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Subject: Mage Wars vs. Mage Knight rss

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Alex N
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Any idea why Mage Wars Arena is ranked lower than Mage Knight Board Game? Even Tom Vasal has Mage Wars near the very top of his Top 100 for 2013.

I would like to purchase one of these two games but I am in a quandary as to which one I should get. I collect and play all game categories. These are both so excellent how do I decide which one to keep? laugh

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Peter Cooper
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I expect if you post here on the Mage Wars forum they will tell you that you should buy Mage Wars, or if you post of the Mage Knight forum they might tell you something different. But aren't they completely different games? They aren't exactly in competition, are they?
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Alex N
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I'm hoping I will hear a response from someone who has played both games and can explain the type of player experience they had with the games. They both seem quite involved and require a major investment of time.
 
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Andrei Koenig
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They are totally different games. They cannot be compared.

Its like asking, "hey guys what should I get? A pair of dress shoes or a pair of tennis shoes?" They are both shoes, but what do you need them for?

If you can only buy 1 game, then it will depend on what style of game you prefer.
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Andrei Koenig
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chiefsachem wrote:
I'm hoping I will hear a response from someone who has played both games and can explain the type of player experience they had with the games. They both seem quite involved and require a major investment of time.


I don't think anyone here will be able to type anything up that will be better than this.

Watch this, and decide. You are the only person here who knows what you like better

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6BVRP3iNCI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deh64zhdb6A

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Remus Rhymus
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Both games very different. No reason why you can't have both. I do. They are both very deep, tactical and strategic games. Mage Knight is very puzzly, almost agonizingly so, much more of a eurogame with strong theme. While Mage Knight has many different modes of play, you are very much playing the game as opposed to playing your opponent. I prefer Mage Knight as a solitaire game over multiplayer. Mage Wars is more fun and more satisfying, IMO. The marriage of theme and mechanics in Mage Wars is incredible. In Mage Wars, you are very much playing your opponent, fighting for tempo, bluffing, surprising, reacting. While you can play Mage Wars with more than two, at it's heart it's a two player game. If you find you don't have a regular head to head gaming partner or group of regular Mage Wars players, Mage Wars might not get enough plays to justify the purchase. It's not the kind of game you bring to a game night and teach one person and play and never play with that person again. It's the kind of game you want to learn and build decks and play it with others that know the game, as well. You don't have to play it that way, you can play it more casually; but you will most likely find that you are craving a richer experience with it after some initial plays.
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Alex N
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I couldn't agree more Andrei. That's exactly what I'm looking for - what style of gaming is it?

I know they're both great games, share the same theme, and play extremely well with 2 players. For myself I enjoy playing a wide variety of game styles: war vs. non-war, Euro vs. American, cards vs. dice, open information vs. random, etc. My only stumble might be the hard-core 18xx games that rely on heavy analytical resource management. I haven't tried those yet but I suspect the Mage games do not fall into that category.

So how would you compare the games to someone who hasn't played either of them yet?

 
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Guillaume Pages
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It is like saying : " should I buy space hulk or space alert.

Both have space but they are very different games.

Both Mage knight and Mage wars are tactical board game using cards and miniatures to play but they are nothing alike.

Mage wars is a 1 vs 1 combat game where you are attempting to kill your enemy. Mage knight is mostly a solo adventure game which when played with 2 players is played semi cooperatively where interactions between players are minimal.

Mage wars takes 1 hr to play, Mage knight can go on for 3 hrs or more.

Not at all comparable. You need to let us know what is it in Mage knight and Mage wars that you find interesting. The mage theme?

You might as well ask : " which should I learn: latin or Chinese?"
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Bartosz Rzepka
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They are both my 10/10 (to complicate your life even more - my 3rd 10/10 is another mage game of Serpent's Tongue ). I am definetly spending more time on Mage Wars and I think it has much more replay-value. On the other hand, MK is a tipical boardgame, where you can just have base game and play with anyone (in MW it is better to play with experienced player with his/her own deck). MK is more storytelling, MW has more story to tell... MK is puzzley, MW has deep deckbuilding...
I don't know - keep both
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Warren Zdan
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They're both excellent games, and you'll probably be happy whichever one you choose, but rather than reiterate their strengths, I'll try defining them by their weaknesses.

Mage Wars only plays competitively, and you'll probably either want someone else in your group to get another core set with you, or you'll want your roommate/significant other to play with you. You want at least one other dedicated player with easy access to the cards to construct their own spell books. It doesn't work very well if you just make all your own decks and share them with other players.

