We played Myrmes about 18 months ago and I had very little recollection of playing it except I was exhausted and felt brain dead at the time as it turned out I was pregnant! So this stayed on the shelf until last weekend and I suggested playing it. So there’s a bit of back story and here are my thoughts.
First off I thought why the hell did I suggest even buying this? I’m pretty much an insect phobic and despite the cute little ants on the box artwork there’s fairly uncute insects inside. Plastic ants that look more like spiders (though the board is really lovely and colourful) and words like larvae, nest, and birthing your ants, bleurgh. I actually made a throw up face at a couple of points. BUT being the responsible adult gamer know that I can be I set aside those feelings, and ended up really enjoying playing the mechanics rather than the theme which to be honest has grown on me, so I’m not a complete twat!
I found it hard to get my head round this one at first. However after a few 40 min games over a couple of days it became a lot clearer and I got on with the basic premise no problem. You can use your turns to make workers, soldiers, eggs and nurses, then go out and lay your pheromone trails or fight other insects. You use your workers as soldiers and you need more soldiers to kill wasps and fight for your opponents space. You need to ‘up’ the quality of your nest to gain further improvements which will help you do bigger and better things and you need to make more nurses to get more done in each round. Lastly you need to get enough food to feed your ant family every year. So this brings me on to the issue of time. It could be the result of a two player game or maybe just not being that good at it at this point, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do anything really worthwhile. I spent a lot of time forsaking the interesting stuff to feed the little bastards! So basically if you balls up in the first couple of ‘seasons’ like I did in my last game and lose initial points, you have to work really hard to claw the game back. Or if you don’t make at least a few nurses in the first rounds then you’ll really struggle to get anything done. It’s hard graft being an ant! I strongly feel that Myrmes could use at least an extra round per year, because you have three years and a spring, summer and autumn in each one, then on winter you don’t get a turn as such because you just feed your colony. There should be at least a round before the final food I think. Also there’s a dice rolling element which tells you what special ability you can use each turn and you can you use your eggs to jiggle this about a bit….but you need your eggs for other things! So there’s not too much control over that part. Last gripe; it’s a bit disappointing that there are no end of turn bonuses because it just kinda ends and you’re like ‘oh is that it?’. But I feel that it’s a good enough game to persist with as every round in this game is challenging and strategic. It’s difficult in a two player game as you’re struggling to fight for space and you’re only allocated a portion of the board in a two player. Which is fine if want to spend your turns using earth cubes to redistribute your ‘pheromone’ trails, as that is where most of your precious points are. But then there’s that time issue again. I’m definitely determined to crack this one, and maybe on another day when my mind feels a bit sharper and my concentration levels are better then I’ll have a eureka moment. So final thought is; I’d recommend Myrmes if you like a challenge! More Info