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Mage Knight Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: Why is elemental combat effectiveness asymmetric? rss

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Kornel Regius
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Hi,

I just can't get my head around elemental combat effectiveness. To be effective, you have to block/attack with the opposite element as your opponent attacks/blocks with. So e.g.:

Against Ice Attack, you need Fire Block to defend effectively.

However, let's imagine for a moment that I am on the other side, doing the Ice Attack. In this case, I look at my opponent at how foolishly he has chosen his defense, as my Ice Attack is the most effective against Fire defense. My opponent should have chosen Ice block.

IMHO, it would make more sense if:
During blocking, same element block would be the most effective so:
The enemy attack is Ice, I should be blocking with Ice.
Then during attacking, opposite element attacking is most effective, so:
The enemy defense is Ice, I should be attacking with Fire.
(Physical is ineffective in elemental combat in general)

What do you think? Does it make more sense? Also, would it unbalance the game if we decide to house rule this?
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Alexander
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I am thinking the very same thing from the first moment I have played Mage Knight. Every one in my gaming group was constantly making the same mistake, trying to block Ice Attacks with Ice Blocks.

I mean it says ICE BLOCK for crying out loud, why does it not block ice, when it says it does?!

I don't know about balance issues, but I was thinking about doing the same. maybe you could count all elemental cards and see if it is roughly 50/50. if so, I gues reversing the effects might be ok.
 
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Günther
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I can see your point, but trying to think the other way round, I could also see how fire would be useful to fight against ice and vice versa.
If someone tries to burn me, adding more fire doesn't really help, while surrounding myself with a wall of ice would be a good move. You need to neutralize the attack by adding the opposite element.
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Alexander
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I understand the reasoning, but I find the wording "ice BLOCK" bad. it sounds like it blocks ice. but maybe it's just because I am not a native speaker.

also: "fight fire with fire"

edti: maybe "ice SHIELD" would have been better? a shield made of ice.
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Kornel Regius
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Evil Knivel wrote:
I can see your point, but trying to think the other way round, I could also see how fire would be useful to fight against ice and vice versa.
If someone tries to burn me, adding more fire doesn't really help, while surrounding myself with a wall of ice would be a good move. You need to neutralize the attack by adding the opposite element.


The idea of neutralizing makes sense. If an attack is thrown at you, you want to neutralize it with a shield, destroying both the attack and the shield in the process. However, if it hits you, you don't want it to be the opposite element, otherwise it will destroy both the attack and you, as you "neutralize" the attack with your body.

So combat is then not about exchanging blows. It's about you being an over-powered mage knight who can just throw a shield in front of their attack to neutralize it, then attack them directly without they being able to do anything about it (besides hoping to resist it). It is meant to be asymmetric.
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Ben Kyo
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While I agree they could have called "ice block" (a means of blocking using ice/cold) "fire block" (a means of blocking fire), it really isn't a big deal.

It all boils down to the fact that enemies do not block, and do not even have a block value. Like a lot of rule errors in these forums. The problem tends to lie with people not realising that armour is a totally different value from block, and trying to make parallels between the two.
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Jack Spirio
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You can see this also on some enemies or units. Amotep freezers attack you with ice, but are resistent to fire, which makes sense as they also defend with their freezers. They same goes for the burners? who attack with fire and are resistent to ice. So this shows how it everywhere. There is a difference beetween resistance and block.
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The Fire
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The confusion for me comes in when you look at the enemy; Hey, it has a fire symbol so I should attack with fire because it has fire block. Nooooo, it has fire RESISTANCE so you should attack with ice.

I swear, block and resistance gave me the hardest time. Looking back it seems silly but when you're learning the game those difference shake your rules confidence constantly.
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A. Mandible
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Benkyo wrote:
The problem tends to lie with people not realising that armour is a totally different value from block, and trying to make parallels between the two.


This is a case where the game itself really encourages the confusion. A shield symbol is used for both, and the repetition of the words "fire" and "ice" links the two together.

Fire resistance could have been called "inflammable" and had an icon of a fire going out. Likewise with ice resistance. I suspect that if this was considered it was rejected as too complicated-- just use the words and symbols people already know! But using the words people already know is a bad idea when they mean something different.

(The icon for cumbersome enemies could have been the foot icon used for 'Move', if they wanted to minimize the number of symbols people see. Or brutal could have been represented by two little wound blood-drops. And I bet both of those would have caused similar confusions as people tried to read the iconic language.)
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Jacques Bouchet
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grasa_total wrote:
Fire resistance could have been called "inflammable"


English is not my first language, but "The word "inflammable" may be erroneously thought to mean "non-flammable".(wikipedia)
Am I mistaken ?
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Andy Burgess
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merle000 wrote:
Am I mistaken ?


You are not.

Inflammable == flammable != non-flammable.
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Will Reaves
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MercifulBiscuit wrote:
merle000 wrote:
Am I mistaken ?


You are not.

Inflammable == flammable != non-flammable.

Yay, English!

Likewise, compare regardless and irregardless.
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Andy Burgess
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borderline wrote:
MercifulBiscuit wrote:
merle000 wrote:
Am I mistaken ?


You are not.

Inflammable == flammable != non-flammable.

Yay, English!

Likewise, compare regardless and irregardless.


Oh, you mean how "regardless" is a word and "irregardless" isn't?
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If someone shoots ice at you, why block it with an ice shield when you can melt it with fire?

