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Subject: Not getting better at this game over time. rss

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Kasper Lauest
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Pretty much all of my favourite games are of skill-heavy games where you get better and better over time and where an experienced player will crush a newbie. I'm talking games like Chess, Dominion, Twilight Struggle and a ton of euro games.

Mage Knight seems to be a strange exception to this rule - at least for me.

OK, so aside from my very first solo conquest, which I failed, I have won every single solo conquest I have played. So I'm definitely not a BAD player. But I'm not really getting better either, just faster, I guess.

So I had the feeling that I wasn't really getting better, so I decided to look over all my plays, which I thankfully all logged. Here's a graph depicting my scores from my second regular Solo conquest and onwards (I chose not to include the very first game, where I failed, because it would mess with the overall picture here:



So what do we see? Not only am I not getting higher scores over time, it's actually getting worse. Infact, it would have looked much worse if I hadn't gotten those two big scores in my last 5 games.

A few things to bear in mind though. I did play a few rules wrong initially - and in fact, still manage to mess up a rule or a card from time to time these days - and I did get the expansions which nerfs some of the best cards in the game. But honestly I don't think those are the only explanations.

Looking at this has made me think that I have been playing too conservatively of late. Early on I think I took more risks and that often pays off in this game.

Infact, in my very last game - which you can see was pretty succesful - I consciously tried taking much bigger risks, and it paid off.

So I'm curious - has anybody else noticed something similar or are you infact all getting better over time?
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Kevin Erskine
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My results are probably very similar. Although I have to admit that if I take a big risk early on and it backfires, then I shuffle up and start over. Getting a good unit or spell early makes such a big difference.

Another thing is that I've always played with the default cite levels. I think what a lot of people do is up the levels but still play the way they always did, which raises the score if successful.
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Kasper Lauest
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More statistics now that we are at it:

Best score:
239 points (Wolfhawk)

Worst score while winning the solo conquest:
151 points (Arythea)

Character average scores:
1. Wolfhawk: 197,3 (3 plays)
2. Krang: 188,3 (4 plays)
3. Tovak: 185,0 (6 plays)
4. Goldyx: 178,5 (2 plays)
5. Arythea: 175,5 (6 plays)
6. Norowas: 171,7 (3 plays)

I have played Volkare a couple of times but have not included those scores in any of the statistics.
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Wouldn't the data be more useful if the games were split according to individual mage knights?
You might be getting better with an individual mage knight whose playstyle suits you better and worse with some of the others.
Also, some mage knights (mostly Norowas) have higher variance (in my experience) which benefit more by pushing your luck in some cases.

Just my 2 cents.

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Kasper Lauest
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kerskine wrote:
My results are probably very similar. Although I have to admit that if I take a big risk early on and it backfires, then I shuffle up and start over. Getting a good unit or spell early makes such a big difference.

Another thing is that I've always played with the default cite levels. I think what a lot of people do is up the levels but still play the way they always did, which raises the score if successful.

True, except for one or two games, I have played with the cities at standard levels.

I have NEVER started over though. Always play it through. Maybe that's why I play so conservatively.
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Alison Mandible
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Not all risks are good, and I have a lot of trouble figuring which ones to take. But I agree that you have to keep pushing yourself to take bolder risks to get better-- added skill in the game seems to come in the form of realizing which risks are more worthwhile than they look.
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Kasper Lauest
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Honestly though, it has to be said that my games have never been about point maximization. I'm always completely focused on winning the actual conquest of the two cities.
 
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Kasper Lauest
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Apparos Achaparos wrote:
You might be getting better with an individual mage knight whose playstyle suits you better and worse with some of the others.

Looking at it now, that doesn't really seem to be the case. Anyway the number of observations here are pitifully small, so absolutely nothing can be concluded, except that my overall scores aren't increasing over time - at least not yet.
 
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BlueSwan wrote:
Apparos Achaparos wrote:
You might be getting better with an individual mage knight whose playstyle suits you better and worse with some of the others.

Looking at it now, that doesn't really seem to be the case. Anyway the number of observations here are pitifully small, so absolutely nothing can be concluded, except that my overall scores aren't increasing over time - at least not yet.

At what point did you add the Lost Legion expansion? Are all the games post LL?

