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It seems to be the best game as an adventure-type slay monsters and level up type of game. Magic Realm is just too outdated and overly-complex. MK, while not perfect, is a reasonable alternative. An Ameritrash game that takes a lot of unnecessary randomness out--a hybrid then? What's more is that it is a good game to play solo, although I much prefer it multiplayer. My gripes with it (admittedly minor) are the ugly card art and miniature figurines. The art is good quality, in fact, but the depiction of human(oid) creatures is where it fails. The art on the cards is very colorful and effective, and certainly is an improvement over cards with no art at all. I'm not a huge fan of deck-building, but there's enough of the game outside of this mechanic to make it fun. It's more hand management than deckbuilding, since you aren't required to discard your hand at the end of your turn, and aside from Wounds, there aren't any completely useless cards (I'm looking at you, Dominion). The icons work well, and I have to mention that the art and site locations on the terrain tiles are of excellent quality and make for very clear gameplay. This game is certainly heavy and fiddly with a few rules exceptions, but it's worth every bit of the struggle to get there. Everything is thematically intuitive as well as important for game balance. Oh, and in case it matters, I know nothing of the original Mage Knight minis game or the MK setting.I rate it a 9.5 as a two or three player game. I rate it a 7 as a solo and co-op game (I dislike using an artificial timer, plus I'm generally averse to solo games in general). I haven't played it with 4 yet. I imagine I would enjoy it as long as it was with fast players who are very comfortable with the game. Full Conquest is my favorite scenario, but I also enjoy Druid Nights and Mines Liberation for variety. In Full Conquest, I play mainly 2 player, and use the variant to add 1 extra countryside tile and 1 extra non-city core tile to setup. This allows for some extra Fame to be earned. We were conquering the cities well-before the end of the 3rd night because we were running out of places outside the cities to get Fame. 19 of my logged plays are solo, which don't really count for a game that can be played multiplayer.
I started hating this game. The rules are complex and the rulebook, although complete, is not intuitive. Taking damage in combat is poorly explained and it was the main cause of pain for trying to play this game again.But boy, am I glad I gave it a second chance. I so love this game. The puzzle aspect, the discovering of the tiles, the effects on the cards, the mana! Everything clicks together. I feel that I am in the world of the game when playing it. So from 6 I gave it a 9 in the past.Then I decided to play it solo. And now this game is a 10. This game is perfect. Solo is SO MUCH FUN. I want the expansions now.
Designed by Vlaada Cvathil (TTA, Galaxy Truckers, Dungeon Lords/Petz)1-4 players, best with 1-2, heavy weight, 120-180 minutes, fantasy adventure/deck buildingRating based on two solo games.Very hard to learn, but could very well be THE best solo game out there. This game has been on my playlist for a LONG time, really need to spend some nights giving this one the playtime it deserves.
Tremendously deep, addictive, satisfying game. By far the best solo game I've ever played.Another true masterpiece of design by Vlaada Chvatil, ranking right alongside Through the Ages for me as one of my absolute favorite games!
Vlaada has some very cool and new ideas about how to approach things and shake up the true and tried. Card-driven dungeon-crawl? And it works, the games have went to long but the time has flown so fast that its hard to notice that its so late already. Finaly got my own copy of it aswell, tho sadly all the maptiles are misprinted and unit-cards are a bit off to the side. Hope I get replacements for them as its not exactly a cheap game.
It's interesting, and fun, and it gets a lot of things right. I'm not sure I enjoy the puzzle aspect of how to play your cards, though, and the advancement seems weird--your deck improves very little in terms of card churn, but gains very powerful cards when used correctly (spells especially)--but your non-deck stuff grows by leaps and bounds. The game is thus about bringing to bear those crushingly effective card combinations and milking your deck well. In an actual deck-builder, you'll go through your deck many times--here, you'll go through it six times max. It's weird but intriguing. The biggest issue is the length. I'm not sure it justifies its playtime, but I think it does--barely.
personally rule book is fine for me just i always easy forget minor or little rule while playing. mage knight offer a very special open world adventure or conquer the world while playing the game, the random of the map setup and the random of the cities located make it offer huge replayability without offer the repeat feeling. Hand management is important and the dummy do make solo game feeling more nervous. So far i haven't win any of the solo conquest scenario!