Mage Knight is a pretty deep game with a high learning curve, but if you get past that, I think it's the better game of the two. The more people you have, the slower it runs, so I wouldn't recommend it with more than two new, or three experienced players.

If you'll have at least two people who will have constant access to the Mage Wars cards, and enjoy deck construction, then I'd go with that. Otherwise, I'd recommend Mage Knight, but with a warning that you should watch a game play video first (or, if possible, try it at a shope/con) to see if you'd enjoy it, or if it's too heavy.
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Alex N
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guigtexas wrote:
You need to let us know what is it in Mage knight and Mage wars that you find interesting. The mage theme?


It's the mage theme, of course that I'm exploring. Most of my games are in the non-magical realm so I was looking to embellish my collection and get some experience with one of these two games. I already own Magic: The Gathering, and have been considering adding Summoner Wars: Master Set to my collection. I'm just afraid of "over saturation" if I go after both Mage games at the same time.

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Bartosz Rzepka
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If you are getting Summoner Wars, get MK - or better - do not get SW and get both MK and MW
 
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non sequitur
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Summoner Wars and Mage Wars have waaay more in common than either game does with Mage Knight. Personally I think MK takes too long, and I somewhat prefer SW to MW as it is a lot easier to introduce people to SW.

If you're considering both dueling games, you could grab the starters to both and then pick which to expand, but it sounds like you may not want to do that.
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Mike Romeo
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If you want more intense games get MK and MW

If you want casual games get SW
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Jeff Dunford
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I own both, like both, wish I had more time to play both, play them with different people with completely different gaming preferences, and find they are completely different styles of games, aside from some minor thematic similarities (but very different scope).
 
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Mark Turner
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guigtexas wrote:
It is like saying : " should I buy space hulk or space alert.

or, perhaps, A Game of Thrones (first edition) or The Game of Life?

Should I buy Twilight Struggle or Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)?

I feel a geeklist coming on!
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Mark Turner
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The J wrote:
I also enjoyed Magic Realm back in the day and consider Mage Knight a light version of that.


First time I've heard of Mage Knight described as light!
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Jonathan
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You have over 600 games in your collection. Buying Mage Wars Arena AND Mage Knight Board Game isn't going to make too much of a difference at this stage.

Get them both and play them both. You know that's what you really want...

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Sam Carroll
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chiefsachem wrote:
Any idea why Mage Wars Arena is ranked lower than Mage Knight Board Game?


Mage Wars's average rating is actually a bit higher than Mage Knight's. (8.29 to 8.15) However, Mage Knight has about three times as many votes, probably because it was released a year earlier, so more people have played it. Thus, the Geek rating is lower for Mage Wars, since BGG uses a Bayesian Average for the game rankings.

In general, as a game gets more exposure, its average rating will decline slightly, since the first people to try a game are usually those who love its genre, went to Essen to get one of the first copies, etc., and they're likely to love it. Then as the rest of us try it, it will collect votes from people who don't love the genre, and so on. However, the Bayesian Average system favors games with lots of votes, so the Geek Rating will climb even as the Average Rating drops. Look at the stats on this geeklist for recent examples.
 
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Scott Douglass
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To give you some idea of my experience with these games, I have played Mage Wars 118 times and Mage Knight 40 times.

Mage Wars is my favorite game, but it is really a 2 player game that works best with multiple people in the group owning the game and building their own spellbooks. When you start playing, games will probably take you 2-3 hours, particularly if both players are new. My best advise for new players is to be extremely aggressive, as many new players bog down in buildup with no idea what to do to actually end the game. Defensive and/or economically focused play can work, but new players will probably have a better experience if at least one of them is aggressive. Play speeds up enormously with experience. Games typically take me around 45 minutes. Mage Wars is a very confrontational game, and it has a prediction element. You're trying to plan for what your opponent is likely to do. While you have access to all of the cards in your spellbook, the time delay in getting the correct answer to your opponent's play if you did not prepare it for the round can be costly.

Mage Knight is the best solo board game I've played by a wide margin. Even with experience, a solo game takes me about 2 hours, so it doesn't speed up as much as Mage Wars (or maybe I just need to play it more). I much prefer Mage Knight as a cooperative game to a competitive game, but even if you play it competitively, Mage Knight is much more about solving puzzles than Mage Wars, and is much less confrontational.

Both games are rules heavy with a steep learning curve. If you want a great solo/cooperative game, get Mage Knight. If you want a deep pseudo miniatures game for 2 players, particularly if you can get someone else to commit to it with you, get Mage Wars.
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Tom Cannon
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I own and play both. They both have a place in my collection and hit the table on a regular basis.

A few additional thoughts to go with all the comments above.

