple or sanctuary, gain two divine favors instead of one.
  • When you build your stronghold, you have access to a new action. This action allows you to take two turns in a row.

Cultists

  • Home terrain: Plains (Brown)
  • When another player gains power as a result of your building activity, advance one step on any cult track. If no players gained power from this, but still had the opportunity to do this, instead gain 1 power. (But if no player was able to gain power at all, nothing happens.)
  • When you build your stronghold, gain 7 points.

Darklings

  • Home terrain: Swamps (Black)
  • Instead of terraforming as normal, you can use one priest to terraform one step. Gain 2 points each time you do this. Because of the above, you have no terraform rating.
  • When you build your stronghold, you may exchange up to 3 workers for one priest apiece.

Dwarves

  • Home terrain: Mountains (Gray)
  • You have no shipping.
  • By paying 2 extra workers, you may terraform or build a dwelling skipping one space. Gain 4 points each time you do this.
  • When you build your stronghold, the above ability only costs 1 worker.
  • For the purposes of endgame scoring, your largest civilization counts all buildings as if they could be reached from this ability.

Engineers

  • Home terrain: Mountains (Gray)
  • All of your buildings cost 1 worker and 1 coin less than usually (to a minimum of 1), but generally with worse production rates.
  • By paying 2 workers, you may build a bridge. This otherwise works the same way as the bridge action printed on the board.
  • When you build your stronghold, every time you pass, you score 3 points for each bridge you have in play that has one of your buildings on both sides of it.

Fakirs

  • Home terrain: Deserts (Yellow)
  • You do not have shipping.
  • By paying 1 extra priest, you may terraform or build a dwelling skipping one space. Gain 4 points each time you do this.
  • When you build your stronghold, you may use the above ability to skip two spaces.
  • For the purposes of endgame scoring, your largest civilization counts all buildings as if they could be reached from this ability.

Giants

  • Home terrain: Wastelands (Red)
  • Instead of the terraforming cycle as normal, you pay the cost of two terraforms (i.e. 6 workers at first) to terraform any terrain into wasteland.
  • As a side effect of the above ability, a single terraform action does nothing.
  • When you build your stronghold, you have access to a new action. This action allows you to perform a double-terraform for free.

Halflings

  • Home terrain: Plains (Brown)
  • Gain 1 point each time you terraform via any action or effect.
  • When you build your stronghold, you may terraform up to 3 times. This can be split between any number of spaces. If this results in a plain, you may build a dwelling on it by paying the appropriate cost.

Mermaids

  • Home terrain: Lakes (Blue)
  • Your shipping track is different, ranging from 1 to 5. This means you start the game with shipping already available.
  • Your towns can include one river space, allowing you to have towns straddling across the river. This can be invoked immediately when it becomes available or any time after the fact. If you do that, your town tile is placed on the river space included.
  • When you build your stronghold, your shipping level increases one step for free. Gain points for this as if you had taken the usual "improve shipping" action.

Nomads

  • Home terrain: Deserts (Yellow)
  • You start the game with three dwellings, placing a third dwelling after all players have placed their second.
  • When you build your stronghold, you have access to a new action. This action allows you to immediately transform one space into a desert for free. You may build a dwelling on this immediately by paying the appropriate cost. This action does not work across a bridge or when using shipping.

Swarmlings

  • Home terrain: Lakes (Blue)
  • All of your buildings cost 1 worker and 1 coin more than usual, but generally have better production rates.
  • Gain 3 workers when you build a town.
  • When you build your stronghold, you have access to a new action. This action allows you to upgrade a dwelling to a trading post for free.

Witches

  • Home terrain: Forests (Green)
  • Gain 5 points when you build a town.
  • Once you build your stronghold, you have access to a new action. This action allows you to build a dwelling for free, on any forest on the board regardless of adjacency.

