Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Ystari Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $29.95)


Ystari Games has been making a name for itself with its maiden and subsequent releases. Ys (featured in the Winter 2005 GA REPORT and one of my favorite releases of that year) followed by Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT) already established Ystari as a company to be reckoned with. With Mykerinos, their reputation has been enhanced.

Mykerinos, a creation from first time designer Nicholas Oury, puts players in the role of archeologists exploring ancient Egypt, all the while trying to gather support from certain museum “patrons” along the way.mykerinos

The archeological digs are displayed as four pairs of cards. These cards are divided by a grid into six equal sections. In the center of each card is a symbol (representing one of the five museum patrons) and, sometimes, a number. The playing board shows portraits of the 5 patrons (along with icons that explain what each patron’s favor can do for you) as well as a floor plan of the museum and a scoring track along the perimeter. Rounding out the components are colored wooden cubes and sets of three circular tokens in four colors.

Players begin with all three circular tokens and 8 cubes in their chosen color. (The tokens are used to chart your score on the scoring track, mark when you pass on your turn and identify which color you’re playing for the benefit of other players). On a turn, a player may begin an archeological dig by placing one cube in any section. (Generally speaking, he may NOT place a cube on a section marked by a pyramid.) On subsequent turns, he may expand his dig by placing TWO cubes in adjacent sections OR begin a new dig by placing one cube in a new section. Although the digs will be scored in their sets of two, as far as placement is concerned, digs “spill over” into adjacent digs so players can easily infiltrate other areas. A player may decide not to play cubes (saving some for the next round) and pass, placing one of his tokens in the “passing row”. After all players have passed, spoils from the digs are given out.

The player with the MOST cubes on each pair of digs has a choice. He may take one of the two cards making up that dig, place it in front of him and flip it over. On the flip side of the card is a portrait of the patron whose symbol appeared on the “digs” side. If a number appears on the chosen card, he will score that number of Victory Points immediately as well. OR the player may decide to place a cube in the museum.

On the edges of the museum, symbols of the five patrons are randomly placed. Within the museum, the floor plan is divided into areas marked with a 2, 3 and 5, the two bordering 2 patrons while the 3 and 5 bordering just one. In placing cubes, a player must first place a cube in a 2 or 3 area before claiming a 5 space. These spaces indicate your influence with a particular patron, something that will be crucial by game’s end.

Once the first player has made his decision, the player with the second most cubes in the dig has the same choice. Should there be a third or fourth player present at the dig, they may, in order, take one of the digs cards (if one remains). Third or fourth place players, however, do NOT have the museum placement option and may NOT place a cube there. After all four digs have been scored, a new set of four digs is set up, players receive 8 more cubes from the supply and the second round begins. But this time, patrons can come into play.Mykerinospcs

On a turn, players may “tap” any Patron card in their possession and use the special power such patronage bestows. Powers vary and include being able to place a cube of your color FROM THE STOCK (not your holdings) in the museum, start a dig with TWO cubes instead of 1, expand a dig with THREE cubes instead of two, place cubes on pyramids and place a cube FROM THE STOCK and not your holdings onto the digs. Again when all players have passed, the digs are scored. There are four rounds to the game but on the final round, SIX digs (12 cards) are up for grabs and when the last of these is scored, the final tally is done.

All patron cards in a player’s possession are worth at least 1 point. However, players who have claimed spaces in the museum multiply the value of each card of that patron they hold by either 2, 3 or 5. (You only multiply by the highest value of influence you claim.) You also get an additional 5 VPs for each set of the five different patrons you have managed to accumulate. These points are added to those already garnered from claimed cards. The player with the most VPs wins!

Mykerinos is at a lower level of complexity than Ys or, especially, Caylus. But that doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t have its own set of challenges. Of course, you have to consider where to place your cubes, cleverly using pyramids to block an opponent’s ability to enter into your perceived territory. But you also have to consider when to stop cube placement. Having additional cubes to place in the next round can be the deciding factor in picking up valuable patron cards. And those patron cards present another dimension to consider.

Patron cards serve a dual purpose. Their special powers enable players to bend the rules to their advantage but timing is important. Knowing when to pull the trigger on a power can be more important than the power itself! But they also are the source for the bulk of your Victory Points. Sometimes, you have to give up a patron card so you can place a cube in the museum. If you neglect that phase, your cards may only score 1 point while your competitors can bury you with cards worth 2, 3 or 5 points each! It’s deciding when to claim or forego a patron card that gives the game more tense moments. (This can lead to a sort of “group think” during play. If EVERYONE is claiming museum areas, then you will feel compelled to claim some museum areas for yourself. If card claiming is the way the game goes, then the museum will stay open longer and your strategy can reflect that development too.)

