Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
36 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Mage Knight Board Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Just can't seem to win.... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Graham Murphy
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is my first post on the bgg forums and I thought I'd use it to seek some advice on my solo play. There are some really good threads on general strategy to help new players (I only gave about 6 solo conquests under my belt), but I seem to level up too slowly and don't then have the advanced actions or units to be in a good position to assault 2 cities in 3 days and night.

Perhaps I shy away from combat too often? I'd generally only pick a fight if I can get out with a wound or two....anything more tends to put me off. Does that sound like it could be a major factor in the early game? Should I take on some tougher battles earlier on?

I'm certainly going to keep trying in the hope of victory in the solo conquest soon....its too good a game to stop trying.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Original Thumb #50
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just some ideas off the top of my head.

*Plan for the Round, not necessarily each turn
*Don't worry about taking a wound or 3
*Artifacts are fun, torch a monastery
*Don't be afraid to play a card sideways if it gets you over the hump to do something.
*However, try to use each card to its full potential.
*Mana is like an extra card. Try to use it in some form on every turn.
*Crystallize and Mana Draw are useful to manipulate the Source
*Plunder a Village
*Know what cards are in your deck. If you've already used most of your movement early in the round, make sure you're ending up somewhere where you can use your attack resources.
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
hulu hulu
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Id recommend the following:

Regarding wound: 1) Using Arythea as she's more forgiving in terms of taking wounds; 2) always know if you played tranquility or not this round 3) take the advantage of glade, village, and monastery for healing.

Regarding combat: it is generally valuable to go for the rampaging orcs only in the early game, say the first one or two rounds. Afterwards it is usually not worthy(unless it blocks your way) because +1 reputation reward really too far away from an extra card/spell/artifact.

Other aspects: 1)Plan your turn based on your hand, but note to take tactics to adjust your hand (Day 2,5, Night 4); 2) Plan your whole round together: you almost always see all your cards once a round. If you did not see much attacking cards now you will see them later. And pay attention to whether you used some key cards: tranquility, concentration etc.

Off the top of my head that is what I can offer to a new player. It does take some practice at the beginning, but eventually you will find you can always win the basic setting of solo game (city level 5 and 8) and it is just a matter of the final score.

Good luck!

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Cochran
United States
Costa Mesa
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
Magicboab wrote:
Perhaps I shy away from combat too often? I'd generally only pick a fight if I can get out with a wound or two....anything more tends to put me off. Does that sound like it could be a major factor in the early game? Should I take on some tougher battles earlier on?


Yes, you're probably being too conservative about your initial combats. As you say, one or two wounds should barely phase you: those should be things you're going after. Even three wounds can be worth it sometimes.

However, it's probable that the timidity is not in the wounds, but in the use of your cards. Sometimes people want to hold onto a card like Crystallize or Promise for their next turn when playing it sideways for 1 Block would avoid them getting a wound (for example), and will thus not enter a combat that looks like it might give more wounds. Being willing to burn the cards sideways often helps (particularly in the early battles) get you over that hump.

You often have to decide whether a crystal, a unit, or a combat are your priorities for this round. For me it's usually the last of these in cooperative/solo, simply because there's a timer ticking.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip
Canada
Moncton
New Brunswick
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I tend to measure my first day to see if i'm going good or bad.

Be level 2 and have a unit. That's my goal to finish the first day.

- Don't be afraid of wounds. espcially if you end a turn on a glade
- A move i like to do, but i can rarely do it. Finish my turn on a mine with crystaline in hand (or hoping to draw it). Finish turn, gain 1 crystal. 2nd turn play crystalize.. gain 2 more crystal.
- Take more risk, go into the dungeon without knowing what you're gonna draw etc..

Theirs so many threads out there with good hints though

If you have time, head to the PBF games. and read a few games. it takes a while. but you could see some new strategy, miss played rules.

if you have even more time. go in a PBF and do a solo game, a turn a day. i.e.
- set up the map
- show your hand etc..
- put in a spoiler tag what you were planning to do. {o}{/o} replace the { with [
Spoiler (click to reveal)
spoiler tag

- ask the community what they would do if they were in your shoes.

That way you might see what else you could do in a turn with the same cards. Some combo are pretty impressive.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alison Mandible
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Being willing to take wounds is important, but if "a wound or two" is okay with you, it doesn't sound like you're being TOO conservative. That said, I mostly don't count wounds if I have a plan to deal with them already in hand. If you're holding Tranquility and have a green mana, taking three or even four wounds (then healing two after combat, so they never take up space in your hand) is a good play.

