How to Fix Agents

Agents are an items that sounded great in concept, but really didn’t seem to fill their potential once they hit the table.  They were supposed to be special mini-bosses that would show up and harass the heroes at inopportune times and become recurring foes.  However, there were really no mechanics that made that happen.  This is being fixed with Myth 2.0.  We know that agents will be getting new quests via the Journeyman kickstarter, and we know they will be getting new cards via the 2.0 monster cards.  It’s also been stated that a mechanic for recurring will be put into place.

Last August, a Myth fan on Board Game Geeks called Mistermannindy approached how to fix agents and make them.  There were some excellent concepts there, which I’d like to expand on (steal ideas from) before the new agent rules are set in stone.  The original discussion was about how to create a home grown agent that better fit the agent concept, but I’d like to focus the discussion on making Agents live up to their potential altogether.

The original BGG discussion can be found here, along with some example cards by Mistermannindy.

There are several key mechanics that should be addressed with agents.

1) Introducing an Agent

How do the heroes meet an agent for the first time?  Under the current rules, agents are a type of miniboss, so any time a miniboss should be placed, an agent could be placed.  This basically comes down to certain threat penalty events in darkness decks.  Myth 2.0 already is introducing minibosses a a standard part of certain types of tiles, giving yet another way to first find an agent.  This is being addressed in a third way with the new agent quest cards coming out with the journeyman kickstarter.  The combination of these three methods should give plenty of opportunities to introduce agents into gameplay.   I personally feel the third method should be the way agents get “unlocked” however.  Much like you can’t get the help of allies until you unlock them, I believe agents should not show up as random minibosses until after their first quest has been completed.  However, I think that the miniboss mechanics are very important for reintroducing a particular agent, especially if their quest chain is complete, and nobody has their card.

2) Making Agents Special

The one thing that makes agents special right now is that each gives a very powerful card.  However, they lack the recurring villain motif that they were originally described with.  Blatantly stealing from the original thread on agents, an escape mechanic on every agent seems like an excellent idea.  Adding a recipe to escape, to every agent would give them the extra quality to make them special.  Each agent could have their own recipe or condition (making it harder or easier, but I think a 2 die recipe on 4 FD should be about right) and their own escape.  Alternate conditions to a recipe might be an automatic escape when they are left at a certain vitality, after causing so much damage, or after they are able to execute a successful attack.  Each recipe should have the following components:

  1. Remove the Agent from the board (he/she has escaped.)
  2. Steal back any their special card from any deck/hand/discard that is carrying it.  Losing the agent card helps represent the agent turning the tables and getting the upper hand as they get away.  (And this gives more incentive to want to face them again and beat them to a pulp to get the card back.)
  3. Get a parting shot.  This parting shot is what would vary from agent to agent.  Perhaps they unleash some minions or captains on the party to cover their escape.  Perhaps they leave behind a trap, cackling about how the heroes will never escape their doom.  Perhaps they steal an item or gold on their way out, further infuriating the party.  Or maybe they cast a spell or drop a “bomb” as they go, doing damage to everyone in a certain radius, or causing a debuff in place of damage.  The key is to give each agent an exit that is memorable, unique, and that the heroes don’t want to happen again.

3) Recurring Villains

Although it was slanted towards a single agent, a very elegant solution to recurring agents was offered in the original BGG discussion.  Any time any player in the group has an agent card in their deck, an extra card is placed in the darkness pile (giving 11 cards in the darkness deck instead of 10).  This would be a generic agent card.  When it comes up in the rotation, do the following:

  1. If an agent has appeared previously in this quest, he returns automatically OR Roll for an agent attack
  2. Place appropriate agent(s) accordingly
  3. Immediately draw the next darkness card and resolve it as normal.

Step two and three are pretty easy to follow, but I want to lay out several ideas of how to roll for an agent attack.  For all of them, the monster cards for every agent matching a card in any player’s deck should be set aside for reference at the beginning of the game to keep things moving quickly.)

