Mistfall Session Report
Posted By: Dillon
Our brave adventurers take on the Mists once again and try to destroy Maelgar, the Abomination.
Mistfall absolutely kicked the crap out of me in the first game I played. I went with the Warrior and the Frost Mage, and both of them got absolutely walloped in the last encounter, getting beat down and almost killed before time ran out.
The first lesson I learned when playing Mistfall – don’t accidentally mix the Nightmare mode Time Cards into the regular deck. This was an incredibly bad idea. Don’t do this.
I followed that up by starting Mistfall’s first quest, “Into the Wilds” over again, and had a much better game. This time I was able to make progress in the last encounter and even pull out a win.
Feeling a good bit more capable, and maybe even a bit cocky now, I chose two more heroes and gave the next quest a go. Time would soon tell whether my bravado was accurate, or misplaced…
SPOILER ALERT: There may be spoilers about encounters coming up here, so if you want to keep everything a surprise you may want to skip this article!
The Player Aid Card is a pretty good reference of the phases that happen during each turn. On the Right we have the Quest Setup card, which walks us through taking the components of Mistfall and assembling them into the adventure before us.
Now, for some frame of reference, the first Mistfall quest has you placing 4 locations out in a straight line, and one of them is where you start. You have the choice of either going ahead, staying still, or moving back. Quest 2 adds an entire layer of decision-making by creating 3×3 grid that you’ll have to traverse to get to the Desecrated Temple, where the last encounter takes place.
The Quest tokens are a new addition too, laying face-down objectives on the board that can help or hurt you depending on the scenario.
This is what the map looks like after setting the game up. You start at the warm and cozy Hearthfire Inn, and honestly I’m not even sure why the adventurers would leave.
You’ll notice that right away I started forgetting rules and left A, B, C, and D face UP instead of down. I shuffled them and placed them again after this picture. My tale of Mistfall is a cautionary one – although it’s incredibly easy to miss or forget instructions in this game!!
Here we have Venda the Ravencrag Fury taking the spot of the warrior who I’m blaming for failure in Mistfall’s first quest, instead of accepting personal responsibility. Venda seems like a wonderful lady. Her primary strength is picking things up and putting them down, with “things” here meaning “axes” and “down” meaning “in opponents’ skulls.” Most other characters have a variety of starting equipment, some armor, a shield, maybe some artifacts. Venda? Venda just takes two axes. That’s seriously her answer for everything, and I can’t/won’t argue with her logic.
Her ability to grab one card from the burial pile each turn is huge and makes her one of the better characters in the game to run without the healer.
Celenthia is the softer side of the pair that I went with for Mistfall’s second quest. After the Ice Mage slacked off with the Warrior in the first quest, I figured the arcane folks deserved a chance at some redemption. Her glowing blue eyes were a little intimidating at first, but I was hoping it would be intimidating to the enemies on the board as well.
Both mages have similar skills with a magic resistance as well as an ability to move a card from the burial to discard pile. I did not really understand or appreciate this concept in my early games. The ability does make more sense after a few rounds, however, and lets the mages cycle cards like crazy and put together some nasty combos.
This is the tokens that you’ll have to work with. I did remember in watching Ricky Royal’s awesome play-through of Mistfall he had an organizer – which immediately made me think there may be a ton. In actuality, while there are a lot, it’s not an overwhelming amount of tokens to sit on the table, and the iconography all lines up with exactly what you see on the cards. This makes it easy to know what to grab when you need it.
So our two brave lady adventurers set out from the Inn and found an abandoned temple on the way to track down the Abomination. They also somehow stumbled on one of the few NICE locations in the game, allowing the party to draw a total of 2 cards. The little helmet icon in Mistfall always stands for “heroes in the game” which determined that numer.
Now, every time in Mistfall that you explore a new location, it’s marked with a wound indicator. This means it’s dangerous, and you immediately draw an encounter card for the type of location that we explored. The Abandoned temple is a “Borderlands” type, so we drew until pulling a similar type of encounter.
It seems that our adventures have been duped into thinking the abandoned temple was actually abandoned. There was a full-on Ritual of Reanimation going on right in the middle of it. You know what that means, right?
It’s time to make the temple abandoned once again.
This is a cool example of how encounter cards create unique setups that can require different strategies to complete. In this case, if the combat takes place and isn’t resolved in the course of one round, then the new reinforcement enemies show up as Skeletons from the blue deck instead of Sorcerers from the red deck.
However, those skeletons never had a chance to come out – because this duo went absolutely bonkers in one round. The sorcerer enemies didn’t have the highest physical resistance. The short version of the story is axes, and the long version of the story is axes, axes, axes.
I did want to also showcase just what Mistfall looks like laid out. This was for a solo two-hero setup, and left me plenty of room to work with. This isn’t the smallest setup for a solo game, by any means, but it also isn’t quite as much of a table hog as I initially thought. Notice the complete lack of enemies after Venda went berserk in the Abandoned Temple!
After completing an encounter in Mistfall, you usually breathe a sigh of relief. You then also flip another time card and immediately proceed to get stressed out again. Before that, though, you do get to draw reward cards – and mixed in there is one specific card to each character that you chose for the quest!
Here you can see that we drew the “Cleaver of Malice” and Venda’s eyes had to light up like a Christmas tree – or at the very least, light up like Celenthia’s eyes did.
