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Mage Knight Board Game» Forums » Rules

Subject: “Fortified” and the contradiction to theme rss

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Lowell Drake
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I’m plowing my way through learning Mage Knight, and so far have played two games of the Reconnaissance scenario. Lots of good stuff here, but I have one “pebble in my shoe.” (I suspect someone else has brought this up, but 226 pages of posts here deter from searching it out.) Well, here’s my issue. Theme is very important to me in a game. I don’t necessarily care what the theme is – I love a good wargame, but also love Railroad Tycoon and Agricola – but I want the game to play true to the theme. Mage Knight does this to a large extent, but I have some profound perplexity over how “Fortified” plays out. That is, if you want to Siege a Fortified enemy, you have to have a LOT of cards that will allow you to take it out. But there are few cards that have the Siege quality, so you usually have to pass on Siege and just go for the Attack. This is more-often-than-not no big deal, since you can use Attack, Ranged, Siege and most any other card turned sideways to blow the enemy away. But . . . why on earth have they lost the Fortified ability??? Thematically, the enemy would just sit tight in their Keep and laugh at you (I’m thinking of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the moment). Are we to imagine that our Hero has gone up to the door, or drawbridge, or portcullis and knocked politely and asked, “Would you fella’s mind coming out so I can whip your butts?” As it turns out, Fortified means practically nothing, and Siege is basically meaningless. Am I missing something? I’ve read the rules over a couple times now and looked to see if I missed anything that gives the enemy some defense ability in the Attack phase if Fortified, but the rules are clear, “Fortifications no longer apply; you can target any enemy with any attack or combination of attacks.” So, that’s it. It doesn’t play out at all thematically. Very sad. Anyone have thoughts on this?
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Andrew
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When you fight something, you will always be able to engage it in normal combat. You could interpret that as storming the enemy defences in close combat, charging barricades, or something like that, but it's fundamental to Mage Knight's combat system.

Ranged and siege attacks represent killing power before that main combat, and fortifications just represent defence against those pre-emptive strikes. They don't make enemies harder to kill at the distance where they have already struck at you - that's just their normal armour.
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Mickey
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Well, to try to stick to the theme, if you don't have catapults to siege a fortress, then your go hand to hand (using ladders and rope).
When I am finally able to pull enough siege attacks, what annoys me the most is to face a double fortified enemy
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Randall
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The concept is basically this.

1. You are outside the fortified structure. With proper Siege Attack, you take the enemy/ies down immediately. Without it...you get this, as you say.



2. You then proceed to do this...minus the whole police thing (unless you still didn't have proper Attack amounts, then you have to get out of jail before attempting step 1 again).



And that is the idea behind Siege combat.


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Lucas Moyer-Horner
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As you move on in the game and face situations in which you're fighting multiple enemies at once, such as during Full Conquest or especially Volkare scenarios, you'll find that Ranged and Siege attacks are massively useful because they allow you to kill enemies BEFORE they attack you.

A core aspect of this game involves using your very limited resources (cards, skills, units, crystals) efficiently when they are available. You build your deck and skills and units and crystals through the rounds to increase your chances of having them available during big, dramatic battles (cities or Volkare). During the big battles, if you cannot kill at least some of those numerous enemies in the ranged/siege phase then you'll likely be forced to use all your resources on blocking and dealing with deck-clogging wounds, and you may end up getting knocked out, thus forcing you to discard your hand before you even get a chance to fight back.

Siege attack is rare and valuable in the game. Thematically, these are big and powerful attacks, capable of crushing walls and flattening enemies (e.g catapults or the Altem Mages' black magic). Because siege is rare, fortified enemies almost always get to attack you before you get to attack them. To me, that's a brilliant way of representing the advantages a fortified defender has over an assaulting enemy. If anything, i think it would be an even better thematic fit if siege attacks (not ranged) did double their damage during the normal attack phase.
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Randall
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lrmhorner wrote:
If anything, i think it would be an even better thematic fit if siege attacks (not ranged) did double their damage during the normal attack phase.


I'm not sure about that one. Look at it as being in close range, those huge Siege Attacks are easier to avoid and keep their damage within balanced quantities (like you using Move to "block" a Cumbersome enemy, they "avoid" a larger part of Siege Attack in close proximity).

