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Mage Knight Board Game: The Lost Legion Expansion» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Volkare’s Return Strategy rss

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Cory B
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I played my first solo game of Volkare’s Return on the easiest levels and was utterly crushed. I did have some pretty bad luck, his first 8 draws were non-wound, but while I was trying to level and build my deck, he found the city first.

Is the best strategy to race to city as fast as you can and then try to level up? Or do play somewhat normally and just hope he doesn’t move as fast as he did for me?

 
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Dan Cavaliere
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Cory,

I'm by no means an expert at this and I'm sure some other here will be able to offer some good strategy.

What I've found is to not only get to that city as fast as you can but also be sure you are doing some conquering along the way. My first few plays I rushed to the city and then realized I was too weak to do anything once I was there. Then I had to back track and invade a few places before heading back to the city.

The neat thing about the balance of Volkare's deck is that it does require some thought and planning to beat him but also provides a lot of excitement when the deck plays differently each time. Lots of fun
 
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Cory B
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So did you focus on rampaging enemies, keeps, towers, etc? My problem was I conquered everything in front of me and before I knew it I lost cry
 
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Dan Cavaliere
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As in most of my games I 'do the best I can with what I have in hand'. I think this is one of the more exciting and challenging parts of MK that I enjoy.

So for example - I will try to keep moving instead of trying to conquer something I'd have to wait for enough attack for. At the same time, if I have enough attack but think I'll have to take some wounds I will weigh the benefit of reward (ie. dungeons, I love going in if I have the attack to win and earn a spell or artifact).

Trying to conquer everything along the way hasn't worked well for me when racing against Volkare. Again, I think this is the beauty of this game - experimenting, learning along the way, and always playing against that element of chance even when you think you've got it made
 
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Lucas Moyer-Horner
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Through a lot of practice i've gotten to the point where i can fairly regularly win Volkare's Return on medium/medium and occasionally win on hard/hard. Here are some of the strategies that have worked for me:

1) Focus on leveling up and gaining artifacts and spells in the first 2 rounds - there's really no need to explore unless you're not finding places to achieve these goals. Mazes are terrific for this. Engage primarily in battles that reward you with artifacts and/or spells. Crystals aren't bad either.

2) Make sure that you don't let Volkare reveal the city tile. He can reveal every other tile, but if he reveals the city tile then you'll almost certainly lose.

3) Reveal the city tile as late as possible and as far from Volkare as possible. I generally expect to reveal the city and make my first assault during Night 2 (round 4). If possible, make this far away from Volkare. Getting a good movement spell helps you get into a good position to do this.

4) Choose cards and units that maximize your range attacks, get stronger against more enemies (e.g. flame wave), and allow you to heal wounds and re-activate units.

5) Get the best units you can and try to have 2-3 before your first assault on the city.

Hope this helps and good luck!
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Cory B
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Thanks for the advice... but I still lost again cry This time though I blame the terrain! The white city was literally cut off to me by lakes but volkare had a clear path... life just ain't fair!

Another question, has everyone had better luck with one knight vs another? I've had better luck with Arythea since she can use wounds but I've been smoked with Tovak and Goldyx... just luck or is there more to it?
 
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Dallas Honeycutt
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My issue with this scenario for the game is that you won't hardly ever see the elite units. By the time you get them into the lineup, it is far too late for them to be of any use. Another issue is the fact that if I am working toward conquering any locations at all, Volkare almost certainly is moving toward the city faster than I am. I would mitigate this by just saying that Elite Units should be in the lineup after the first night. The next time I play, I may try that and see how much of a difference that makes.
 
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Tom H
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Talon378 wrote:
My issue with this scenario for the game is that you won't hardly ever see the elite units. By the time you get them into the lineup, it is far too late for them to be of any use.
Which "scenario" are you responding to? Anyway, you can reveal the city as late as possible but still get earlier elite units by revealing a non-city core tile.

Quote:
Another issue is the fact that if I am working toward conquering any locations at all, Volkare almost certainly is moving toward the city faster than I am.

