In Irish mythology, the island of Tír na nÓg is a place of eternal youth, beauty, and joy. Grand Gamers Guild has tapped into this mythology to bring a tableau building game that is beautifully illustrated by Marlies Barends.
The Adventure of a Lifetime
Players are given 5 rounds to collect cards using 3 storytellers at their disposal. The tableau in front of each player is 3 rows that can contain a maximum of 5 cards each. These rows represent epic sagas of the journey to Tír na nÓg.
The game starts with a grid of cards in the center of the table based on the number of players. We played this at 2 and 3 players during our time with the game. The spaces in between the cards form gridlines where players will take turns placing their storytellers.
After all players have deployed 3 storytellers, they begin drafting one card adjacent to any of their 3 storytellers. You can draft from these locations in any order you choose. Tír na nÓg develops tension as players target specific cards and then try to anticipate which cards will leave the grid first.
It’s possible that one of your storytellers could lose both adjacent cards to other players who had similar plans. In this instance, your storyteller will go on a journey and receive a different card that is left in the grid of cards. It may not have been your first pick, but you’re leaving with something.
Building Your Saga
In Tír na nÓg, each card that you draft is placed into your hand of 5 cards. You then place any card from your hand into one of the 3 rows in your tableau. Cards are placed left to right as you tell the story of your adventures. Each row has specific scoring criteria based on the numbers shown on the cards.
For example, your middle row may only score numbers if they are lower than the card to their left. Tír na nÓg comes with the basic scoring criteria for each row or the cards can be flipped over for more advanced scoring, making the decisions harder.
The story cards come in 4 different colors. Placement matters because end game points are awarded to the players with the largest contiguous blocks of color. Not only are you trying to line up the numbers that you add to your saga, but color sets matter a lot at the end of the game.
The rounds are straight forward, and building out your saga is a great puzzle. Some of the cards in the game will include an added ability that can help or possibly hurt the building of your saga. Tír na nÓg seems solidly balanced with the distribution of numbers and abilities.
When your plan gets wrecked, some of these abilities will allow you to move previously placed cards, change card values, or even card colors. Since drafted cards are added to your hand, you’re always given the choice to hold that new card for a future turn. At the end of each round, players will discard one card from their hand. Your dwindling hand will serve as the round timer in the game, which is a nice touch.
Tír na nÓg’s gameplay is really smooth, and we loved the Celtic mythology setting. Since the saga cards have variable scoring criteria, games can be as tough as players want it to be.
If you enjoy the Celtic style of this game, this may be a the start of a wonderful journey.
You can join the pledge manager on Gamefound for Tír na nÓg ahead of its release later this year.
A prototype of the game was provided for this coverage. Components and rules covered in this preview are not finalized. Read more about our preview policies at One Board Family.