Terra Mystica mixes long-term strategic planning and tense tactical decision making in a highly satisfying way.
There is definitely a significant mechanical puzzle element to the game, which regularly straddles the “busywork” line. That’s something I am generally not too fond of. However, all your micro level decisions are informed by the fact that you’re engaged in a super tight, highly competitive struggle for key hexes on the map as well as for cult track positioning. The game mechanics and even more so your opponents’ actions pull you in a number of different directions —- figuring out the best course of action is immensely rewarding.
The asymmetry between the factions feels just right. Everyone is definitely playing the same game but will pursue vastly different paths to victory.
Overall, I am a big fan of Terra Mystica despite its mechanical complexity and spreadsheet optimization. The battle for map control and cult spaces makes all the difference and wraps the entire game into a tight and highly engaging package. A remarkable game!