Volkare is moving too fast for you? For the entire game he can only move 6 to 12 spaces maximum from his starting location. IME he's a real plodder. And if he does get close to discovering the city - then you can explore and place it on the far side of the map. I find this gives me plenty of time to conquer locations, even spend a few turns learning spells at a mage tower.
 
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Cory B
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I’d tend to agree with Dallas, Volkare seems to move very fast for me. So far, 4 out of 5 times I’ve played this scenario, all tiles were reveal by the first night so I had no time to build a powerful enough deck. The one time he was kinda slow (he went north and I went east to reveal the city as far from him as possible) the map sucked, all villages and keeps. There was 1 tower and monastery and no dungeons. On top of that, the spell offer was no good, it was all movement, no attack.

I’m really beginning to believe this scenario is around 25% skill and 75% luck. Not only do you need volkare to move kinda slow, but you need good adventure sites AND good cards to show up in the offer.
 
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Dan Cavaliere
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I feel your pain Cory

My last suggestion would be to just go after everything a bit more. From what I'm hearing you say it sounds like you and I may play alike - a little to cautious and very thoughtful about your moves.

Some of the better players than I that I've played with seem to go into situations I would feel 'unprepared' for and come out with a few wounds but a lot more reward.

Granted, as you say, there is a luck factor involved. I've 'gone for it a few times' and ended the game real quick. But I've also done that and had a few games where I finished, won, and said, 'hey, I could have maybe done well at the next level'.

Have fun with this - I think the challenge is where I find the replay value of this game very good.
 
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Chris Berry
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I've found using the variant where you can remove two spells/AAs from the offer helps one get ready to deal with Volkare. I should probably back off on the difficulty until I get a better handle on the scenario. I keep making mistakes and/or feeling so rushed I make bad decisions.
 
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Cory B
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Gamer DC wrote:
I feel your pain Cory

My last suggestion would be to just go after everything a bit more. From what I'm hearing you say it sounds like you and I may play alike - a little to cautious and very thoughtful about your moves.

Some of the better players than I that I've played with seem to go into situations I would feel 'unprepared' for and come out with a few wounds but a lot more reward.

Granted, as you say, there is a luck factor involved. I've 'gone for it a few times' and ended the game real quick. But I've also done that and had a few games where I finished, won, and said, 'hey, I could have maybe done well at the next level'.

Have fun with this - I think the challenge is where I find the replay value of this game very good.


I wouldn't exactly call my gameplay cautious... I have no problem taking wounds in towers or dungeons, but to me villages and keeps are worthless in this scenario. I dont want units in either and the +1 to hand isnt worth the time to conquer a keep. It seems like this all about getting spells and artifacts ASAP! Or is that flawed thinking?
 
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Cory B
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delewobmesid wrote:
I've found using the variant where you can remove two spells/AAs from the offer helps one get ready to deal with Volkare. I should probably back off on the difficulty until I get a better handle on the scenario. I keep making mistakes and/or feeling so rushed I make bad decisions.


What variant is that?
 
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Cory B
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Nevermind, I found it Think I'll definitely try that next time
 
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Cory B
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The stars have aligned! Volkare goes down hard! 1 out of 6 tries... not a good winning percentage so far.

While ranged attack is key, I think gold units are just as important. The only reason I was able to win was because I had almost two full rounds in the city before Volkare got there so I was able to get 4 gold units. They made it much easier to win... think I ended up with 20ish ranged fire with tremor, a very nice combo laugh

Now to see if the results are repeatable!
 
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Dan Cavaliere
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turbo_234 wrote:
The stars have aligned! Volkare goes down hard! 1 out of 6 tries... not a good winning percentage so far.

While ranged attack is key, I think gold units are just as important. The only reason I was able to win was because I had almost two full rounds in the city before Volkare got there so I was able to get 4 gold units. They made it much easier to win... think I ended up with 20ish ranged fire with tremor, a very nice combo laugh

Now to see if the results are repeatable!