I kind of think it can be seen as your Siege Attack is still outside the structure firing away as the rest of your Attack/Range goes in for the kill up close. You just have to ignore the whole "friendly fire" issue.
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Ben Kyo
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Forward 1, Forward 2, Forward 3... siege attack 5?
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Just to be clear here, we're talking about mage knights who can decimate entire legions within a few hours, and travel across an entire country in an afternoon.

Fortifications may force you to get up close and personal, but there's no way they are going to stop you, and that's how it should be.
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Paul Grogan
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L4D2 wrote:
“Fortifications no longer apply; you can target any enemy with any attack or combination of attacks.” So, that’s it. It doesn’t play out at all thematically. Very sad. Anyone have thoughts on this?


Step 1: Ranged. You cant do this as they are hiding behind a wall - Unless you have siege. Perfectly thematic for me.
Step 1a: (Not in the rules) You kick down the door and go inside
Step 2: etc.....

It's a shame you are saddened by this as I loved it.

Quote:
Fortified means practically nothing, and Siege is basically meaningless.

I can't help think that you might be playing it wrong if that is the way you think. Fortified is huge. It means you cant kill certain things with ranged - this is REALLY important.
And Siege allows you to get round that, which is also REALLY important.
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Tom Rojas
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Ok this is my theme for siege: the fortified enemies are happy singing, dancing, having dinner Or doing some magic in their strong fortresses, so my mage knight gets closer very quietly and gets the first chance to take them down doing some siege damage, IF he/she can. If not, people inside noticed the incoming attack and defend themselves attacking you first, inflicting some damage as you burn down the walls Or climb them for a close combat attack.

- tom
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L4D2 wrote:
But there are few cards that have the Siege quality, so you usually have to pass on Siege and just go for the Attack. This is more-often-than-not no big deal, since you can use Attack, Ranged, Siege and most any other card turned sideways to blow the enemy away.


I wouldn't say it's no big deal. It's the difference between having to deal with their attacks and being able to ignore them. Sometimes that can cause real problems. You are doing the Block and Assign Damage phases between the Siege and regular Attack phases, aren't you? (Always worth clarifying!)
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Kristopher
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Having the Monsters attack you FIRST (if you can't get any Siege Attack) is pretty deadly. I just bought the game and am playing through my first solo conquest, and assaulted my first city last night. (Of course, I attacked the Level 8 city first. Why not?) But when you're looking at 4 mobs each with +5 attack or more, with Brutal/Swift (and Poison, it was a Green City,) Resistances, etc. knowing that you only have a limited number of Turns/Rounds left to assault/heal/get to the other city/assault that one, etc. with only 5-6 cards in hand, half of which are movement/influence cards or something useless in a situation like that --- It's pretty hectic!

I think it captures the theme of ASSAULTING a CITY pretty well.
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Lowell Drake
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fateswanderer wrote:
When you fight something, you will always be able to engage it in normal combat. You could interpret that as storming the enemy defences in close combat, charging barricades, or something like that, but it's fundamental to Mage Knight's combat system.


That's exactly what I'm talking about! "It's fundamental to the MK combat system," which means that if you can't take a Keep by Siege, you IGNORE the Fortified ability and just fight as if in an open field. The Fortification has just vanished.

I appreciate that by Siege I can avoid taking any damage, and when you can pull it off that's great, but to then ignore the Fortification is what irks me. It seems it would be easy to make attacks against those with Fortified ability "inefficient" as so many other attacks. It would at least make it seem as though scaling the walls made it more difficult to come to grips with the enemy. I KNOW it would mess with the rules, but I don't like it that Fortified just disappears after the Siege phase. Still, thanks to everyone for your responses.
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Mat J
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I don't interpret it as the fortification just vanishing, I interpret it as the Mage Knight has just been shot at from the ramparts, had oil poured all over him, dodged some stones, worked himself right up to the keep (or mage tower, or city), and bruised and bloodied used his might to smash through the entrance and get right up close and personal with the defenders. What else do you think he's (or she's) doing when getting attacked? Just standing still?

At that point, they aren't fortified, they are trapped inside their fortifications with a mightily angry magical warrior. There is only so far the defenders can back-up before they end up running away (which they never do -brave souls- unless it's another mage knight).

Now I think you could argue double fortified defenders (fortified attribute within a fortified site) should get a second chance to attack. And honestly, I could agree with that. They'd fight you from the ramparts, and then fight you from the inner sanctum. Personally, I just think they are surprised the Mage Knight made it through the walls.