  1. Fate Dice Method 1- Each agent will need to have a fate symbol added to their monster card to indicate when they should appear.  Roll a single fate die.  If it matches any agent where a player has that agent’s associated card in their deck, then the agent immediately appears.  If two or more agents with the same symbol should appear, they have decided to team up and attack the heroes.  (When designing agents, trying to spread out symbols would be preferable.  If the players have enough agent cards in their decks, they are pretty much guaranteed someone will want to attack them during their quest.)
  2. Fate Dice Method 2 – Roll 1 fate die for each agent that corresponds with an agent card in any player’s deck.  On the result of a darkness symbol, that agent will appear on the map.  If darkness symbols comes up for more than 1 agent, then each indicated agent will appear.
  3. D10 Method 1 – Each agent will need to have a number for appearance added to their monster card.  This will work the same as Fate Dice Method 1, except that a d10 is used and agents are numbered 1 to 10, giving a 10% chance of appearance instead of a 17% chance of appearance.
  4. D10 Method 2 – An agent tracker sheet will be filled out before the start of a game (or held over from previous games.)  The Agent tracker sheet will have the numbers 1 to 10 on it.  Each agent associated with a card in a player deck must be assigned to a slot on the tracker sheet by assigning a number.  Multiple agents can be assigned to the same number, or agents can be spread out, depending on player choice.  When the agent card comes up in the darkness deck, a d10 will be rolled and all agents in that slot will be activated.

I believe addressing this area will make agents much more memorable villains, who live up to their promise and create great stories.  They would be different than other minibosses, and give more of an epic feel to them as the eternal foes of the heroes.  Now that monster cards will be double sided to get more real estate, I think there is plenty of room to make this work.

BONUS – How to take it even further…

Agents don’t necessarily need to physically attack the heroes to create trouble for them.  They can set traps ambushes, or generally create havoc for the heroes.  Here is a way to change the mechanics of the two fate die methods to add this aspect to agents.

  • Fate Die Method 1: Instead of rolling 1 fate die to check for agents, roll 2.  If a single die comes up matching an agent, it triggers their “agent interference” ability, where the agent isn’t placed on the board, but an ability unique to each agent is triggered.  Perhaps a trap goes off.  Perhaps a the character carrying their item is poisoned by a dart from the distance, perhaps monsters are left as a surprise.  These effects can vary just like escape mechanics, but can represent the preferred harassment methods that give each agent their own unique feel.  If both fate dice come up with the same symbol, then the agent appears.  (This gives a 1/3 chance of interference per agent, but reduces their actual appearances to 1/36, a variation may be to not assign the darkness to any agent and make it a wildcard, with double darkness having some other nasty effect like moving up the tracker.  This would give a 1/12 chance of appearing.)
  • Fate Die Method 2: In addition to darkness having an agent appear, they could have 1 or 2 symbols assigned to harrassment effects.  For example one agent might sneak away with some party gold on a guile role, and throw an explosive at the person with their item on a rage roll.


MYTH – Infinite Epics in 10 Easy Steps

We are still about four months away from the official kickstarter release of Myth, although things are looking good for the base set to come a bit earlier than that.  So why am I already looking forward to future expansions to the game?  It’s simple.  The game looks awesome coming out of the gate, but it was very obvious from the mechanics early on, that the game is very expandable.  During the course of the kickstarter, as additional heroes and monsters got added, it quickly became evident how each individual component added to the replayability and longevity of the overall game.  Let me tell you, I don’t think we’ve hardly scratched the surface of what this game could eventually become.

I want to focus on 10 areas where future development could keep this game going for a long time to come.


1) New Heroes


Adding heroes to many games are a no brainer.  Often, it adds a special rule, or gives some kind of minor advantage.  Due to the deck mechanics, every hero truly is an individual.  Figuring out how to get the most of each hero is really a game within the game, so playing


the exact same scenario and creatures with a different hero quickly becomes a whole new game.  We’ve seen at least the basics of the mechanics for 7 of the 8 heroes coming out with the kickstarter, and each has a unique identity and card mechanic.  As long as new heroes continue to be as well thought out with creative mechanics, I see no end to how much variety could be added through new heroes and nothing else.