Anyway the data is little but there is a pattern forming. You seem to be faring better with the fighter types (Tovak and Wolfhawk) that rely more on their abilities rather than spells or followers and are more stable and resilient to bad starts. It can also be logically concluded that you enter dungeons very often.

What is puzzling is the Goldyx low average. He is probably the strongest mage knight pre LL and a very flexible character overall. Were the 2 games you had with him some of your first ones?
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Kasper Lauest
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Apparos Achaparos wrote:

At what point did you add the Lost Legion expansion? Are all the games post LL?

After about 6-8 games or so.

Quote:
Anyway the data is little but there is a pattern forming. You seem to be faring better with the fighter types (Tovak and Wolfhawk) that rely more on their abilities rather than spells or followers and are more stable and resilient to bad starts. It can also be logically concluded that you enter dungeons very often.

Haha, actually I don't enter dungeons all that often. I mostly stick to Keeps/Monestaries/Mage Towers as well as killing rampaging orcs/draconum. Come to think of it I'm not sure if I have EVER entered a maze or labyrinth (just seems to be a waste of move points).

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What is puzzling is the Goldyx low average. He is probably the strongest mage knight pre LL and a very flexible character overall. Were the 2 games you had with him some of your first ones?

No, but they are only two games. If I play with him tomorrow, I could very well score 200+ and his average would improve tremendously.

EDIT: Infact, I think I WILL play with him next time. I usually roll a mana die to decide who to play, but only two plays with Goldyx is pityful (although I did play with him once against Volkare as well).
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Philip
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BlueSwan wrote:
.......... But I'm not really getting better either, just faster, I guess..........


If you want high score, try to make the game longer. aka visit more site near the end game.

Finish early gives you a few bonus points, but actually taking the extra few turn to clear more of the map will make you score higher.

I rarely play solo. But this is the trend i see.. the faster the game, the least points you get.
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Erich Schneider
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BlueSwan wrote:
Haha, actually I don't enter dungeons all that often. I mostly stick to Keeps/Monestaries/Mage Towers as well as killing rampaging orcs/draconum.


By not going after dungeons you are excluding a major source of artifacts.
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I would be suspicious of interpreting the data as you not getting better.

Many AAs, Spells and Artifacts can make a big difference in how powerful you are, especially if gotten early in the game, so I wouldn't think much of the scores fluctuating a lot.

I would consider wins as a better measure of whether you are getting better or not, since even if you don't get great cards in the offers, you can still plan your game in a way that allows you to win.

Have you tried just increasing the levels of the cities to make the game more of a challenge?
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honeyralmond wrote:

Many AAs, Spells and Artifacts can make a big difference in how powerful you are, especially if gotten early in the game, so I wouldn't think much of the scores fluctuating a lot.


Because of this, I would consider the score a better measure of success in a single game involving different players, rather than multiple games involving the same player. I wonder if the scoring rules were ever meant, and as a consequence, designed and tested, as a measure of between-games performance.
 
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Tom Builder
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Out of the last five games you had your two highest scores.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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erich_schneider wrote:
BlueSwan wrote:
Haha, actually I don't enter dungeons all that often. I mostly stick to Keeps/Monestaries/Mage Towers as well as killing rampaging orcs/draconum.


By not going after dungeons you are excluding a major source of artifacts.


Yeah, dungeons are a fantastic source of artifacts: if I have Ranged 5 (which is just Concentration/Swiftness) in my hand and there's one nearby I'm there. One of the handy things is that chart of enemies: you can judge the risk and the worst possible outcome and then decide if you want to go for it.

I think that this game pays off educated risks far more than it penalizes them. I learned that by playing with other players: watching them take risks that I thought were too severe and then having them beat the crud out of me score-wise caused me to totally rethink how I played.
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Kasper Lauest
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jellyfish1 wrote:
Out of the last five games you had your two highest scores.

True. As well as three of the worst.

But the guy who said that you're not really supposed to compare scores between games probably has it right. So many factors decide the point outcome of a given game.

But still a fun exercise, I guess.
 
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Kasper Lauest
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honeyralmond wrote:
Have you tried just increasing the levels of the cities to make the game more of a challenge?

I did that a couple of times. But actually, despite always winning, I do find the game very challenging as it is and I'm really not concerned about the scores at all while playing. Just something I looked at and found a bit puzzling.
 
