Full disclosure: A review copy of Similo: Myths was provided by Flat River Group.
Sometimes I just like going deep into one set of games. For a while it was Dominion, then there was that whole thing with Oink Games (very fun), and then I tried all the Hanamikoji expansions and a ton of Button Shy games, and here we are, delving into Similo! Eventually there will be more Unmatched and Railroad Ink Challenge content, so look forward to that, but in the meantime we have the Myths set! Probably most accurately called the “Greek Myths” set, but you could ostensibly confuse it for a “Roman Myths” set if you just ignored all the character names, probably? Let’s dive in.
In Similo: Myths, players have a new set of characters to try and guess! This time, the characters are from the many worlds of Greek mythology. Featuring gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters, and whatever Icarus is (just some guy, I guess), these stories have a lot more in common than you’d think at first glance, which may make using their characters as clues more tricky than you’d anticipate. Or maybe you’ll have no trouble. Either way, will you be able to determine the secret character this time, or are you going to myth out?
- It does help to have a passing familiarity with Greek mythology, but it’s kind of exciting if you … don’t? I mean, I used to play a variant of Codenames called Pokémon Codenames, and it was kind of fun to have some players who didn’t know anything about Pokémon still play. Could work similarly, here, I suppose! I just don’t know anyone who knows absolutely nothing about Greek mythology. It would help to be familiar with at least the basics, though, if you’re going to play with this set.
- Read the cards! Pretty much all the information you need is on the cards! Particularly, you should assume the other player has read or is reading the cards, so reading them allows you a strong informational and contextual link with them. Take advantage of that!
- Here, a lot of characters are holding things that they’re strongly associated with or pictured against the backdrop of something they’re associated with. Remember that these characters are frequently gods and goddesses of something, so that can help. There are a lot of different ways to group characters together, but in particular, these characters are usually associated with some concept or action or event, which can help you group them together. For instance, the Minotaur is heavily associated with Poseidon, but I’m going to let you look up why on your own time.
- Similarly, characters that aren’t gods or goddesses can be pretty easily grouped together, so that might help. The “something different” clue can help you a lot, here. Too many Olympians on the board? Just start playing gods from your hand horizontally to try and knock them out. Wanna get rid of all the monsters? If you’ve got one in hand, a horizontal play can earn you a couple turns of easy guesses. Don’t undervalue the utility of playing horizontally, rather than just only trying to match some characteristic.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- Honestly, there are enough prominent characters in Greek mythology that you could make two of these sets. Like History, there’s just a lot of depth to plumb, here. Though I guess they had the same problem with Animals, which is why Wild Animals exists. I do think that one thing I like about Similo is that you really can just keep making sets, since the core gameplay loop works so well.
- It’s also pretty informative! Makes me wish that I had access to these when I was taking Greek Mythology in college. They’re essentially flashcards. I think I recognized almost every character in here, but the quick bit of context is always helpful, especially when you may not immediately recognize the artist’s interpretation of the character. Thankfully, a lot of them are helpfully accentuated by their backgrounds.
- I appreciate that they have some of the monsters in here, not just the gods and heroes. The monsters are important to the mythology as well! It’s nice to see them getting their just due. I particularly like that Echidna is in here; feels like she doesn’t get enough credit.
- Similarly, having multiple characters on one card is always fun (the Morai). Just adds a fun twist. It also makes the set fun to use with other sets, because cluing the Morai with a bunch of History characters can be really tough. Or even some of the monsters. This is a very interesting set; it’s closer to Fables, since it’s not all people, and bridges the gap between “all animals” and “all people”, so that allows for a lot of fun flexibility.
- I love that Icarus, one of the biggest clowns in all of mythology, is in this set. Just, every time he’s in anything I’m delighted. I just find Icarus very funny, in the sense of “guy attempts to fly too high and immediately dies”. It’s a heartwarming tale of some arrogant jerk, I guess. Either way, I’m glad to see that he made it into the Myths set.
- The blue of the box is also a very pleasant color. I like it a lot! It’s probably my favorite of the Similo box colors.
- There are a lot of different myth cultures beyond Greek myth, so it seems like it might have been prudent to call this one Greek Myths, to at least leave open the door for other mythologies, like Egyptian, Norse, Sumerian, et cetera. I’m hoping they still make some additional sets for other world myths, but leading with “Myths” as a name gave me the false impression that there were more than just Greek myths happening. I should have probably guessed based on the cover and the color scheme, but, you know, naming conventions.
- This is more of a style gripe than anything else, but I preferred Santorini and Hades’s multicultural interpretation of the Greek pantheon. Just seemed more fun. I think I like the idea that the gods and goddesses of Greece were a variety of ethnicities and gender expressions and ages; I thought it was a very fun way to look at the pantheon. No particular gripes with this interpretation, just a preference for the other ones.
Overall: 7.5 / 10
Overall, I like Similo: Myths a lot! I do wish they were more specific with it being Greek mythology, but that’s partially because I was a bit disappointed opening it, as I thought there would be more variety from world mythologies. Not a big deal, but I hope they release additional sets that have other cultures’ mythology in it. I just think that would be fun. Within this particular set, though, there’s a lot of good coverage! Some Greek gods and goddesses, for sure, heroes, the occasional neutral-negative character (Circe), some monsters, a nice amount of coverage from a good number of stories. That nicely makes for some complex games, and it also makes Similo particularly challenging if you want to mash Myths up with other sets. How are you supposed to clue Icarus with Cleopatra and Abraham Lincoln? What about Red Riding Hood and Snow White? It’s fun to have to navigate those circumstances. This may be a tougher set for folks not familiar with Greek mythology, but helpfully, the relevant myths are summarized on the side of the card, again in the tiniest font possible, but still summarized. Either way, it’s fun to mix in, and the art style again does wonders, here (even if I preferred Hades’s depiction of major Greek figures). If you’re looking for a quick game of Greek mythology, you enjoy a bit of cooperative deduction, or you just want to collect ’em all, I’ve enjoyed Similo Myths! I’d recommend it.
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