2) Hero Advancement via Deckbuilding

Hero_SoldierWe know a little bit about swapping cards into decks to improve heroes, but not a lot about any of these cards.  The game isn’t a deck builder, but it’s got a slow burn deck building mechanic that lets you modify your hero over time.  Several levels of deck building have been mentioned and each offers new opportunities.  We already know 5 cards come with each hero for advancement, giving a straight forward advancement path.  The simple introduction of a new card or two for a hero could change how that hero could be potentially played.  We’ve been told that each hero will have two alternate paths of advancement they could build towards and evolve the hero into over time.  (The example, is necromancy and healing for the acolyte.)  Adding new paths (as well as expanding on existing ones) is an even more targeted way to give new life to each hero.  If the soldier gets stale, the option to turn him into a barbarian, a knight, a duelist, a paladin, and a commander/officer could let a wide variety of players find a style that suits them better with the same hero, or allows the same character to be played many times with very different results.

3) Advancement Through Titles

Hero_BrigandAs much as the deckbuilding mechanic offers a lot of possibilities within each character, titles may offer just as much or even more.  We haven’t even really gotten a look under the hood for this mechanic yet, but there is a ton of possibilities.  Titles could be simple and straightforward, or could be more metagamish, and each could have huge effects on how a character can advance.  For example, a character could become an orcslayer, or a bug hunter, giving -1 TN against a certain race.  Or perhaps a master strategist title could allow the player to remove or add a card to their deck (playing 24 or 26 cards instead of 25.)  Perhaps a character being knighted not only lets them use a lord or lady title, it lets them show off their newfound wealth by keeping one treasure card from game to game instead of starting over with each story.  I’m just making them up.  We don’t know what is in the minds of the designers, but the point is there are endless possibilities here.  On the mechanics side, will titles require some condition to be met?  Will they just be chosen from a list?  We’ll have to wait to see.

4) New Monsters

enemiesThe more detail I see of how monsters are played, the more I see how each monster type changes the game.  Fighting orcs is nothing like fighting elementals, either in complexity or difficulty.

  • We played through demo games at GenCon using 3 different monsters races (bugs, orcs, and skeletons) and the tactics for the heroes changed with each of those challenges.  It will be quite some time before a seventh race of monsters will be needed in the game, but when that day comes, I’m sure it will once again refresh the game with the new challenges they provide.
  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe six existing monster races aren’t tapped out either.  There are a number of ways to mix things up with smaller scale changes.  New stats for existing miniatures could make for elite units and elite captains, ramping up the challenge of something like a simple orc battle, but not requiring new miniatures or even mechanics.  New creatures added into the current line could mix things up as well.  Perhaps bugs could add ticks to their mix of minion options.  Or perhaps orcs could add a shaman variant as a captain.  Perhaps a giant flying wasp could create a different boss challenge as an alternative to the terror with 10,000 legs.  Whether it’s adding new miniatures or just alternate mechanics with current ones, adding to each race could add to the variety without having to introduce entirely new groups.
  • Mixing in mini-bosses changes things up as well, only changing one miniature on the table.  Adding new ones doesn’t require near the commitment as adding a new race or boss, but they provide a great way to introduce new enemy mechanics.  A medusa…a treant…a werewolf…a vampire…a banshee all examples of single creatures of legend that could be added providing whole new opportunities for unique mechanics and storylines.  That list could easily go into the hundreds if not thousands before being exhausted.

5) New Traps

Along with creatures, new traps can give infinite challenges.  We’ve only seen a couple traps through playtests and videos so far, so we don’t even know the variety of traps already in the game, but adding new devious traps to quests can refresh quests without having to change anything else.  Just pulling out an old copy of Grimtooth’s Traps could keep the designers occupied for years, figuring out new devious traps and tiles to challenge heroes.  These could be traps that cause damage, traps that help monsters, traps that hinder heroes, or even puzzles that must be resolved in order to get past a tile.  A tile with an interesting trap or environmental condition completely changes how a combat plays out, even if you use the same heroes and monsters.