Mykerinos uses the same dark artwork and miniscule rules type as in the previous Ystari releases. But the biggest problem (or curiosity) is the size of the board. It is way too small! For one thing, the scoring track is too large for the tokens! How did they miss that in playtesting? (We opted to use the colored cubes as scoring markers.) For another, the museum floor plan seems cramped. If a bigger board was out of the question, these problems could have been easily solved by eliminating the pictures of the patrons on the board (simple printed play aids would have served just as well) and expanding the size of the score track and the museum floor plan.

Despite minor cosmetic flaws, Mykerinos packs a lot of decision making in a small package. This is the third solid design from Ystari which solidifies its reputation as a company on the rise. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Herb Levy


thesis binding in sydney best essay writing service website two question essay watch logical order of an essay help writing press releases dissertation introduction chapter outline professional thesis writing services buy viagra craigslist tramadol and viagra interaction buy real ged diploma is viagra safe for minors preschool homework calendar go site thesis writing significance of the study pa school essay examples go to link see diythemes thesis hooks essay movies writing prompt pictures safety essay writing go site homework help for writing essay on line Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.

Summer 2006  GA Report Articles


Reviewed by Ben Baldanza (Schmidt Spiel + Freizeit, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; about $30) Network games are a genre unto themselves, and the variety created over the years has given gamers a lot of good things to try. Santiago (Winter 2004 GA REPORT) emerged as an interesting four player but hugely strategic and nasty five-player game that still hits many game ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Kosmos/Fantasy Flight Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; about $40) Reiner Knizia has a reputation as one of the most prolific and adept modern game designers. He has also claimed not to play games designed by others, preferring to draw his ideas from within himself. True to his word and inspired by his own Blue Moon collectible card ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, about 60 minutes; $50) Although the title may win a prize for the longest game name in recent memory, the premise of Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is simple. In this design by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, Cleopatra yearns for a new palace. The players, assuming the persona of architects, ...
Read More
Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Hidden City Games, 2 to 4 players or more, ages 8 to adult, 10 to 30+ minutes; 30 chip starter sets $14.95; 2 chip booster pack $2.50) Occasionally as a gamer one finds games a little off the beaten path. This is one of those games. Clout Fantasy, designed by Jesper Myfors and Paul Peterson, is sort of a cross between ...
Read More
Strong & Stronger If you're reading this, you probably know game designer Sid Sackson and I were good friends for a number of years. We would meet with our wives on a regular basis to talk about and play games. And, from time to time, the subject of what was going to happen to Sid's unbelievable collection of games and related items in the (distant) ...
Read More
[Pevans is the pen name of Paul Evans (well, a Paul Evans – hence the pseudonym). This Paul Evans is a British gamer who has been writing about games for well over 20 years. He was founding editor of Games Games Games magazine and edited it for 12 years. He has contributed to Games & Puzzles, Games International and Counter and is a regular ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy [So many games, so little time. It's no wonder so many great games have vanished from the market. Once again, it's time to resurrect one of these lost gems. In past issues, our Game Classics series has showcased some remarkable games including Astron, Bantu, Broker, Can't Stop, Daytona 500, Focus (aka Domination), The Game of Politics, The Godfather Game, Holiday, Kimbo, ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Abacus Spiele, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up; 15 minutes +; about $8) Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. From that biblical event springs the new and aptly named card game from Abacus, designed by Tom Lehmann: Jericho. The game consists of a deck of 110 cards divided into 75 wall cards (in denominations of ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Gluck/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes; $39.95) Medieval times has served as a background for many games and cities have often played a part in them, whether in grasping for power or scoring prestige. In Masons, the latest design from Leo Colovini, a new perspective on cities is presented as players become "master masons" ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $29.95) Ystari Games has been making a name for itself with its maiden and subsequent releases. Ys (featured in the Winter 2005 GA REPORT and one of my favorite releases of that year) followed by Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT) already established Ystari as a company to be reckoned with. With ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Front Porch Classics, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, about 60 minutes; $50) The thrill of auto racing has been the subject of many tabletop simulations. One of the best looking of the bunch comes roaring down the pike from Front Porch Classics in their new release Raceway 57. Handling up to five players, this edition of the game comes in ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill, 3-5 players, ages 10 to adult, 45 minutes; $35) The time is the future and the place is Rocketville where a mayoralty race is heating up. Players are candidates vying for that office by campaigning throughout the different areas of the city in this newest Avalon Hill release, designed by Richard Garfield. Rocketville comes with a mounted board divided ...
Read More

If you enjoy games, then Gamers Alliance is right for you!