Do you ever go into 'blind' combat (i.e. attacking unrevealed garrisons at night, or hitting dungeons/ruins/monster dens)? You need to be willing to risk those-- but the key is, you should have a plan for pretty much every possible enemy. You probably don't want to dungeon-dive if you have a 1/6 chance of the turn being a waste, but it's okay to do it if you've got a 1/6 chance of taking four wounds and winning the fight (and a 5/6 chance of escaping with 0 or 1 wounds).

Bold strikes is the way to go. Motivation skills and village-plundering can set you up for a big turn when you accomplish something that would be impossible on any other turn that round, as can Sparing Power (Night 6).
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
GeekInsight
United States
Whittier
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've played solo 4 or 5 times and got my first victory on my last play.

My first few game I hardly even made it to the first city. In later games, I conquered one, but not the other. And in my successful play, I conquered it on the last turn after the dummy player had declared end of round.

I don't know if this will help, but there were two major things holding me back. First, I was conservative in my movement. Part of the challenge is exploring enough tiles to get the Cities out early enough. I now shoot for getting the first City out no later than Round 2 (and ideally near the beginning of the Night of Round 2 or earlier). After all, if you waste too much time on revealed hexes - even if they offer cool opportunities - you aren't going to get to the Cities.

The second was that I tended to move at a much slower pace. I'd wait a turn to get maximum benefit of a crystalize. I'd start by rushing around attacking orcs until it felt "safe" to attack an unrevealed brown token or mage tower. That just takes too long. I became more successful as I took calculated risks and became willing to accept a wound or two in order to get the fame, level faster, and have more opportunities to conquer. In a solo game, Mage Knight is very positively reinforcing. The faster you can level, the more powerful you will be overall and certainly by the time you try to conquer the Cities.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
GeekInsight
United States
Whittier
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
grasa_total wrote:
Motivation skills and village-plundering can set you up for a big turn when you accomplish something that would be impossible on any other turn that round, as can Sparing Power (Night 6).


I almost always snatch the Night tactic that lets you re-roll mana dice. That way, on that first night, I'm much less likely to get hosed by rolling gold or black (it's rare that I can use black mana on Night 1).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aron D
United States
Erie
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not a real veteran either but a few things that have helped me are:

1) Watching Ricky Royal's videos - can't recommend highly enough.
2) Get artifacts - I especially find the banner's useful due to...
3) Get units - they are so huge in making city assault's and other combats easier. Ones with resistance are especially good because they can take up ALOT of damage without having to use cards on blocking.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brandon Held
United States
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
This shark, swallow you whole.
badge
I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jsciv wrote:
Magicboab wrote:
Perhaps I shy away from combat too often? I'd generally only pick a fight if I can get out with a wound or two....anything more tends to put me off. Does that sound like it could be a major factor in the early game? Should I take on some tougher battles earlier on?


Yes, you're probably being too conservative about your initial combats. As you say, one or two wounds should barely phase you: those should be things you're going after. Even three wounds can be worth it sometimes.

However, it's probable that the timidity is not in the wounds, but in the use of your cards. Sometimes people want to hold onto a card like Crystallize or Promise for their next turn when playing it sideways for 1 Block would avoid them getting a wound (for example), and will thus not enter a combat that looks like it might give more wounds. Being willing to burn the cards sideways often helps (particularly in the early battles) get you over that hump.

You often have to decide whether a crystal, a unit, or a combat are your priorities for this round. For me it's usually the last of these in cooperative/solo, simply because there's a timer ticking.


All of this, yes.

Sometimes knowing when to get rid of cards can be nearly as important as maximizing their effectiveness in the shortest amount of time. Initially when playing the game, I rarely wanted to discard my cards hoping to use them in combination and get the most out of them. And often I'd end up sitting with nearly a full hand of cards, waiting for the right card or two to get THAT great hand and not level up my character or getting units in the meantime. As I've gotten more games under my belt at this point, I realize that you have to roll with the hand you're given, discard cards that aren't going to help or play them sideways right away, keep moving towards a goal as was previously mentioned. Don't wait. Holding onto cards (like the example Joseph gave, or if you draw your heal card in the beginning of the round, hold it in anticipation, and don't get wounds until the end of the round) becomes detrimental.

You also need to understand the context of the tiles. For example,is there a monastery around where you can spend influence to heal yourself instead? Possibly draw an extra card (or two) instead of waiting for those wounds to show up. To keep using the same example.

