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Subject: Quick questions about Solo play rss

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Sam Hillier
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I'm thinking of picking up Mage Knight for Solo play only. It'll sit in the basement where I'll take a few turns in between feeding the imminent baby. I just have two questions (for now!) based on my limited knowledge of the game.

1) Is there a failed quest outcome? I'm used to playing the LOTR LCG, and the most common outcome there is a failed quest, where you shuffle up and start again. That's a little demoralizing. Do you fail like this in MK? Or do you just not do as well as you could have, but the game still goes to completion?

2) I read about a dummy player, and I'm generally not fond of playing such things. What does it do in MK? Do I have to follow some sort of flow chart for it? To be honest, the robot player in Race for the Galaxy is overwhelming at first, and I don't want one of those here.

Thanks for the answers, and any other comments on Solo play that you feel like providing.
 
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Deathworks
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Hello!

1) Yes, you can fail at quests and you are likely to fail at the standard solo conquest mission (or all other proper missions) a lot until you get a feel for the game. Only the introductory mission is easily won as you do not need to conquer a city.

2) The 'dummy player' in the base game is not actually played. It consists of a stack of cards and a bunch of crystals. Mage Knight has a variable number of turns during a round, and the end of a round is triggered by a player running out of cards. The stack of the dummy player is simply used to simulate another player using their cards so as to stop the human player from playing mini turns in order to maximize efficiency. The dummy player does not do anything on the board. When it is its turn, it draws and discards some cards, maybe one or two more if the last card matches its crystals, and the end of the round begins if either the human or the dummy runs out of cards. Between rounds, the dummy gets one crystal and one card.
So, there is no playing or managing the dummy.

Yours,
Deathworks
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Erv Walter
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Daybreak wrote:
I'm thinking of picking up Mage Knight for Solo play only. 1) Is there a failed quest outcome? I'm used to playing the LOTR LCG, and the most common outcome there is a failed quest, where you shuffle up and start again. That's a little demoralizing. Do you fail like this in MK? Or do you just not do as well as you could have, but the game still goes to completion?

2) I read about a dummy player, and I'm generally not fond of playing such things. What does it do in MK? Do I have to follow some sort of flow chart for it? To be honest, the robot player in Race for the Galaxy is overwhelming at first, and I don't want one of those here.


1. You can lose the game, but only really by running out of time (the game runs for a fixed number of days/rounds). It's possible that something sufficiently horrible happens early such that you feel like there is no chance of getting through the scenario goals before you run out of time, but that is probably the only case where you would quit and start over.

2. The dummy player is just a timer. It doesn't interact with you at all and only forces rounds to end in a reasonable amount of time so that you can't just be super slow an methodical.
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Sam Hillier
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Thanks! Happy to hear the answer to #2, not sure how I feel about #1 yet. Still, good to know.

EDIT: the second answer given reassures me about #1. With LOTR it's all too easy to completely fail a quest midway through, or realize that you can't actually complete it at all (say, if it requires healing cards and you didn't bring any). It doesn't sound like this is the case here. I'm perfectly fine with losing at the end of the game.
 
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Andrew
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Mage Knight is a deep game (while there's luck there's also a huge skill element), so even if you fail a mission, you'll hopefully have learned something for next time.
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John Brady
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It's an excellent solo game...that's the only way I've ever played it. You should check out Ricky Royal's excellent solo play through videos on Youtube to see for yourself.
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Larry L
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MK is a tough game for many. I've had the game for a while but haven't had time to play it enough that I've beaten both cities when set to the recommended level. I started out with the cities at lower levels and am SLOWLY working my way up.

Recently I played with the "Lost Legion" expansion thrown in. Most say you should be able to beat both cities at normal levels before you attempt that - and I think they are correct - but I don't really care. I'm just enjoying all of the great new stuff that this expansion has added to the game.

For me the "win" isn't as big of a deal as just playing. It's an involved puzzle game that just "scratches that itch" for me.

I'll admit to this: At the end of a game of Mage Knight I feel mentally tired. It's the same feeling I get after a full day of troubleshooting automation software at work...
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Sam Hillier
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biglar155 wrote:
For me the "win" isn't as big of a deal as just playing. It's an involved puzzle game that just "scratches that itch" for me.