If someone shoots fire at you, why block it with fire, when you can use ice to neutralize the fire.
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Erik Burigo
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merle000 wrote:
grasa_total wrote:
Fire resistance could have been called "inflammable"


English is not my first language, but "The word "inflammable" may be erroneously thought to mean "non-flammable".(wikipedia)
Am I mistaken ?


The latin origin of inflammable is the same as its Italian translation infiammabile which derives from the verb infiammare.
In this case the "in-" prefix has not the function of a "not" (like in inaudible), but is used to form a parasynthetic verb.
English tends to use the prefix "en-" to form parasynthetic verbs (e.g.: enkindle, endanger, enlist, encourage...). However, in some cases it mimics the Latin idioms (invest, inflame, ingrain, ...).
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Brandon Held
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TheDashi wrote:
If someone shoots ice at you, why block it with an ice shield when you can melt it with fire?

If someone shoots fire at you, why block it with fire, when you can use ice to neutralize the fire.


Like the game encourages, this is assuming that "Ice Block" is a shield made of ice instead of something that effectively shields against an attack of ice.

I've heard other new players complain about ice/fire block/attack confusion-I've played the game so many times at this point I don't even remember if it was an issue for me at the beginning, and I no longer care. Once you know the rule, it's not difficult to keep track of during combat.
 
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Jason Hunt
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I have found this to be the typical rule in most RPG game systems, where the elements balance each other out. Fire vs Water. Earth vs Air. Light vs Dark. I see quite a few new players confused by this rule set however.
 
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Marcus
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If U attack me with fire I need a Ice Shield and Units that have fire resistance.

If U attack me with Ice I need a Fire Shield and Units with ice resistance.

So simple. And Also enemy with Ice Attack have Paralyze: very tematic.
 
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Jarad Bond
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This is something I use to help me:

Fire Enemy: Good with Fire. They have Fire attack and fire resistance.

(Do NOT use fire to attack or block them)

Ice Enemy: Good with Ice. They have Ice attack and ice resistance.

(Do NOT use ice to attack or block them)

I find it interesting that if you load up on fire-based abilities, you are great against ice enemies, but completely helpless against fire enemies for both attack and defense.

Another thing I find interesting is that in Star Trek: Frontiers, I've heard that "same blocks same". (Photon Torpedo Shield blocks Photon Torpedoes, for example). I wonder if enemies will still typically use the same form of attack and defense in the Star Trek: Frontiers, in which case it would really change how effective it is to concentrate your abilities.

Just some food for thought!
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Gábor Koszper
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What? No. If someone is shooting fire arrows at you, a wall of fire won't protect you. You need a wall of ice.
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Jarad Bond
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algi wrote:
What? No. If someone is shooting fire arrows at you, a wall of fire won't protect you. You need a wall of ice.

I don't know if you were talking to me, but that's what I was saying. whistle

I edited my post to make things a little more clear.
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Jorge
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I like the "wall" explanation(s). Seems pretty clear, I'll be using that one when teaching the game.
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Jarad Bond
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Picon wrote:
I like the "wall" explanation(s). Seems pretty clear, I'll be using that one when teaching the game.

That's the way I think of blocking too, but whenever I try to teach it that way, the inevitable confusion arises when the enemy also has fire "block" (resistance), but it works opposite for the enemies.

The only consistent rule of thumb that I've come up with is that you don't want to match elements because the enemy is "strong with fire/ice" and will halve it. Of course, then physical attack and resistance don't quite fit, but it is easier to remember that a "normal" attack can be blocked with anything than to remember that enemies are opposite.
 
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Ben Kyo
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logris wrote:
Picon wrote:
I like the "wall" explanation(s). Seems pretty clear, I'll be using that one when teaching the game.

That's the way I think of blocking too, but whenever I try to teach it that way, the inevitable confusion arises when the enemy also has fire "block" (resistance), but it works opposite for the enemies.

The only consistent rule of thumb that I've come up with is that you don't want to match elements because the enemy is "strong with fire/ice" and will halve it. Of course, then physical attack and resistance don't quite fit, but it is easier to remember that a "normal" attack can be blocked with anything than to remember that enemies are opposite.

Again, this is silly because enemies don't block. They don't have a block value. This is really really important and should be the first thing you are teaching if there is any confusion. Same for units. You can't teach "it works opposite for enemies" because it is incorrect, confusing, teaching "exceptions" is never productive, *and* you'll have to teach another "exception" for units!
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Jarad Bond
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Benkyo wrote:

Again, this is silly because enemies don't block. They don't have a block value. This is really really important and should be the first thing you are teaching if there is any confusion. Same for units. You can't teach "it works opposite for enemies" because it is incorrect, confusing, teaching "exceptions" is never productive, *and* you'll have to teach another "exception" for units!

*sigh* It isn't silly.

You misunderstand. I never teach it the way you are suggesting. People who I teach always admit that it is difficult to get the correct attack vs block. It isn't that they don't understand, but they get tripped up for a game or two. I very carefully explain the difference between blocking and resistance and how combat works, etc... but halfway through the game, this comment is always made: "It is so hard to remember because it is backwards for the enemies."

And then I explain again the rules and that blocking is not resistance, etc... They say, "I know all that - it's just easy to get it backward."

I was just trying to offer a suggestion to help learn. The idea that you need to not match your elements is very elegant and helps in all situations.

Don't use it if you still think it's silly.
 
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