This one is big especially early on-remember what cards you've already played so you can forecast (relatively) what cards are going to show up. If you want to move a few tiles to a maze, and you're down to several cards in your deed deck, are you going to get move cards or have you spent them already?

Finally...chance it. I 100% agree with what A. Mandible said in his earlier comment. I only say this because you mentioned you're conservative on taking wounds, and I was as well for a long time. I can relate to that. Sometimes you may not think you have the cards to beat every enemy in a dungeon, but you can range attack and kill a Werewolf, Medusa, and Minotaur for sure. Go for it. Even if you can't defeat every enemy, many times you'll be able to turn your cards sideways and take (relatively) minimal damage. Take the chance, one early loss like this is not going to ruin your whole game.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mat J
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good advice on this thread, from some very experience players. My recommendations:

* Read the "Understanding Your Decisions" threads by Alex Brown. Very useful to read now and again just to remind yourself of simple but effective changes to your play.

* Know your deck. Know your deck. Know your deck. Do you know your deck? Can you list the 16 base cards of your hero and roughly remember their basic and advanced effects? Why not? The better you know it, the better you know what is coming and what you can do. Haven't seen Tranquility yet? That's 1 (or 2) wounds you can take without worry. Haven't seen Promise? that's a possible unit hired. haven't seen Concentration? That's a sniping opportunity coming up.

* Don't be afraid to hang out. Monks are good fun to party with. Let them heal you. Hire a few. Then set their roof on fire. Villages are similar. Keeps and mage towers next to rampaging monsters too. You don't always have to be moving.

* Play more. Mage Knight really does have a learning curve. The more you play, the easier it gets. (And then buy Lost Legion and start all over again.)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Brown
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
mb
attjen wrote:

* Read the "Understanding Your Decisions" threads by Alex Brown. Very useful to read now and again just to remind yourself of simple but effective changes to your play.


Thanks .

Since writing those pieces, I'd add two things I think fledgling players should think about:

1) having units carry wounds is a big deal - If you can use a unit, then wound it - particularly a Lvl 1 unit - it frees up your deck and hand a lot. I think Guardian Golems are a bit of a skill-tester in this regard; to the player moving to competence they seem outrageous, but experienced players tend to see the prohibitive location and cost and would much rather Utem Guardsmen or Woodsmen (sorry if i got names wrong) because they carry wounds and have abilities that can be used easily before being wounded (i.e. most non-attacking abilities). Healing a Lvl 1 unit is easy - anything greater takes effort.

2) big turns and small turns - you are better off playing for two big turns in the first round, where you attack or make a large Influence transaction - than trying to be consistent. Later on, everything is geared toward the City turn, where you want your spells and other high-end stuff in hand.

You should see your 'small turns' as healing, exploring and crystal-gathering opportunities. Managing small turns is often just as hard, as your knowledge of your deck is important and you need to be as efficient as possible.

Good luck!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
brian d
United States
California
flag msg tools
airdog4evr wrote:
Not a real veteran either but a few things that have helped me are:

1) Watching Ricky Royal's videos - can't recommend highly enough.


truth
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Murphy
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks everyone for the advice....the direction to existing materials on the forums is very welcome!

Next play is hopefully tomorrow. Wish me luck!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Aylward
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I have a quick question: are you using the right city levels? I never one a game until I realized I was always stocking the cities with red and white monsters! I lost about 40 games straight in a row but loved the game so much it never bothered me lol. Now I win solo conquest on city levels 5/8 all the time
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sharkboy wrote:
I have a quick question: are you using the right city levels? I never one a game until I realized I was always stocking the cities with red and white monsters! I lost about 40 games straight in a row but loved the game so much it never bothered me lol. Now I win solo conquest on city levels 5/8 all the time


Good point! I was in the same boat at first. I thought the purple mage tower markers on the cities were red and was facing dragons. Impossible Since correcting it is MUCH easier.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin Reeve
Switzerland
St-Légier
Vaud
flag msg tools
badge
Looking for a game session in Switzerland? Send me a pm!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sharkboy wrote:
I lost about 40 games straight in a row but loved the game so much it never bothered me lol.
I just finished my first solo and was thrashed - wondering if I ever will be able to win that quest some day.
But, as you, the game is giving me so much fun (I love the problem solving element), that I will go on trudging my way towards improvement.

I was discouraged by a player in the General forum who says he won all his games, excepted the first one.
Now I see that I am not absolutely stupid and that I can hope winning some day.