Expansion Content: Special Landscapes

General Rules:

  • Each Faction may place only one special landscape!
  • Unless stated otherwise, the special landscape may be placed during the Action phase instead of a regular

Terrain tile when transforming Terrain into your Home Terrain.

  • You may NOT place the special landscape during the Cult Bonus phase.
    • The special landscape is considered a Structure with a Power value of 1:
    • It counts towards forming a Town.
    • You get Power when another player builds next to it.
    • The other players get Power when you place it directly adjacent to their Structures (or special landscape).
  • It counts towards the Area Scoring and the Final Scoring tiles.
  • Unless stated otherwise, the special landscape is not considered any of the existing types of Structures.

Especially, it is NOT considered a Dwelling and, therefore, any tiles providing Victory points for Dwellings (or any other Structure for that matter) do not provide any for the special landscape.

  • The special landscape cannot be upgraded into another Structure. Once you have placed it, it will remain

there for the rest of the game.

  • When taking the “2 Spades” Power action, if you use the first Spade to transform a Terrain space into the

special landscape, you may not use the second Spade to transform a Terrain space that is solely adjacent to the special landscape.

Auren: Tree of Serenity

Once the Tree of Serenity is placed, every time the Auren advance to space 10 of a Cult, they get 4 Victory points.

Witches: Raven's Blunder

When Raven's Blunder is placed, every time the Witches found a new Town, they must choose between gaining 5 Victory points as usual or advancing 3 steps on a Cult track of their choice.

Alchemists: Gloomy Workshop

After placing the Gloomy Workshop, the Alchemists may immediately and only once do both, advance on the Shipping track and/or lower the Exchange rate for Spades, without paying the Priest cost. They must pay the other resources; and they gain Victory points as usual.

Darklings: Camp

The Camp counts as a Dwelling (so tiles providing Victory points for Dwellings also provide them for the Camp). The Camp cannot be upgraded.

Cultists: Cult Palace

The Cult Palace does not provide any additional benefit during the game. During Cult Scoring, the Cultists break ties, i.e. they are supposed to be half a step ahead of where they actually are in each Cult.

Halflings: Driller

The Halflings pay a total of 1 fewer Spade (but at least 1) every time they transform a Terrain space that is directly adjacent to the Driller.

Dwarves: Great Tunnel

With the Great Tunnel as the starting point, the Dwarves may Tunnel through 2 Terrain spaces instead of just 1. Every time they get Spades as a Cult Bonus, they may Tunnel to spend these Spades (and not paying Workers for that Tunneling).

Engineers: Bridge Tower

When the Bridge Tower is placed, the Engineers gain the ability to build so-called Land Bridges. A Land Bridge must start at one of the six corners of the Bridge Tower and leads along the shared edge of the two Terrain spaces adjacent to that corner. The Engineers must place an actual Bridge piece on that edge. It does not matter whether or not one of these Terrain spaces is a River space; and it does not matter whether or not one or both of these Terrain spaces are occupied by Structures (regardless of whose Structures they are). For instance, a Land Bridge may allow the Engineers to ”break through“ an impassible barrier of opponent Structures. Land Bridges do not interfere with the adjacency of the Structures on the bordering Terrain spaces. Land Bridges count as normal Bridges with regard to the Bridge scoring once the Stronghold is built (i.e. they provide 3 Victory points if the condition for that is met).

Mermaids: Coral Reef

The Coral Reef must be placed on a River space that is directly adjacent to a Mermaid Structure. It does not prevent other players from using that River space for expansion or indirect adjacency. Shipping works with the Coral Reef as with any other Structure.

Swarmlings: Breeding Ground

Breeding Ground allows a Town to grow even bigger while gaining additional Town tiles:

  • At a total Power value of 14, the Town becomes a City, gaining its second Town tile.
  • At a total Power value of 21, the City becomes a Metropolis, gaining its third Town tile.
  • At a total Power value of 28, the Metropolis becomes a Megacity, gaining its fourth Town tile.