Perfect. That's exactly what I'm looking for - a puzzle each round. I love games with optimization like this (Agricola, Fleet), and I generally love situations of "here's what I have, how can I make it work to do this?"
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Alex Brown
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If you have iOS, there is an app for tracking the dummy player that makes things easy.

I play exclusively solo - and play exactly the way you intend (I have 10 month old twins and a three-year old!). It's well-suited to this, but you do need around half an hour to an hour per turn, so it's hard to do one-handed .
 
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M. S.
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Deathworks wrote:
Hello!

1) Yes, you can fail at quests and you are likely to fail at the standard solo conquest mission (or all other proper missions) a lot until you get a feel for the game. Only the introductory mission is easily won as you do not need to conquer a City


Well i dont think this was the question... Of Course you can lose the Game...but in which Game You cant?

The Thing is, it is NOT the Way its in Lotr. You always Play until the end, you cant die in mage Knight! and then in the end you Check if you conquered the cities, if yes You Win, if Not you lost. You also Count Points in the end, so you can try to geht better Every Game
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Sam Hillier
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H4msterbacke wrote:
Deathworks wrote:
Hello!

1) Yes, you can fail at quests and you are likely to fail at the standard solo conquest mission (or all other proper missions) a lot until you get a feel for the game. Only the introductory mission is easily won as you do not need to conquer a City


Well i dont think this was the question... Of Course you can lose the Game...but in which Game You cant?

The Thing is, it is NOT the Way its in Lotr. You always Play until the end, you cant die in mage Knight! and then in the end you Check if you conquered the cities, if yes You Win, if Not you lost. You also Count Points in the end, so you can try to geht better Every Game


Perfect, I'm happy to hear that.
 
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Alison Mandible
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Daybreak wrote:
EDIT: the second answer given reassures me about #1. With LOTR it's all too easy to completely fail a quest midway through, or realize that you can't actually complete it at all (say, if it requires healing cards and you didn't bring any). It doesn't sound like this is the case here. I'm perfectly fine with losing at the end of the game.


Also note, your score is meaningful even if you lose. You can compare one loss against another (and will probably want to at first, to get a sense of whether your play is improving).
 
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Erv Walter
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grasa_total wrote:
Daybreak wrote:
EDIT: the second answer given reassures me about #1. With LOTR it's all too easy to completely fail a quest midway through, or realize that you can't actually complete it at all (say, if it requires healing cards and you didn't bring any). It doesn't sound like this is the case here. I'm perfectly fine with losing at the end of the game.


Also note, your score is meaningful even if you lose. You can compare one loss against another (and will probably want to at first, to get a sense of whether your play is improving).


Also, as a new player, I sometimes ignore the time limit if I am close to completing the objective. I still count those as losses, but it allows me to see if I am progressing. For example, the first time it took me 3 extra rounds to complete the objectives. The next time it took me only 2 extra rounds, etc...
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Sam Carroll
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Daybreak wrote:
Perfect. That's exactly what I'm looking for - a puzzle each round. I love games with optimization like this (Agricola, Fleet), and I generally love situations of "here's what I have, how can I make it work to do this?"


That's Mage Knight in a nutshell.
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Pippin the Bold
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I have been playing Mage Knight solo since last October and it is permanently set up in one of my (grownup) kid's bedrooms as she is away at Uni.

In my opinion it is a brilliant solo game (and also excellent as a cooperative experience, I haven't tried a competitive scenario yet). Playing one or two turns when you have a moment is an excellent way of learning the game. I have found I've made a lot of mistakes but these do seem to decreasing with experience. I also tried introducing General Volkare from the Lost Legions expansion too early but have now gone back to the Solo Conquest and have set the city levels lower so I don't get to demoralised when I keep losing! Every turn is a puzzle, a great mental workout and an exciting escape into a fantasy world.

I thoroughly recommend Mage Knight and am looking forward to future expansions.
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Scott
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As others have noted, Mage Knight plays like a beautiful, elaborate, thematic puzzle. Each round is a new puzzle (especially if you are able to 'count cards' and keep track of what's left in your deck). The puzzles link together into a 'campaign' that forms one play of the game.

If you have the table space to spare (e.g. an extra dining room table or large desk you're not using for anything else) it's great to just have a game set up 24/7. This is how I play it. You can sit down a play a round or two whenever you have some free time.

As for the dummy player. There is an excellent iOS app available. It is also available for Android. But I've never used that one.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/815862/ios-dummy-player-app
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