Congrats Cory! Feels good, doesn't it? ninja
 
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Ben Kyo
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turbo_234 wrote:
I’m really beginning to believe this scenario is around 25% skill and 75% luck. Not only do you need volkare to move kinda slow, but you need good adventure sites AND good cards to show up in the offer.

Definitely not true. There's no other way to explain a near 100% win rate against Daring/Fair Volkare by players like myself. I hear that Legendary/Thrilling requires some luck, but I haven't tried it myself.
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Cory B
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Next time you play this scenario in vassal Ben can you record your play? I just find it hard to believe anyone can beat even the easiest level 100% of the time. I’d like to see how you play it.
 
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Ben Kyo
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Sure, I can give that a go. Now that I have enough opportunities to play with friends, both face-to-face and through Vassal, I haven't felt the need to play solo for the last couple of months, but I'll try and record a Heroic/Fair session sometime soon. (Daring/Fair is a bit too easy and Heroic/Thrilling I probably can't guarantee a win.)

Two back-to-back session reports of mine are up on the forum, but I appreciate they probably don't have enough detail to be useful.
 
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Ben Kyo
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Here's my latest solo Heroic/Fair game:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dlnfx2tsnmf07wg/VolkarerunR1T1.vlo...
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3hfmovammi9ihtn/VolkarerunR2T1.vlo...
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xyu3kypcd9vava7/VolkarerunR3T1.vlo...
https://www.dropbox.com/s/c0b7dfsrvawm5z1/VolkarerunR4T1.vlo...
https://www.dropbox.com/s/fq8vu5tctjs1dkv/VolkarerunR5T1.vlo...

Probably not a good example as I got off to a very lucky start and everything just snowballed from there.

Tricky points were:

1) Deciding to dump a hand of cards just to beat the first Ironclads.
2) Ignoring a couple of nice targets in favour of exploring the last countryside tile, since I didn't have the right cards in hand.
3) Agonising over the position and reveal of the last two tiles - I couldn't risk Volkare drawing the white spell if I revealed the core tile.

I also played very conservatively with city defence, as he still had two spell cards in his deck.

...but as I said, this probably isn't a good example to illustrate good play triumphing over adverse draws. It was a pretty straightforward win.
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Cory B
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Thanks Ben, that was interesting to see how you played it. You stayed a lot closer to Volkare throughout the games than I have in mine. I guess I get nervous being by him and want to put as much distance between us as possible A few questions…

I didn’t think you could reveal a core tile on the coastline. Can you?

You seemed to grab more movement cards than I would have guessed. Why did you choose double time over I don’t give a damn?

In night 2 when you used underground attack, why did you attack the keep instead of the tower?
 
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Ben Kyo
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I never even think twice about being 2 hexes away from Volkare, and move 1 hex away whenever it seems like the best move available. I don't usually explore in front of Volkare for the whole game though... it just turned out that way this time.

The core tile/coastline rule only applies to wedge maps. Note that you also placed core tiles on the coastline in your example games!

Movement is awesome. Double time is one of the best skills to get early on in my opinion - I'd normally choose it over any other in the first two rounds. Turns requiring move are a lot more common than turns requiring attack/block, especially with all the 3/5 move cost hexes.

2 reasons. One was to be able to easily reveal the first core tile by Volkare, and the city tile both further away and approachable from the north. The other was to increase my chances of levelling up before hitting the city - if I only took the mage tower before revealing the city tile I thought I'd probably end up a level lower for the city assault. The first reason is the main one though - I'd have had to leave the mage tower to the east, use the scout to reveal the first core tile, then return to the wasteland to reveal the city.
 