In my present - new newbie - case, I have been much too shy about taking wounds...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex P
France
La Plaine St-Denis
Ile-de-France
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Likely, that's my problem too. On my last (third) attempt to win at the solo conquest, I was able to beat the first city and half of the defenders of the second... Ended up with four wounds in my deck.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Caldwell
United States
West Hartford
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was playing last night and got my character up pretty. I had 4 units going. Suddenly on night 2 i hit a big snafu. Lots of forests between me and my first city. 3 wounds and 0 movement cards. i could not go anywhere.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin Reeve
Switzerland
St-Légier
Vaud
flag msg tools
badge
Looking for a game session in Switzerland? Send me a pm!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Second solo was closer than first.
Third a disaster : an ice dragon was in the way (he was the real "lock" between the two cities).
It took me too much time to recruit appropriate units and gather other ressources, as well as get the right cards.
The dragon went down, but Tovak was exhausted.

I am learning to take into account my skills better (I even made the error of flipping permanent, once per turn ones!), not forgetting to use them (e.g. I failed to use the movement reducing skill for a turn or two).
This game is not forgiving.
But it gives me the rage to beat it! I won't give up!angrycool
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin Reeve
Switzerland
St-Légier
Vaud
flag msg tools
badge
Looking for a game session in Switzerland? Send me a pm!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
BTW, I don't buy the idea that the game is nearly absolutely devoid of luck.
Luck does have a serious impact on the game.

Here are some examples :

- When the dummy player draws a colour that corresponds to 3 crystals, and does it more than once, the round develops extremely fast

- The tile draw really can create extremely difficult situations : I once had three Draconums stringed in a way that I could not reach the cities without fighting them. Another time, a string of five water obstacles made it impossible to cross towards the cities - unless one had a spell or other device to walk over water (which clearly can not appear at all in a game)

- the available units and other special action cards can be woefully unadapted to the global situation.

- the skills one draws can be "meh", whilst the better ones don't come out at all. It was only the third time I played Arihea (spelling wrong, I know) that I had the opportunity to get the skills which allow using wounds...

So, as much as I admit that I have a lot to learn towards strategy and optimisation of my moves - even though I have been wargaming for past thirty years, and I don't come out as a bad player - as much I don't buy the idea that whatever the bad luck there are unfallible solutions to the game's problems.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Georg D.
Germany
Höxter
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Robin wrote:
BTW, I don't buy the idea that the game is nearly absolutely devoid of luck.
Luck does have a serious impact on the game.

OK, I haven't read the whole thread. But I would be really surprised to find an experienced MK player who claims that there is no luck in this game.

All your examples are perfectly right and you forgot to mention the carddraw for yourself or the outcome of the manadice.
Of course an experienced player will handle bad luck better than an unexperienced player. So it makes sense to talk about strategies to minimize the influence of luck.
I would bet that if one player plays 10 games with the same character there would be a difference of at least 50 points (possible 100 points) between the best and the worst game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
TonyKR
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
Robin wrote:
BTW, I don't buy the idea that the game is nearly absolutely devoid of luck.


Could you please point us to a quote or two where this claim was ever made?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin Reeve
Switzerland
St-Légier
Vaud
flag msg tools
badge
Looking for a game session in Switzerland? Send me a pm!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pugnax555 wrote:
Robin wrote:
BTW, I don't buy the idea that the game is nearly absolutely devoid of luck.


Could you please point us to a quote or two where this claim was ever made?
I am speaking of an idea.
I do have questions about some players who seem never to lose and whose only concern is about making higher scores (see this thread)
Quote:

I fully admit that I will never be a good player and that I certainly am not good at chess.
But I have met situations generated by the random aspects of the game which don't seem so easily solved that losing is hardly possible.
I am also ready to admit that I may be wrong and some MK players could be quasi geniuses.
I simply have doubts that winning is always possible, seeing some bad luck seriously jeopardising sound gaming.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Georg D.
Germany
Höxter
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you play with the standard citylevel of 5/8 an experienced player can easily get a winratio of >95%. Of course it can still happen that every random event will have the worst possible outcome and you lose. But although I'm propably not the best or most experienced player here I would bet that I win every game at this level the same I would bet that in a series of 100 coinflips at least 20 show head. Bad luck can happen but to have that much bad luck that I can't manage to conquer both cities must be some very rare kind of bad luck.
It took some plays for me to reach this level but there is nothing superhuman power involved in this ;-)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.