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Subject: How long should a "typical" 2 player game be taking? rss

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Mr. Mighty
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Somewhat new to Mage Wars. We have just gotten into playing the recommended decks in the rule book (NOT the apprentice decks).

It seems as if the game just drags on forever. Once either of us get to half dead, we start pulling out the heal spells. This then just goes back and forth while doing other things, and it really just seems to take a long time to actually kill the other mage.

Im talking about averaging 2-3 hours to finish.


Could this be because we are playing the "constructed decks" ? Could this be because we are admittedly newer players to the game and don't know all the cool combos or whatnot that more experience would give us?

Oh, and just for information, this has most recently been with beastmaster vs. the wizard.

Thanks for the thoughts, and insights!!
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Guido Gloor
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Yeah, 2-3 hours is about as long as we play, too.

Our games don't drag though, for some reason.

I guess you could make the game play faster by introducing timers here and there, mostly when selecting spells.
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Scott Douglass
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My experience is that 2 player games between experienced players should take 30-75 minutes. The vast majority of my games are finished in under an hour, and I've gotten 4 games in about 3 hours several times. My fastest game took somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes.

My first several games took 2-3 hours, and it took about 30 games to get to the point where I was finishing games in under an hour pretty consistently. Play speeds up tremendously with experience. It helps to build your own spellbooks, since that way you are more familiar with your options, and you have a better idea of why each card was included.

There are a number of ways of dealing with healing spam. The direct solutions are Poison Blood and Deathlock. Other options include just playing more creatures or removing Defenses, Aegis, and/or Armor from your opponent until your damage output outpaces their ability to heal. Nullify is another solution to Minor Heal/Heal spam, although it only works on a single spell.
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Mr. Mighty
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Wow, under an hour?

I understand the more experience would help us reduce the time, but I am having a hard time seeing how full games could be an hour or under?

That sounds real nice if we could average an hour or so. The 2.5 hours is just a tad too long as it seems the game sort of drags at that point.

I appreciate the responses so far, anyone else want to chime in?

Thanks all!
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Dave Kudzma
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It took having a partner who had played a few times, but our plays are less than an hour. I could see a pitched battle being longer, but I think it has more to do with player aggression and perhaps even spellbook efficacy; on the latter it would have to be mutual for both mages.
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Purple Paladin

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noodles
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My games are lasting about 30-75 minutes also with the occasional 90-100 minute grudge match. But that only happens when my opponent knows what they are doing. When I am playing with people who are not sure of what their cards do the games tend to go 2 hours. When I'm teaching someone they go even longer. But I'd say if both players know what they're doing and know their spellbooks, games should take about 1 hour 15 minutes tops.

I'd like to second the poster above. My fastest game was also about 15 minutes. I was just super aggressive right out of the gates and my opponent focused on his long term strategy instead of adapting to the immediate danger. I finished him off in 7-8 turns.
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Mr. Mighty
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Sounds good everyone!

I guess I can look forward to much faster play times as we both get more experienced.

Appreciate the info!!
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Mike Beiter
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I still have yet to see an evenly matched game go under 2 hours. And this is without turteling. This is just 2 mages playing well and trying to overcome and adapt to each others strategies. If one plays aggressively and charges, the other repels them with clever spell use for example.

The only games I have ever seen go in an hour or less are games where one player made a HUGE error in spell book creation or play choices and was just completely unprepared for what they were up against.
Or the god of dice rolling made one player roll ridiculously well and the other horribly.
And in all these cases the game is extremely one sided.

But if both mages are playing well and can adapt; our average games range from 2 to 3 hours.

I have to ask those who have games go in under an hour, do you talk at all, or are you completely focused on the game?
How long do your planning phases last?
How many turns does the average game go?
Are you evenly matched, or is one of you a weaker player?
And are the games landslides as I described above?

I believe you when you say your games go that quickly, I am just wondering what elements contribute to making it go that fast?
It sounds to me like there must be very aggressive playing with no chit chat or idle conversation, lightning quick planning phases and people moving and taking actions with no more than a few seconds deliberation.