On the other hand, it's an easily solved problem. When you play the game, just play as though every fortified enemy also has physical resistance.
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Paul Grogan
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Lowell. Please read my description above. You kick down the door and you are now inside the keep. Simple as that.

But please also listen to the other people who have been playing MK for years. Fortification is a big thing, and ranged / siege is also a big thing. The mechanics work perfectly well and are not useless.

If you really want to make all units that are fortified now resistant to all attacks, that will completely mess the game balance, and mean that fortified enemies are now twice as hard to kill as they were before. This will effectively ruin the game.

I think you are focusing too much on the fortification disappearing after the siege phase, but I'm afraid you might just have to think about this another way, because it does work, it does make sense and shouldn't be changed.

Just remember: Fortification means you cannot used ranged. That's all it does - just that, nothing else. But that's enough.
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Kristopher
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You aren't IGNORING it. You CAN'T attack that way. Big difference.

I think Ignoring it would imply "I CAN Attack that way, but choose NOT to."

...

Wait a Minute. I think I see what you're saying. That, even though yes they are fortified, it ultimately doesn't make them any harder to hit AFTER the siege phase? So that it arbitrarily adds some mechanic that doesn't allow you to attack first but doesn't change their nature. Like resistance does?
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Lowell Drake
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Lhowser wrote:
Wait a Minute. I think I see what you're saying. That, even though yes they are fortified, it ultimately doesn't make them any harder to hit AFTER the siege phase? So that it arbitrarily adds some mechanic that doesn't allow you to attack first but doesn't change their nature. Like resistance does?


YES!! That's what I'm talking about! (I feel validated.) Sorry I hadn't expressed it more clearly in the first place.
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L4D2 wrote:
Lhowser wrote:
Wait a Minute. I think I see what you're saying. That, even though yes they are fortified, it ultimately doesn't make them any harder to hit AFTER the siege phase? So that it arbitrarily adds some mechanic that doesn't allow you to attack first but doesn't change their nature. Like resistance does?


YES!! That's what I'm talking about! (I feel validated.) Sorry I hadn't expressed it more clearly in the first place.
And as stated by several others before, once you get past the castle walls, they do not matter any more. The combat mechanics in Mage Knight are not dealing in minutiae. It is a bit abstract: Kill from far -> Kill in close. Not aim, compensate for wind, shoot, run, dodge, bash the gates, climb the stairs, dodge, slash, counter, parry, riposte, kill.
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Kristopher
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L4D2 wrote:
Lhowser wrote:
Wait a Minute. I think I see what you're saying. That, even though yes they are fortified, it ultimately doesn't make them any harder to hit AFTER the siege phase? So that it arbitrarily adds some mechanic that doesn't allow you to attack first but doesn't change their nature. Like resistance does?


YES!! That's what I'm talking about! (I feel validated.) Sorry I hadn't expressed it more clearly in the first place.


No, you probably did. I, sadly, have a tendency to skim most of the posts because I'm either at work and may not have a whole lot of time to read everything, or a post gets sooo long with so many replies that are all relatively the same that they become one long blur. Sorry, I'm that way, but that's the truth anymore with here, other networking sites, etc.

But ultimately, like Jebbie, et al. says, it STILL captures the theme of storming a castle, cause once you get by the walls, they're unprotected. ie. Once the walls of Helms Deep are blown, Theodin, Aragorn, and the rest are UNFORTIFIED until they pull back into the keep.
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Kristopher
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You know, the more I'm sitting here talking about it, the better this game gets in my mind.
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L4D2 wrote:
YES!! That's what I'm talking about! (I feel validated.) Sorry I hadn't expressed it more clearly in the first place.


Sorry, you seem to be happy because someone has worked out what you are actually saying. Not because they agree with you, but because they not understand the issue you are having.

Everyone here is saying the same thing. Fortified does not make anything harder to kill. We're all saying that, and you are having difficulty accepting it.

I'm going to try one more time.....

Look at the Orcs who are fortified. That is simply them hiding behind some quickly thrown together pieces of wood which means you cant shoot them with arrows. In the game, that is called Fortification.

So, instead of shooting them with arrows, you walk up to these aforementioned bits of wood and smash them down. Ok, so - they are now gone. The Orcs then attack you, and so on....