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George I.
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I've been trying Volkare's Return on Legendary/Fair lately. I've managed to win Daring/Fair with all five Mage Knights and Heroic/Fair, too with one or two. Now, I've managed to beat Legendary/Fair once with Norowas, where I had this final tally:

- 22 Advanced Actions (thanks, Green City)
- 2 Spells: Offering/Sacrifice, Wings of Wind/Wings of Night
- 5 Units: Foresters, Freezers (x2), Catapults (Wounded), Green Heroes
- 6 Crystals
- Conquered sites: 1 Mage Tower, 1 Ruin, Green City

Now, I've tried thrice with Arythea but I get seriously beaten. The first two times I was not able to conquer the city (not enough firepower/time) and Volkare marched into the city on Day #2 (yes, second day). On my third time I was able to conquer the level 10 city after three attack waves but I got seriously beaten up. Well, not much that I could do with two Herbalists and one Catapult... shake

I've seen that you basically need a lot of Ranged Attacks, Mass attack-canceling spells/artifacts and good units. Norowas really helped me in getting units, making attack vs Volkare a cakewalk. Without units to soak up damage the hero is bound to get KO'd. And a knock out with 10+ wounds in hand is game over.

So, how can I avoid such KO's? During the Night it's easy, Midnight Meditation can help. However, the first battle with Volkare, where I get the most serious beating, usually occurs on Day #3. Any other tips?

Naturally everything is map dependent. If there are Dungeons, you'll go for artifacts, if there are Mage Towers, you'll go for spells, etc.
- Are influence cards/skills (Heroic Tale, Learning, Peaceful Moment) even more important in Volkare's Return, because of the need to have units?
- Likewise, is it prohibitive to raze Monasteries? I really need good artifacts, but sometimes no Mazes/Dungeons come up.
- What should be prioritized early on and what should be left for later?
- How about Keeps? Is it worth to take them?
- Should Orcs generally be avoided, except if they can earn you a level up?
- Yes, artifacts are nice; which ones do you feel are the most important against Volkare? Apart from Banner of Fear. Banner of Protection seems cool, as it basically can let you take all the damage during Volkare's first wave and let your units do the work.
- How about spells? Wings of Night of course, probably Sacrifice and Flame Wave, too. Is it worth assaulting a Mage Tower if no useful spells are in the offer?
- When should the city be revealed? I generally reveal it at the end of Day #2, preferably at the corner of the map.
- When should the city be attacked? I've failed miserably whenever I attempt it on Day #2. Night #2 seems better, as using the stronger spells will make it easier.

Again, I am asking for Legendary. I always play with the "decide if you want to refresh 1/2 AAs/Spells" variant. Some luck is definitely needed (if Wings of Night or Flame Wave show up, things get easier), but it should be more than that.

In general: am I screwed on Legendary if no good AAs/Spells are available in the first round? I really consider shuffling and dealing the AAs/Spells next time on Legendary if the initial offers are bad. The other day I had in my initial AA offer: Maximal Effect (great late-game, bad initially), Pure Mana (bad in early game due to the scarcity of mana) and something else useless, in the lines of Ice Shield; I just took Pure Mana there, but it was really bad for me.
 
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Ben Kyo
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It's been way too long since I played solo Legendary Volkare's Return, so I can't provide much in the way of specifics.

I don't remember requiring specific skills/spells to win and I'd never re-deal just because I didn't like the look of the starting offer.

Skills like Motivation are a commonly-available easy way to deal with 10+ Wound knock-outs. All you need is a way to get one non-Wound in your hand.
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Brian Bankler
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I can usually beat V on Med/Med, and have won at higher levels, but not as much. Without going into much detail:

1) Try to place the city slightly away from him. I don't mind being close to Volkare early, but if he is close by when you explore the city it will be difficult. Ideally you want to take the city in the second night and then camp there and Face Volkare in the third day. You don't want to place the city on the opposite side of the board, but some distance is necessary.

2) Early on you don't need to race ahead. Be happy with Volkare leading (as long as you keep a valid core tile space available away from him) and just go through and focus on level up and getting cards and followers. A few good artifacts (or spells) can make all the difference.

3) Unlike the regular solo game where you can wait (as much as the dummy lets you) you really need to make each turn count. You could take 10+ turns in day on against Volkare, but you'll lose. You should be taking 5-6 turns (or so) each round. This is the biggest change from normal solitaire. You have to self regulate your timing.

4) A good general rule for Mage Knight -- Offense a outrance! When in doubt, make outrageous attacks that are slightly out of your comfort zone instead of waiting for a sure thing. (You'll win more often than lose, and your comfort zone will expand).
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