This was a huge boon along the way, allowing Venda to consistently place burning conditions on our foes. Conditions in Mistfall are incredibly powerful since only one of them is removed per round!
The invisibility potion isn’t a slouch either, especially for a mage character who has access to hit from range. The main downside is that they are a one-shot item, but that one use is typically exceptionally powerful.
This village we stumbled upon next had already been burned, and now the location tiles in Mistfall are starting to show the teeth that you’ll get used to. This one forces us to discard 2 cards between the two characters. The difficulty here is that this happens right before another encounter, and you draw your hand at the end of the last encounter, this means that we will be starting out with 8 cards to work with instead of the default 10 cards (5/character)
Apparently, this is why the village was burned – it was a Settlement under Siege!
This Encounter card turned out to be on the nasty side for our group, since they didn’t have any method easily available to add progress tokens to the quest.
This means that, at a minimum, we would be looking at two turns spent dealing with this encounter. An early two-turn encounter can possibly spell long-term doom in Mistfall, so this was pretty worrisome.
Here are some of the red jerks that were sieging the village. The Changeling in particular is very interesting, having very low resistance and health, but a high attack and an ability that means when she comes into a hero’s area she can’t be hit until she attacks once, or basically until the next turn!
You can cancel this ability by discarding two cards – but unfortunately she showed up after we just walked onto the tile that made us discard two! So now we would be left with 6 cards to try and take out 4 enemies. Yikes!
After an arduous two-turn battle we were able to end the siege and leave the burned village… still burned, but peaceful. We moved on to the Ruined Watchtower. This has a nice ability to reveal adjacent locations, but since we already had two revealed, it didn’t help us. Still, in Mistfall, not-hurting-us is a good location, so we’ll take it. 2 Recovery value isn’t terrible either!
These guys came after us at the Watchtower, and it was honestly the first time that I felt like Mistfall might be just a bit broken. The Twisted Lasher, on the right, is the enemy in question.
As I mentioned before, conditions in Mistfall are incredibly powerful since there are a limited number of around (something around 9-ish in a two hero game?) and each round only removes one condition from a hero or an enemy. The only other way (that I know of) to remove a condition is using one of the minor heal spells that one of seven heroes in the game has access to. Why doesn’t resting after an encounter remove a condition?
That token he just dropped on Venda means every attack she does hits for two less damage. Keep in mind she’s trying to fight an enemy with 4 life and 2 melee resistance – so now in order to kill him, she would need to generate 8 melee damage in a single attack to take him out. That’s just ridiculous, especially when considering enraging him would put another two on her, and next round she’ll be left with one.
With the help of Celenthia, we made it through this encounter, but it took a good bit of luck and smart play to get through this encounter. I would strongly recommend errata on this card that changes it to ONE condition instead of two for each application. Either that, or change the condition rules to allow resting to remove all conditions, for the sake of balance.
We were able to finish that encounter at the watchtower, and had to take two turns after to head back to the Inn, rest (remove an extra condition) and then walk back north again to rest at the Watchtower to recover our health and cards enough to push towards the last encounter. I was feeling quite nervous that those two turns of not pushing forward would crush the quest, in he end.
In the encounter before the very last one, Celenthia was able to pick up her unique equipment which was this very cool Ancient Spellbook. This allowed her to stash one spell in that item and use it as a fast action later. This ability gave me a bit more confidence in being able to drop a lot of damage in one round since we were running out of time to complete the quest.
Finally we arrived at the last encounter, and as you’ll see right above on the Quest Charter, there are only 3 spaces left before the Quest would end with a loss – as once you land on that “the end” space, it’s game over. 3 spaces may seem like a lot, but the time cards in Mistfall which you draw at the end of every round can be 1 OR 2 spaces. This means that we may only have two turns to complete this encounter.
This wasn’t just any encounter, either. This encounter laid 5 enemies out, as well as the Abomination. The Abomination has 12 (!) health, and… oh just one more ability to flip the card to the other side, with 12 more health. So you have to kill him twice.
Would this be the end of the road for our two brave adventurers? I certainly thought so at this point in time.
It took three rounds of combat to finish off all of those enemies and Maelgar the Abomination. We drew a good number of 2-space time cards earlier which left us with the 1-space cards we needed. The first round we spent mostly cutting down many of the other enemies and then on rounds two and three unleashing everything we had on Maelgar. It took a lot of axes, a lot of magic missiles, and a lot of fire from Venda’s magic cleaver. On the very last turn, for the second hero, Celenthia fired one last spell directly into his face, finishing him off and ending the scenario.
All said, this second quest in Mistfall felt epic. It delivered on the promise of a challenging tactical adventure game, and had many dramatic moments especially at the end of the game. Seeing that time track tick down and knowing that every flip of a card might doom you is exhilarating and completing it was a great feeling of accomplishment. Venda and Celenthia left the field of battle bruised and bloodied, but traveled back home to the Hearthfire Inn knowing full well that they had redeemed the failure of the first Quest!
I really started enjoying Mistfall immensely around this point, my third solo game. Things start to come together and click, and you get a much better sense of the timing and pace required.
What do you all think of Mistfall so far? Any others out there that have encountered that Twisted Lasher have some input? Especially for only being worth 1 Resolve, he seems completely out of balance compared to the other enemies in the game!
We’ll be publishing our actual Review of Mistfall in the coming days, so in the words of the great Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Stick Around!”