I know the spells very well and usually can get through my planning phase in about 15 seconds. I am often tapping my fingers as my opponents seem to take over a minute on average to plan.
I play the game like chess, trying to think several moves ahead, but some times there is a situation where I have to step back and really think on it and decide what is the best play.
For all you fast players out there, do you ever have those situations, or are you always making lightning quick actions without spending time pondering them?

I have won and lost my fair share of Mage Wars matches and have logged over a dozen games, but even at my worst, no one has dropped me in under 2 hours.

So I would love to hear the details of how some people are so successful in bringing this game in under 2 hours.
Is it maybe a matter of matches played? No one at my table has played more than 30 games of mage wars, so once we play 40 or 50 will we then find our games going quicker? Is it just a matter of time?

As I said I know the spells and know the rules and play very quickly, so I am having trouble imagining myself being able to do anything that would increase playtime without taking drastic measures that would border on ruining the casual happy gaming environment.




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Scott Douglass
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I've had a number of those really fast one sided games where I won in the first 5-8 rounds because my opponent wasn't defending themself effectively, and those games tend to take 15-30 minutes.

I am the best player in my local meta, but I've played a number of much more even games that still took an hour or less. We tend to be pretty focused on the game, we usually plan quickly, and we try to make relatively fast decisions. There are still times when one or the other of us slows down because we need to figure out a decent option, but for the most part we move things along pretty quickly.

As for the number of turns, that I don't know. I'll try to keep track of that for my next series of games so that I can get back to you. Normally I don't keep track. I'd guess 10-15, but I could be wrong.
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Purple Paladin

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My question has always been, why in the world would you even buy a game with this much diversity; tactics; strategy and freedom, and then complain it takes too long.

Get or play Summoner Wars for gosh sakes if you want a faster game. . .

I like that this game is not over so fast.
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Tom Cannon
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In my limited player circle we have tried different approaches to what information is available BEFORE the battle begins. I think this has contributed to game length. Two scenarios come to mind.

1. Players select and reveal which mage they are playing and any optional schools they are trained in before Spellbook design. These games seem to take longer as players are more likely to have counterspells of the appropriate type in their books. For example, Flame resistant armor when facing a Warlock.

2. Players select mages in secret and design Spellbooks not knowing who their opponent will be. These games tend to play faster often because of a gap in spellbook design. We call this the "bringing a knife to a gunfight syndrome."

I am not sure if this fits the experience of other players here.
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Mr. Mighty
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Purple Paladin wrote:
My question has always been, why in the world would you even buy a game with this much diversity; tactics; strategy and freedom, and then complain it takes too long.

Get or play Summoner Wars for gosh sakes if you want a faster game. . .

I like that this game is not over so fast.


First of all, I don't see anyone "complaining". Second, "fast" is a relative word based on each person's opinion.

Third, As a newer player I was curious if gameplay time was reduced with more experience, or if the play time was similar to what we were experiencing.

Finally, the box itself says gameplay is 45-90 minutes, so us taking 120-180 minutes seems very different than the box's stated average game time, hence my curiosity of more experienced players' game times.

I think my OP was a very relevant post, and I appreciate all the responses so far.
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Scott Douglass
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We always have our spellbooks built ahead of time. Building your spellbook as part of the game will significantly slow down play. Tailoring your build to a specific matchup isn't as interesting to me as figuring out how to make a build strong in a wide variety of matchups.
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Purple Paladin

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Mighty1 wrote:
the game just drags on forever; it really just seems to take a long time.


Sorry, that really did sound like complaining to me.

Our fist game or two was really long too, but that was mostly because we turtled in fear of each other, unsure of the mechanics of the game.

When you get more experience, you'll be more aggressive, and take far less time picking cards and doing your turn.

