Designing a New Dawn for Myth

My name is Eric Simon, and I am the line developer for the Myth board game under Ulisses Spiele. If you have been following Ulisses and are wondering what this is all about, Myth is a cooperative miniatures adventure game with a deep lore and richly varied gameplay. If you are a fan of Myth from its previous releases, then no doubt you are wondering what we’re going to do with it. That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

First, let me say that I’m not quite ready to get into the nitty-gritty of mechanics and materials updates quite yet. I won’t write about that here, and I also won’t answer questions about it. We’re still doing a lot of playtesting, and many of those details are likely to shift over the coming months. Instead, I would like to present my view of how I’m approaching our new version of Myth in more general terms. That will help frame our discussions of the specifics in later posts.

Before we get into the post please head to the World of Myth Kickstarter, live (until 3/10/20) and fully funded, to support our new vision for Myth if you’re not already a backer. If you are, Thanks! And read on!

Freeform and Story

Disengage

One of the unique qualities of Myth has always been its open-ended play. In many ways, it is more of a storytelling tool than a strictly constrained boardgame experience. Even as more guided modules were released, that feeling remained. However, those modules have been quite popular with fans, because they offer new insights into the exciting world of Myth. Also, adventures offer a perfect way to get new players into the game.

With that in mind, our design focus moving forward is very much on how we tell great stories with this game. Coordinating a team to take down a bunch of Shamblers is great, but when you’re trying to fight through those Shamblers to get to the Avatar of Shadow, that fight takes on much greater significance. That’s the feeling we’re going for, and this provided my key point of guidance:

  • Adventures drive everything. All our design work, all our writing, and all our product planning is centered around adventures. We want to explore this world in many ways, and the board game will always be at the center of that.

Old and New

When we examine what has already been released for Myth, it looks like a pretty complete game. Even if we just consider the base set and the two main expansions, there’s quite a bit of adventure there already. And that’s far from all that was released. The dedicated fans have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of the game as it is, and they are rightly proud of their collections.

At the same time, we do have to treat it like a new game. This is the first time that Ulisses will be releasing a Myth game, and we intend to bring in a lot of new fans. From a retail standpoint, this means that we need to have a new base set, and we then need to release supplements gradually so that stores don’t feel overwhelmed with product. This also means we’re likely to be reprinting miniatures that many of those dedicated fans already have.

There’s no perfect way to resolve this, but by taking direction from that first point, I have come up with an approach that should serve the needs of as many people as possible.

Dawn of Heroes

Shield Bash

Shield Bash

Our new base set is called Myth: Dawn of Heroes. It is not a 3rd edition of Myth, it is a new game. Most of the gameplay will be completely familiar to long-time fans of Myth, even to the extent that many materials will be usable across both versions of the game. However, we are handling this not by updating the existing game but by employing backward compatibility.

This means that we will release new materials that you can purchase separately from the base set and main expansions, and they will work just fine with the 2.0 version of Myth. Specifically:

  • Adventures will be available digitally, separate from the game boxes. There may be a couple of terminology clarifications that you will need to run them in 2.0, but that’s all. You will not need any additional materials.
  • Monsters remain very similar. You’ll be able to pick up just those new miniatures and cards and incorporate them in your 2.0 games very easily.
  • Items also remain quite similar, which allows us to release promotional materials (like the heirloom items) that work across both versions.

Because of this cross-compatibility, it will also be relatively easy to incorporate your existing monsters and adventures into the new rules when you are ready to switch over.

The alert reader will notice that the big things missing in this backward compatibility list are the Hero and Darkness cards. While we are keeping the feel and game effects of those cards very close to what they have been, the reworking that we have done to clarify and balance the game makes the Hero and Darkness decks different enough from previous versions that Dawn of Heroes can be considered its own game. It would be difficult to mix those decks in with older materials.

Dawn of Heroes is the future of Myth, but there will always be a place for those who enjoy Classic Myth. Most of all, I’m excited about all the new stories we will tell together. Help us usher in a new era of Myth by backing the World of Myth Kickstarter, live and fully funded now!

~Eric Simon

Myth Line Developer, Ulisses International

13 thoughts on “Designing a New Dawn for Myth”

  1. Ben Locke says:

    So happy this game has found a home with Ulisses. I’m an original backer of the first Myth and have hundreds of wonderful hours with the game. I’m excited to see the changes coming and applaud all your efforts thus far to grow the game into whatever it will become. Thank you!

  2. Eric Simon says:

    (I posted this on FB, and I thought I should share it here too.)

