Mythos Tales is an investigation mystery game for one or more people. The player reads an opening story and then decides where to go and who to talk to next. As you read more stories and meet more people, learn about places, find items, and witness happenings you will investigate further until you have enough information to answer the questions at the end of the story or you run out of time. You then use your notes and memory to answer questions for points and see how you did. Be careful, some visits to locations will make you lose sanity.
Bottom Line up front: If you like playing Call of Cthulhu you should seriously check this game out. It has an excellent theme and the stories unfold in true Lovecraft fashion. Sometimes you call on someone just to get mundane info that doesn’t help your investigation. Other times you wander into danger and lose sanity. Some stories are creepy with scared animals, bloodied objects, and strange items.
At each step in the investigation you are taking notes and thinking about the next logical step. Should I visit the West Meeple Street Firehouse and talk to Ned Flanders? Maybe I need to track down the missing bottle of Bent Hill Coconut Porter by heading to the Beverage Baron on King Ave first.
The game is quite easy to learn. You are given a map, a directory, a newpaper for the day the story starts, and a time tracker. Each investigation has a time limit represented by the X token placed on the end time slot. The time tracker is broken into Days and then Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. You get three spaces to visit each day. The adventure has a recommended solution number and if you exceed that number you’ll lose points from your score. You may not review places you have already visited for facts that might have not made it into your notes or have slipped your mind.
The turn flow is:
- Turn the page to the location you want to visit
- Read the story
- Read/re-read the news paper
- Take copious amounts of notes
- Decide where to visit next –or– Finish the investigation
- Look up the new location’s story number on the map/directory
- Advance the time tracker
I have only played the game alone and at night. Probably not going to play again at night due to the game having the ability to foist on some serious heebee geebees. I will be playing this A LOT alone, but during the day or with extra lights turned on. The solo experience is akin to playing a full up CoC game with friends. You get the same feel of making choices for your character and imagining 1920s Arkham. The stories are setup by your friend and mentor Professor Armitage at Miskatonic University. He’s the one sending you out into the city with something to investigate and he’s the one you report to at the end of the game. The mystery is not simplistic and you’ll have several things to consider when trying to pick the next place to visit.
I found myself caring about some of the characters and being down right afraid to run into others. There are characters in the story I connected with (example: That young man who delivers milk is saving money for his kid-sisters operation and he’s been robbed… I need to help him.) There are people in the story I found myself wanting to avoid or tell the police about. (example: The mean waitress at The Wayside Diner who’s always got “ketchup” stains on her apron who’s a known member of the Twilight Silver Lodge)
That was the one thing in the game I thought would pester my or diminish the game play. Example: I figured out that the mean waitress was seen last with the young man near the docks and the newspaper’s lost and found said a pair of men’s shoes washed up on the beach. I’m going to the police station to tell Officer McDaniel about this!
You turn to the Arkham police department story and it’s what you would expect in real life. You talk to the desk cop, or a detective related to the story, or you get there and no one can help you. The story continues. Sure telling the police about the mean waitress would be good and they might take action, but not enough action to derail the narrative. Besides you’re not a cop and they wouldn’t take you along to serve a warrant or arrest someone. Plus those actions take time and you’ve got an investigation schedule to keep. You’ll want to visit another place or end the investigation and score as many points as possible.
I found the narrative of the game was strong enough that I didn’t miss the open sandbox of a multi-player RPG.
Absolutely brilliant game for people into the Cthulhu mythos. It’s an almost must buy if you like playing CoC but don’t have a group.