6) New Quests and Stories

This is probably one of the simplest ways to add on to the game.  New chapter, act, and story cards are easy to print (or for fan content, don’t even need to be cards), and can change the scope of the game.  This gives us three levels of storylines that can be attacked with new content, mixing old and new cards over the course of a story to make something new.

7) New Equipment

Item_MagCloakIn some ways, if feel this is the least important item on the entire list.  With the randomness of treasure, you can’t guarantee it will have much impact on any individual story.  Where you can guarantee use of a new monster, you can’t do the same with treasure unless it’s somehow connected to a storyline element.  Yet, at the same time, treasure will have a major impact on the evolution of the game.  As the game adds orange and even purple items (the levels of items go brown, white, green, blue, orange, purple to quickly classify their strength) the heroes will be equipped to tackle greater challenges, allowing more variety in areas such as traps and monsters.  Until characters advance and acquire stronger equipment, it’s doubtful that they can even tackle the creatures laid out before us right now, so this is a necessary component to expand to greater stories.

The fate die mechanic really shines here, since new items can be designed by coming up with a recipe, and some effect for that recipe.  Powerful effects can be balanced, and strong items can be made by giving several recipe options.

8) Myths, Legends, and Epics

We already know the mechanics of how chapters, acts, and stories come together, with each act being a single session of play, and a story connecting several acts together.  However, the designers have already let us know that there are bigger stories to come.  Whether it’s a large story with more acts than normal, or a huge epic made up of multiple stories, by expanding the scope of the game, we can add layers of complexity while at the same time, keeping the simple and elegant mechanics that make the game so easy to pick up.

9) New Rules and Story Modes

We’ve already seen the introduction of Slaughterfield as a variant method of playing the game.  With the core rules being so simple, it’s likely inspiration will hit for many new variations on the game in the future.  I’m sure future expansions will provide many optional rules to normal story modes as well, putting new twists in the game.  Slaughterfield already has individual achievements.  Is it possible that something along those lines may be in the future of storyline mode so that sometimes you don’t want to be 100% cooperative as you decide what’s best for the individual vs. best for the party?  Perhaps it could go even farther with a full traitor mechanic introduced as an option at some point, where you need to root out the one who is holding the party back on purpose.   Only time will tell where this game can go over time as we dig into it deeper.

10) Fan Content

HeaderThe future of this game is in no way limited to the official releases.  Although MERCS will no doubt give us endless content with which to construct our stories, most of the areas listed here are just as accessible to the fans as to the designers.  New stats for “elite monsters”, new quests, new traps, and new titles for advancement are all areas that can keep fans busy designing as well.  The world of Myth is so easily adaptable, that it becomes easy to create your own content to go along with creating your own stories.  If I didn’t see a rich future in this area, I likely wouldn’t have put together this site.


MYTH Tile Symbols

tileDuring GenCon, one of the things I took several pictures of (but admittedly, didn’t take very good notes on) was the number of symbols on each of the demo tiles.  After GenCon, MERCS came out with an update which includes several screenshots of tiles, including many which were not included in the demo.  A number of questions have come up about the meanings of the symbols on the tiles.  I’m going to do my best to explain how they work.

Tile_SymbolsEach tile has a different grouping of symbols representing possible stories associated with that tile.  It tells us whether this tile should include quests, traps, treasure, or other elements.  To my recollection, these are the explanation of these symbols.


Tile_Symbols_QuestThis tile may include one quest element.  This quest is optional, as you may instead include a trap.  (This is where the “/” comes in.  Many tiles don’t include quests, especially smaller tiles.



Tile_Symbols_TrapThis tile may include a trap instead of a quest element.  Once again, the “/” comes into play to allow you to choose what element to include.




This tile should include 1 lair.  Larger tiles will sometimes include 2 lairs, and many smaller tiles will not include any lairs at all.  Lairs make up the major fights of the game since minions respawn.