    Since I know I’m going to continue to get lots of questions about it, let’s talk about the update pack idea.
    From a production standpoint, we would be looking at not just rules and cards but new punchboard tokens as well. By the time we roll that up into its own package (along with the new minis that I’m sure fans would want), we’re looking at a cost to us that is nearly equivalent to the Dawn of Heroes box itself. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past, which means we would have to sell you that box at retail. At that point, you might as well just buy Dawn of Heroes.
    So what it comes down to is – Dawn of Heroes IS the update pack. Yes you’ll get some of the same minis you already own, but you’ll also get a new rules set, new cards, new tokens, AND some new and previously rare minis.
    If you don’t want to pay for that, you can keep playing Myth version 2.0 forever. We’ll tell you how to use new accessory materials with 2.0, and you’ll be all set. Buy the digital adventures, buy the monster packs, and keep playing the Myth you love.
    I want to make a game that is great for new players and die-hard fans alike. But I also want one that is sustainable. Update packs as they have been done in the past are not sustainable.

  3. Jon Goertz says:

    Curious as to see how you will handle a campaign. I did not feel like myth had many hard decisions or decisions that affected the game for future sessions. I don’t expect decisions to be as involved as say gloomhaven but having something say like the story book of sword and sorcery or a book like oathsworn would be welcome. Still able to have freedom like myth but also incorporating hard impactful decisions would be great!

    1. Eric Simon says:

      That’s definitely one of the things we’re looking to incorporate moving forward!

  4. Vince L says:

    So are what are we looking at cost-wise for backing Dawn of Heroes? I *just* bought someone’s first KS pledge on eBay right before the announcement of Dawn of Heroes. Now I’m in a bind. I’ve got almost all the classic Myth stuff, but no money for a new KS. Will the cost be in the same range as previous Myth Kickstarters? Do we have an estimated release date for the Dawn of Heroes Kickstarter?

  5. It might help to publish a few samples of what the new Hero cards, darkness cards, and maybe monster cards might end up looking like. That way we can see how things might change. It would also be helpful to know if there will be one giant box for your new game, or a variety of products or maybe a bundle that constituted a good initial purchase.

    As it is, people with hero decks that have varying levels of titles and cards added don’t have a feeling for whether the new system would look better or not than what we have.

    I’m glad someone is still working on this game. Beats the alternative.

  6. Justin says:

    I’m glad to hear that you’re sticking with the module/adventure side of things. The only reason I kept supporting Myth in the past was because of this direction the developers took. As you said in the post, it’s much more epic to be fighting all these creatures for a purpose instead of just randomly walking through the game world.

    As for switching to Dawn of Heroes, I guess it depends on the cost of entry. The idea of replacing the stuff I have isn’t ideal but neither is only being able to buy the new stuff digitally. I guess there’s no win/win for anyone.

  7. Eric Simon says:

    We’re trying to keep the cost to reasonable boardgame levels. Obviously miniatures boost that, but we’ll be trying to separate products such that people can more easily choose their level of investment.

    As we get closer to Dawn of Heroes, I will continue to post design blogs so that people can see how things are looking, including sample cards. It’s still a little too early in playtesting to do that, however. We’re hoping to Kickstart Dawn of Heroes in the fall of 2020.

  8. Brent says:

    I love that you folks are supporting and re-releasing Myth. However I have a few comments that I hope are helpful.

    If you are completely relaunching the game and want backwards compatible then consider changing the heroes so original fans can get excited about everything. Change the Soldier to a Knight, the Acolyte to a Monk, those kinds of changes. Please also keep the two genders, it’s 2020, the 1970’s are long gone.

    I really like the Adventure Modules, consider a tablet app to launch and sell new ones. The freedom that the original Myth gave was both a curse and a blessing. Blessing because it made balancing the encounters dependant on the players and a curse because there was never really any meaningful decisions. Look at games like Folklore, Gloomhaven, etc. Those games have a lot of important decisions in them, but they are much more of a structured mapped out campaign. Blending a mapped out structured campaign onto the Myth framework is going to be a bit of a challenge, but I bet you folks are up to it.

    Build ONE Darkness deck and have the events applicable to all the different monsters. Uncouple the Darkness cards from the different monster groups and let the different monster abilities decide how to interpret the Darkness Cards. This would greatly help setup time. If you really wanted to get fancy you could have a pool of Darkness cards and each Adventure module could use a specific card set from the pool. Generic one shot scenarios would just use the whole pool.

    Those are just a few of my suggestions. I already have faith that you folks can pull this off. 🙂

  9. Alex Hunter says:

    Do you think the possibility of a digital upgrade pack is feasible? Allowing owners of the original to just print out the new cards and materials? This would bypass the need for a physical upgrade being manufactured and work as a supplementary source of income as well.

    All of my old cards are sleeved anyway so just slipping a new face into the decks would not be too big a deal for me. Same with tokens, as a player of the Infinity miniatures game I have made literally hundreds of tokens with cardstock and expoy stickers for that game.

    Just food for thought.

  10. Nate Baker says:

    I see Dawn of Heroes may contain previously rare miniatures. I assumed this means mini-bosses…but could it mean the Infected (mercs ks) and Dredge (banner saga ks) as well?

  11. Jonathan says:

    any future for reprinting dark frontiers?

    1. Eric Simon says:

      We have not discussed Dark Frontier yet. We want to get the main game back on its feet before we think about the spinoffs.

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