Tales of otherworldly horror shouldn’t apply to the purchasing process
There is a bit of a story between myself and Mythos Tales. Way back in February 2016, 8th Summit started a Kickstarter project for Mythos Tales. The idea? Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective mixed with Lovecraft. A game I enjoy (check the review) and a universe I love? Instant mix!
A significant promise was to fix proofreading issues that plagued Consulting Detective. As the Space Cowboys reprint wasn’t on a radar, this was great to hear. It all looked like a passion project from a company with a small catalogue.
Then the problems started creeping in. Delays in production are common in Kickstarters. The gaps in communications are never a great sign though. Finally, Mythos Tales was ready! All I had to do was pay for shipping. Well, this is where things got hard. The payment site didn’t exist, and when it finally worked wouldn’t accept most credit cards. Seemed to be a region based card check issue or similar.
Not a problem – I will message them. No one ignores an email asking how to give them money! Well, 8th Summit and Spiral Galaxy (the company fulfilling the project) sure did. I sent an email every couple of weeks for three months. Without any response from Spiral, my pledge was cancelled. So I got my money back, but I wanted the game. So, with a US order to place I got the first edition of Mythos Tales finally.
So I started playing my new shiny copy of Mythos Tales. I had been looking forward to this for a couple of years at this point.
Like the Ysarti version of Sherlock Homles Consulting Detective, skip this version. Full price for a terrible experience. The map was missing buildings and addresses. The first two cases had major breaking story problems.
You can imagine how layered my disappointment was. I went to BGG where there was an unofficial errata, and the corrections just kept coming. And then even worse – the revisions stopped coming. It looked like everyone stopped trying to make corrections halfway through the story. For myself, after the second case, I couldn’t do it anymore. Mythos Tales was a bad experience in my mind.
But like Sherlock and Star Wars, a New Hope emerged.
Scrolling through Advent Games, I saw Mythos Tales appear on the New Arrivals list. Curious, I clicked on it to see the description. And sitting there in bold at the top of the entry, I saw this:
**Reprinted Second Edition with fixed updates.
A quick search of BGG showed that corrections from the errata had been included in a new edition. So, with a sale on and hoping that the end product would live up to what I backed, I bought the second edition.
Mythos Tales Second Edition – The Review
You can imagine with all the obstacles I would be against Mythos Tales. It’s why I described my journey to here in such detail. I don’t think anyone can say after hearing the whole story I don’t want to love Mythos Tales. But does it deserve it?
Mythos Tales has eight cases that follow each other in a campaign style game. While anyone can play any case, there are benefits in playing them in order.
The similarities with Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective are immediately clear. You have a map of Arkham, a list of contacts to help you, and a directory. Instead of Holmes as your mentor, you are working with Professor Henry Armitage. There are many names well known to Lovecraft fans like this, which was nice. If you don’t know the mythos, you are not at any disadvantage.
The gameplay is almost identical to Consulting Detective as well. You have a casebook with numbered text, and you decide where to go and read the next lot text. There are a couple of new mechanics that are used in individual cases though, which was a bit of fun.
My favourite of these new mechanics was only used in one case and involved Nocturne. Basically, you could take Nocturne and explore ‘Dream Arkham’ as well as the ‘real world’. This added both a unique twist to the story and an alternative storyline to follow.
Another unique twist is that you can get help or a handicap depending on your score in the previous case. The handicap is usually one less turn, but there are other rewards I don’t want to spoil as well.
Of the eight cases, two seemed broken but weren’t. There was a more significant jump in logic required than the rest of the case suggested, but the solution was logical.
One case is straight up broken though. Even after reading every passage, I cannot see how the ‘correct’ solution can ever be attained. You can finish the case sure, but you know that a large piece is missing.
The second edition is a vast improvement for Mythos Tales. That said, there is still a lot of work to go before there is a polished product.
The errata is now also working against you. There is no distinction between first and second edition. Some of the help threads contradict what is written in the book. Some threads reference something that isn’t there anymore. It can be confusing.
Short version – Skip Case 6. Every other case, just do your best. When it’s done either play it again with different choices or pick it apart as a group, and you will see what I mean.
Should we play Mythos Tales?
If you enjoy Consulting Detective, Legacy of Dragonholt or similar games then yes I think so. The ‘choose your own path’ game system has been around for a long time, and for a good reason. If I was asked Mythos Tales or the original Consulting Detective, it would be a tough choice.
In Mythos Tales, the difficulty gently increases. The introduction of new rules or special conditions is mostly clear. Some more examples of the rules would be helpful, but that is my biggest concern.
Even after all of the problems from the Kickstarter onwards, I enjoyed Mythos Tales. What better result can there be?
For all of the ups and downs, Mythos Tales is a great take on a known formula. It still has some corrections required. I also don’t like that all of the cases are in a single book – it makes it a bit unwieldy to hand around.
But there are some unique twists, and the core story is obviously made with love.
If you enjoy this kind of game, or if you are a Lovecraft fan, there is a lot here to enjoy – typos and all. But one more reprint to correct the last of the issues would put Mythos Tales at a 9 for me.
Until next time,
Not sure what the score means? Check out my Review Scores explanation for more info!