Fortification does not make anything harder to kill in combat, it just tells you that you cannot use Ranged attack.

There is already another game mechanic for something that is harder to kill (resistance). You are trying to use fortification for that too.

All of this is perfectly thematic and I don't know anyone else who has said this, so I think it is just something that you have fixated upon and you are not going to accept other peoples opinions on it. It seems to be you just keep arguing the same case, no matter how many people are telling you the opposite. Sorry.


But if it really makes you happier, give everything that is fortified resistance to all attacks. Give them all +1 armour too if you like. The game balance will be totally screwed with and you'll find it very difficult to take keeps and towers.

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Lowell Drake
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PaulGrogan wrote:
Everyone here is saying the same thing. Fortified does not make anything harder to kill. We're all saying that, and you are having difficulty accepting it.

I'm going to try one more time.....

Look at the Orcs who are fortified. That is simply them hiding behind some quickly thrown together pieces of wood which means you cant shoot them with arrows. In the game, that is called Fortification.

So, instead of shooting them with arrows, you walk up to these aforementioned bits of wood and smash them down. Ok, so - they are now gone. The Orcs then attack you, and so on....

Fortification does not make anything harder to kill in combat, it just tells you that you cannot use Ranged attack.

There is already another game mechanic for something that is harder to kill (resistance). You are trying to use fortification for that too.

But if it really makes you happier, give everything that is fortified resistance to all attacks. Give them all +1 armour too if you like. The game balance will be totally screwed with and you'll find it very difficult to take keeps and towers.



I DO get it, Paul, and have understood the underlying theory from the first time I played MK. When we first took on a Keep we were saying, “OK, now I kick in the door and take on the XXX.” (Which is exactly what others have mentioned above.) And I understand – and have understood – that “Fortification does not make anything harder to kill in combat, it just tells you that you cannot use Ranged attack.” And I understand that there’s a chorus singing this line, but all I’m saying is, SHOULDIN’T a Fortification make it harder to kill something? But from what you just said, I’m reminded that in the time of the real King Arthur a “keep” was actually a barricade on a hill – not the stout stone castle depicted on the Keep counter. So, alright, I can adjust my thinking to our Hero and Units charging the barricade, deflecting arrows and stones, leaping the wall and thoroughly thrashing the enemies within. It works for me. I do, however, like your idea of the +1 to armor when fortified, but the two rules tsars I play with wouldn’t like to tamper with the rules anyhow. Too bad we have to thrash this out in this venue. Better if we could meet in a pub and put the game on the table. Unfortunately my budget won’t allow a quick trip to Cullompton so we’ll have to work it out from here. BTW, I love the new expansion The Lost Legion. Since we’re still just learning the game we haven’t got it to the table yet, but the new cards for the Heroes are a huge improvement in diversifying them.
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Paul Grogan
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L4D2 wrote:
Unfortunately my budget won’t allow a quick trip to Cullompton
That's a shame, I've got another day of testing tomorrow for the new new expansion

Quote:
BTW, I love the new expansion The Lost Legion. Since we’re still just learning the game we haven’t got it to the table yet, but the new cards for the Heroes are a huge improvement in diversifying them.


I'd recommend mixing the new cards in once you've got a few games under your belt. But the Volkare scenarios are tough..... don't try them on anything but the easiest level when learning. And even then, they are still tough.
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Lucas Moyer-Horner
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PaulGrogan wrote:
[q="L4D2"]That's a shame, I've got another day of testing tomorrow for the new new expansion


Reading "new new expansion" makes me smile. Can't wait!
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PaulGrogan wrote:
L4D2 wrote:
Unfortunately my budget won’t allow a quick trip to Cullompton
That's a shame, I've got another day of testing tomorrow for the new new expansion

Quote:
BTW, I love the new expansion The Lost Legion. Since we’re still just learning the game we haven’t got it to the table yet, but the new cards for the Heroes are a huge improvement in diversifying them.


I'd recommend mixing the new cards in once you've got a few games under your belt. But the Volkare scenarios are tough..... don't try them on anything but the easiest level when learning. And even then, they are still tough.


Did I just hear NEW EXPANSION??!!!!


Happy Dance!!! Frickin' Awesome! surprise
 
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PaulGrogan wrote:
That's a shame, I've got another day of testing tomorrow for the new new expansion


Can any clues be given at this point?whistle
 
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