Gloomhaven has essentially replaced Mage Knight. The base MK has very similar mechanics as GH, except MK is more complicated and it takes longer to play. MK's tiles will change from game to game, but it won't feel like clearing out a cave, or a warehouse, or a forest. Leveling up in MK is not as fulfilling as GH. The only thing MK has going for it is that it's cheaper than GH, but it's still 90 bucks.
I have played this as a solitaire experience several times and still do not know what the big deal is. I don't know whether I enjoy it or not. It's odd. More plays will tell, however introducing this to the kids is a bear, and will limit the time it sees on the table. Update: I'm thinking this is one of the finer solitaire experiences around. Bumping this from 8 to a 9+. I'm still trying to introduce this to the kids -- and to a group we assemble every so often, but without success so far. It's certainly daunting, and we find we favor games we already know well to get on the table. We'll see though. Update: Two things regarding component quality. (1) The cards from the expansion are clearly of different finish and quality than those of the base game. Sleeving the cards solves this problem handily. (2) The expansion tiles are definitely a different shade than the tiles from the base game. Simply use dice to make the appropriate tile selection, adjusting the results to account for the remaining tiles for the scenario. I prefer a d20 for this, as you can determine one chance in two (odd/even), one chance in three (1-6, 7-12, 13-18, rerolling 19,20), one chance in four (1-5, etc.), one chance in five (1-4, etc.), one chance in six (1-3, ..., rerolling 19-20), etc. This way, you don't have any issue with, nor do you care about how the tiles look. You have a pool from which to select, and the dice make the selection. It's always just as much of a surprise as if the tiles were in a stack. :)
Highly enjoyable fantasy RPG. I enjoy how deckbuilding is incorporated into a main mechanic of the game. Rules are a beast. Players need to understand what they are getting into when they sit down to play because it will be a long session with a lot of explanation and rules referencing.
20.03.2013 - Took the gamble and bought this, as most comments have been about how awful it is to try and teach others. 31.03.2013 - Previous RPG board games have been very hit and miss. Liked Decent 2. Didn't enjoy Drizit. Should these 3 games be compared, well, why not. If your unsure about all 3 and new to the genre (ie Me), then these would be on your radar. First impression, Mage Knight certainly has a lot more detail but is less fun than Decent. Initial rating 7.5, expecting this to change.
This game is okay. It's a beautiful game with many cool pieces. But, the beauty of it can't, for me, overcome three big issues. It's too freaking long. I played a game with four players and it took five hours. There are too may rules and too much that a player has to manage on one turn. Even if you know what you're going to do on your turn you're stuck waiting for the other players to plod through their turns. There is no excitement in the game. If you've suffered through getting your hand right, you know the outcome of facing a challenge before you go into it. There is no chance for real risk, and that thrill is absent from the game. Turns are players mumbling to themselves about what they can do or are going to do with their decks. The only real chance in the game is how far or how little you'll move during a given turn. All-in-all, pretty bland. There are too many complexities to manage in the game. I know some may like that, but the management of minutia has robbed this game of its thrill. I felt like I was an accountant in a Dungeons & Dragons game gone bad, more than I felt like I was Tovag the Conqueror. It's not terrible, though. I don't want to play it again, but it's not Axis and Allies bad. I was just bored a lot during game play and never felt threatened or at risk during the game. And again, it's way too long.
Adventurous magical warriors wander a newly discovered land, fighting monsters, exploring ruins, influencing factions and recruiting heroes, and conquering enemy cities. The core of the game is using a deck-building mechanic to generate resources like movement, strength, defense, mana, and influence to take actions across the board. The game is mostly about puzzling out how to use your limited hand of resources to achieve the goals of your turn. Because of this, the thematic elements of the game are a bit abstracted.
Really liked all the mechanics this game brought together, but it can be a bear to teach this game which ultimately led it to being removed from my collection. When it takes just as long to explain the game as it does to play it with a game of this length, only the truly dedicated will remain.