Tile_Symbols_HuntingThis tile includes 2 hunting packs.  Hunting packs are “wandering monsters”.  They are non-respawning monster groups that can add difficulty or variety to a quest.  On some tiles, hunting packs are optional and the group can decide on how many to encounter, shown with a question mark.


This tiles will spawn a maximum of 5 treasure tokens.  This is a key element, since heroes will want to maximize the treasure gained on each tile in order to be better prepared for future tiles.



When the challenges on this tile are completed the party will be awarded 6 gold.  This gold is to be shared by the party, and will be useful if a merchant is encountered.


Tile_Symbols_ShopAt the end of the end of the tile (after awarding gold) a merchant will be encountered.  The party will draw a merchant card (that’s right, another card type!) that will determine how many and what types of items will be available.



Not all tiles are nearly as complicated.  For example, this tile can contain a quest element, 2 lairs, and has the option of adding 1 or more hunting packs if things are going easy.  This tile allows up to 6 treasure, but doesn’t have additional rewards at the end.

Hopefully I’m recalling everything correctly, and I hope this helps answer some of the questions I’ve seen come up since tile screenshots came out.






MYTH Treasure

Excalibur.  Mjoinir.  Aegis. Angurvadal. Sting.

In many myths, legends, and stories the magical weapons and equipment play almost as big a role as the heroes themselves.  In the same way, the items a hero carries is a key part of the stories of Myth.  Although the hero’s abilities will always be the key to the success against the darkness, items become the measure of how successful the hero has been in the past, and what challenges they are ready to face in the future.

Each hero begins with “brown” equipment.  These are two makeshift items the hero has scrounged to begin their careers.  Whether it’s the twig being used as a wand by the apprentice, the fireplace poker and the lid to a pot used by the soldier, these items are adequate to get started, but are nothing compared to proper equipment or magical items.


For example, the archer starts with two items.  The first is a simple sack called an arrow bag, used to collect arrows needed for the archer’s skills.  The second is a stick and some twice, used to create an improvised bow.  This weapon gives the archer a range of 4, and one additional attack die, but is in need of an upgrade.

As heroes accomplish objectives and defeat enemies, they will find treasure along the way.  You will also have opportunities to spend gold with merchants Much of the treasure will come in the form of potions or gold (white treasure cards), but you may be lucky enough to find items to better help the hero complete their story.  Green treasure cards are stronger than starting items giving advantages to heroes, but still only touch the potential of what equipment can do.


New weapons or armor are the most obvious helps to heroes.  For example, finding a longbow, our archer can not only fire at enemies who are farther away (5 range instead of 4), but they are also more accurate (+2 d10 instead of 1).  The longbow also gives the archer more versatility in their tactics (fate ability allows for extra cards in hand.)


However, this isn’t to say that other treasures won’t be a big advantage as well.  Lets take the example of the Mythical Cloak.  Although at first, it might not seem as powerful as the longbow, this item is a great advantage in the hands of an archer.  The extra fate die with each attack means that the archer is more likely to trigger the ability of their primary weapon (making it very handy when paired with the longbow.)  However, the special effect, making cautious moves 2 movement points (squares of movement) instead of 1 is subtle, but strong.  Many of the archers attacks can only be used when not moving or when cautiously moving, while others are penalized by moving quicker.  This cloak gives you maneuverability while at the same time allowing you to attack.


Blue items are even stronger and rarer treasures available.  Our archer can find the endless quiver, not only allowing her to collect 6 arrows at a time (instead of 4), but also making acquiring arrows easier to collect by allowing 1 arrow to be retrieved from discard each turn, and 1 arrow to be played directly from your hand to the quiver each turn (which also frees up one of your play slots by not placing an arrow in it).  Orion’s tears become much more deadly in the hands of an archer able to carry more arrows, and the other abilities of this quiver ensure the archer is much more flexible and deadly.

Even greater items are yet to come in the future of the game, allowing heroes to tackle even greater foes.