With the appropriate Favor tile ("2 Fire"), these values decrease to 12, 18 and 24, respectively.

Chaos Magicians: Chaos Portal

When the Chaos Magicians build their Stronghold, they may immediately place the Chaos Portal on a free Wasteland space of their choice, anywhere on the game board.

Giants: Cave of Wisdom

When the Cave of Wisdom is placed, the Giants may immediately and only once lower the Exchange rate for Spades at no cost by moving their marker on the Exchange track up one space. If they do, they gain the normal 6 Victory points.

Fakirs: Flight School

When the Flight School is placed, the Fakirs get 2 Coins every time they use their Carpet Flight.

Nomads: Trading Camp

Every time another player builds next to the Trading Camp, the Nomads may either take Power at the normal rate or take exactly 1 Coin from the general supply. If they take the Coin, they do not lose any Victory points.

Expansion Content: Fire and Ice Factions

These factions are enabled when using the Fire and Ice expansion (which is in development for BGA but not implemented as of this writing).

Acolytes

  • Home terrain: Volcanoes (orange)
  • To transform any other terrain to fire, pay 3 cult points from any track (4 if the target terrain is the home terrain of another player).
  • Any time you would otherwise gain a shovel, instead advance 1 space on any track.
  • When you build a stronghold, any time you use a priest to advance on a cult track, advance 1 additional space.

Dragonlords

  • Home terrain: Volcanoes (orange)
  • To transform any other terrain to fire, remove 1 power token from any bowl (2 if the target terrain is the home terrain of another player).
  • Any time you would otherwise gain a shovel, instead gain 1 power token to bowl 1.
  • When you build your stronghold, gain 1 power token for each player in the game to bowl 1.

Ice Maidens

  • Home terrain: Ice (white)
  • When you choose this faction, also choose any other terrain type. No other player may choose or have already chosen a faction of this terrain. This terrain and the ones next to it require 1 shovel in order to terraform to ice. (Nothing can terraform ice into anything else.)
  • You start the game with a divine favor of your choice.
  • When you build your stronghold, when you pass, you gain 3 points for each temple you have in play.

Riverwalkers

  • Home terrain: Any (you choose!)
  • When you choose this faction, also choose a home terrain. No other player may choose or have already chosen a faction of this terrain.
  • Additionally, place a priest on each non-home terrain on your board. Each time you would otherwise gain a priest, you may instead move one of these priests back your general supply (where it can be gained as normal from here on). Each time you do this, pay 1 coin (2 coins if it's the home terrain of another player).
  • Your shipping is locked to 1. (However, the bonus card that increases your shipping can still increase this value.)
  • You may place dwellings on any terrain not covered by a priest, and only in places that are within shipping distance of the river.
  • You may not terraform by any means.
  • When you build your stronghold, immediately place two bridges. These still follow the usual rules for building bridges.

Shapeshifters

  • Home terrain: Any (you choose!)
  • When you choose this faction, also choose a home terrain. No other player may choose or have already chosen a faction of this terrain.
  • Whenever another player gains power as a result of your building activity, you may pay 1 point to gain 1 power token in bowl 3. If no players gained power from this, but still had the opportunity to do this, instead gain 1 power. (But if no player was able to gain power at all, nothing happens.)
  • When you build your stronghold, you have access to a new action. This action allows you to spend 5 power or 5 power tokens (from any combination of bowls) to change your home terrain to any other terrain that is not already the home terrain of another player.

Yetis

  • Home terrain: Ice (white)
  • When you choose this faction, also choose any other terrain type. No other player may choose or have already chosen a faction of this terrain. This terrain and the ones next to it require 1 shovel in order to terraform to ice. (Nothing can terraform ice into anything else.)
  • All the power actions on the board cost one less power than they usually do.
  • For the purposes of building towns and gaining power from other players, your stronghold and sanctuary are considered 4-power buildings.
  • When you build your stronghold, you may take the power actions on the board even if another player has already used them.