Mage Knight has more of a 'strategic' feel to it because of the types of decisions you are making in the game. You need to explore new territory as well as exploit opportunities in the known part of the map. You play the role of a single mage that gains experience over the course of the game. This gives you the opportunity to customize your base action deck during the game and recruit an army to assist you. The challenges you face will become tougher as you explore deeper into the world and the decisions you make on how to develop yourself will impact your ability to defeat the tougher challenges.

Mage Wars strategy requires decisions about which spells you bring into a match (i.e. How you construct your spellbook), but your spellbook is then fixed for the duration of any given match. Once the arena battle begins your decisions become about which specific spell to play when in an attempt to kill the opponent. Spells that summon creatures provide you with additional actions to maneuver and attack the opponent. This is similar to recruiting an army in MK, but you have pre-selected your potential army units by placing them in your spellbook before the match. In MK the army units available to recruit are random and you must be in the correct map location to recruit specific units.

In MK there is more of a feel of interacting with a 'world' during the game which creates a grand story, while in MW there is more a feel of training for a match and then responding to specific moves by your opponent in the heat of battle. A very exciting story, but more focused on a specific arena battle on an afternoon rather than a series of battles over several days time to achieve your mission.

Currently I play more Mage Wars due to the more frequent release cycle of expansions that add new options to the game. However, for deep multiplayer experiences Mage Knight is our go to boardgame.

Recommend you buy both. Don't you get free shipping if you combine the two into one online purchase?
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Sam Carroll
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sdougla2 wrote:
Mage Wars is my favorite game, but it is really a 2 player game that works best with multiple people in the group owning the game and building their own spellbooks.


Quoted for truth.
 
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Chris S
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I own both, and at the risk of repeating others in this thread, they're very different games.

Overall, I prefer MW, for a couple different reasons. Most importantly, I'm fortunate enough to have a regular playing partner. I also much prefer the pre-game deck-building (rather than constructing it semi-randomly in-game) and the ability to play a spell at the time of your choosing (rather than waiting to draw it from your deck).

The draw of MK is that it functions about as well as a single-player game as it does a multi-player game. MK is enormously complex and you will be referring to the rulebook constantly. MW has a more intuitive rule set that you will largely master after a few games.

There's also the time investment to consider. MW can vary widely in duration; games can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. MK will nearly always last 3+ hours (at least for me).

None of this is to say that I dislike MK, but I sure don't play it as much as MW.

Hope this helps.
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Larry L
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I agree with much of what has already been said.

I've had MK for some time now and enjoy playing is solo (when I get a chance to play).

I just got MW last week and have played several games with two of my kids (ages 10 and 11). We are all enjoying this one.

My thoughts:

MK and MW can both be very "thinky" games, but in different ways. In MW, you're "thinking" is directed at trying to predict and counter your opponent's next move. In MK, your "thinking" is directed at optimizing your available resources.

While playing the game, I get much more of a "spellcasting" feel from MW than I do MK. I've never played any RPGs, but I suspect the MW mechanic feels similar to an RPG. (Then again, maybe I'm all wet.) You have to build a spell book (outside of the game) and then prep spells at the beginning of each round.

In MK, you're chugging through a lot of mental arithmetic, figuring out combos, how to use your cards, units, mana tokens, mana dice, etc. To me, by the time I'm done, I don't get that sense that "I just cast a couple of spells." It feels more like "I just took a pile of garbage and cleverly shaped it into something useful." It's a very satisfying experience in that regard.

For me, most MK hands start with me asking "Oh RIGHT... Just what the heck am I supposed to do with THIS hot mess?" MW rounds start with "What is my opponent going to do and what exactly do I intend to do about it?"

As a Dad, I find MW has much more appeal to my kids because the rules are easier to learn. After I had gone through the rules myself and did a solo test just to get the mechanics, I was able to teach them how to play the game in 20 minutes.

MK just takes too long to play and requires more brain power than most kids want to expend for "fun." After the one game my 10-year-old son played with me he said "Gee Dad, my head hurts after playing this." I said "Yeah, mine too! Isn't it great?" (He didn't seem as enthusiastic as I was. )

So in summary: Two very different games with very different feels. I have both and am not sorry. One does not "fire" the other. They scratch two different itches - and they scratch them VERY well.
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Glaucio Siqueira
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Hi,

I am really enjoying mage wars, a quick and tactical two player game. I had mage knight, but I sold it because I couldn't shake the feeling that I would rather be playing Dungeons and Dragons. Mage knight is too long and too complex, in my opinion. With my RPG experience, I felt it just wasn't worth it... And Vlaada is favorite designer!

So I suggest start with mage wars if you have a RPG experience!
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