Making your book knowing what the other guy is going to use can be a huge advantage, overwhelmingly so. For one example: if I know your building an electricity Wizard, I can build my book so there are no electrical vulnerable units in my book.
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Play a game with the Lord of Fire Rush spellbook and it'll be over pretty quick cool

Turn 1: move to center row, equip Enchanter's Ring, facedown Cheetah Speed on self.
Turn 2: Full summon Lord of Fire, facedown Bear's Strength on Lord or self.
Turn 3: Reveal Cheetah Speed on self, move twice and cast Magebane on opponent's mage. Quickcast Shift Enchantment to move the Cheetah Speed to Lord. Move twice with Lord and attack (if possible).

By the end of round 3 you should be ready to bring 12 dice of pain each subsequent round. If he tries to control/kill Lord, buff up your warlock and swing away. If he tries to kill your warlock, you're rolling more dice

I have had games drag out too, but after you have a few under your belt they go quicker. For me, the action phases go pretty quick since by then I have my plan in mind and can execute it, but the planning phase can still take a while. Building your own custom spellbook helps with this because then you know exactly what you have and don't have to go "do I have a card to deal with this situation?" and spend time looking for it.

It depends on who you play with too. When I play with my wife games can go on for 2-3 hours, when I play with my MtG friend they're never longer than 90 minutes.
 
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Mike Beiter
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The above scenario does not sound fun to me.

I do not want the game over as quickly as possible. I enjoy the back and forth struggle and shifting of power.
Rush strategies are boring to me. You might as well be playing with 20 point spell books because those are all the spells you will see.

I feel the true joy of the game comes from seeing your army evolve on the battlefield and seeing all the spell and creature combos you can create.
Foiling your opponents attempts only to be foiled yourself and having to think on your feet.

The shorter the game the less fulfilling I find it.



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brian d
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Checked out a local tournament a few weeks back and they played 90min games with some finishes around the 75min mark.
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Scott Douglass
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Even games that are only ~8 rounds can see a fair number of spells cast, and they would play out VERY differently with a 20 point spellbook. There are strategies and even openings that you wouldn't be able to do at all with a 20 point spellbook.

I like back and forth game play, but a game going longer does not necessarily mean that there is much back and forth. You can run into scenarios where you have trouble getting enough damage on your opponent, but you don't have the cards necessary to prevent them from healing. Such situations typically demonstrate a weakness in your build, but can also lead to protracted, but less interesting games. Length does not necessarily translate to interesting strategic and tactical considerations, although it's hard to have many of those if your opponent lets you keep a Lord of Fire in their face without donning armor.

I like a wide range of openings including aggressive ones. It's less interesting if my opponent isn't prepared to defend themself, and I run over them in 5 turns with little to dissuade me, but that doesn't mean aggressive openings are uninteresting when playing against good players. Besides, if I kill them in 15 minutes, I can give them a few suggestions and play again. Hopefully the second time around they'll do something to defend themself.
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Mr. Mighty
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You make a good point about the longer games feeling like you don't have too many options left to put damage on your opponent. Now I confess I have noticed this the preconstructed spell decks.

I almost feel that I run out of options to finally finish them off. This is one of the reasons why I started this thread. I was hoping it was just due to the fact I was using the preconstructed spell decks that I assume aren't as finely tuned as they could be.
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Scott Douglass
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If you run enough creatures, you shouldn't run out of options to deal damage, although you may not have time to play them all. Aggressive books can run out of steam depending on how they're built, but between well built spellbooks this should usually result in a relatively quick loss at that point unless the other player refuses to finish them off or has a very slow win condition.

Armor can make things take longer, but that issue should be diminished with the introduction of Corrode in the next expansion.

As for the prebuilt spellbooks, yeah, they seem pretty clunky to me. I've never actually tried playing them (except one game when I didn't have my cards with me), but they don't seem to have very well thought out game plans. I can easily see games between them dragging because players are having trouble finishing their opponent.
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Mr G
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I have been playing quite a few games on OCTGN, and they almost always take under an hour. Typically 50 minutes or so.

It is usually a case of flexing killer strategies against one another.

Great fun.

The pre built books aren't really focused books and can take a while to kill off the enemy. Apprentice mode half maps are better.
 
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Andy Allardyce
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Played two games last night - first game took about 2 1/2 hours, second game took 60 minutes.

Really depends on strategy used and how aggressive the players are.
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