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Kasper Lauest
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erich_schneider wrote:
BlueSwan wrote:
Haha, actually I don't enter dungeons all that often. I mostly stick to Keeps/Monestaries/Mage Towers as well as killing rampaging orcs/draconum.


By not going after dungeons you are excluding a major source of artifacts.

Oh, I do go after them when they appear in my path. That just doesn't seem to happen all that much. I won't take a huge detour to enter a dungeon. Maybe I should, I don't know.

Anyway, after Lost Legions I'm thinking that Artifacts are less important than they used to be. The two best ones (Banner Of Fear and Horn Of Wrath) got nerfed and they added a few that aren't all that amazing. I often find myself being disappointed in the artifact I got after burning a Monestary. Nowadays I find that the right spells are often more crucial - like Wings Of Wind/Night, which very often appears in my games (and I ALWAYS make sure to get it). Infact, I think it would be good if the next expansion included more spells, there aren't that many of them.
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Georg D.
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BlueSwan wrote:
Anyway, after Lost Legions I'm thinking that Artifacts are less important than they used to be. The two best ones (Banner Of Fear and Horn Of Wrath) got nerfed and they added a few that aren't all that amazing. I often find myself being disappointed in the artifact I got after burning a Monestary.

Artifacts have the great advantage that they don't need any mana. I'm always happy if I get one of the rings - they make it so much easier to have the mana for the spells and advanced actions at hand. And I don't know how often I leveled up because I played a ring... Usually the banners are good ones too. (They don't even block space in your hand.)
Most artifacts don't have the combatpowers of other cards but they make it so much easier to use your other cards in a more powerful way.
With characters like Tovak or Norowas you often don't have enough mana for more than 2 spells in your deck but you always have some good use for artifacts.
And I think the expansion had some great artifacts - druidic staff, shield of the fallen kings or circlet of proficiency are great ones. Perhaps the bow is a bit on the weak side - but it can be helpful too.
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Peter Van den Broeck
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Quote:
Anyway the data is little but there is a pattern forming.


If you keep on going like this, you'll end up winning solo games with 0 score... whistle laugh laugh
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Ben Kyo
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BlueSwan wrote:
Honestly though, it has to be said that my games have never been about point maximization. I'm always completely focused on winning the actual conquest of the two cities.

Doesn't this resolve any and all questions about whether or not you are getting better?

The graph should look something like this:

win---xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
loss-x

Looks like an upwards trend to me.
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Joseph Cochran
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jsciv wrote:
I think that this game pays off educated risks far more than it penalizes them. I learned that by playing with other players: watching them take risks that I thought were too severe and then having them beat the crud out of me score-wise caused me to totally rethink how I played.


Oh, and for what it's worth, I don't think that means that one should always take risks: I think that you need to be as bleeding-edge with them as possible, but don't run into a Tomb just 'cause it's there or anything either. Make those back pages of the walkthrough and the LL your best friend and look at the risks: what percentage of the tokens can you beat with 0 wounds? What percentage can you beat with up to 2 or 3 wounds? What percentage can you just not beat (again with and without wounds)? Then decide whether or not to go.
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Alex Brown
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There's an indicative session report somewhere here where the guy Mana Steals into an Altar on the first turn.

People who say there's little to no luck in Mage Knight are pulling the wool over their eyes.

The strength of Mage Knight is the sheer spread of viable scenarios the game generates. I never feel out of options, but sometimes those directly powerful options - like Horn of Wrath, or just lucking into an Ice Block on a Fire Golem first round - occur obviously.

I've soloed the game about sixty times and always look forward to playing as the characters somehow stay fresh - sure, I've beaten 11/11 but I prefer a shorter, tighter map (Volkare's Return) now, and think score is a poor measure of good play.
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BlueSwan wrote:
OK, so aside from my very first solo conquest, which I failed, I have won every single solo conquest I have played.
Well, if you can be reassured, I just played my first solo and was thrashed.modest
My stats will never reach yours, I believe.
It will take me some time before I find out how to win.

Of course I am a newbie, but never losing a game seems a sign of extremely high skill, with a lot of luck (that factor does count, when it comes down to drawing the cards and monsters).
I am nevertheless going to wander in the Strategy folder to see if there are some basic principles I could apply...

But, anyway, I am out for fun, so win or lose, I am having a good time playing!
 
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