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Subject: Noob Frustration rss

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Peter O'Hanraha-Hanrahan
United Kingdom
Bristol
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I've played this game eight times now, 2 recon and 6 solo conquest, and I've never been so frustrated. I can accept my spaceship falling apart in Galaxy Trucker and laugh it off; I can lose miserably in Pandemic, no big deal. Mage Knight, though, just kills me. Whatever I need to do, I'm always one point short. Need eight ranged? I've got seven. Need to move 6? I can do 5. Flipping a monster, same problem. Oh great, I only need attack 4 - oh, hang on, he's fortified. I'm not really a strategic gamer, it's clear.

I've read strategy threads til my eyes glaze over. Can someone give me either a) a consoling hug or b) some great advice please?
I usually use the red Mage, I forget her name, and I've tried manipulating the tiles so I get an easier start. I've tried racing through to get the better units out quicker, and I've tried going slowly, and then running out of time.

Frustrated is not the word. Table-flippingly disconsolate is a better description.
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Dr Who
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we have ALL been there with this game

I was thinking about my first play thrus and I admit to cheating. I went beyond the rounds allotted to my scenario. I did this to learn the game and see some more of it. I still played day and night of course, but just took as many day/nights as I wanted. As I got better I then stuck to the time for the scenario.

I played well over 10 games before I started really grasping it in its entirety.


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mark coomey
New Zealand
AUCKLAND
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I feel your pain. When I first got the game, I soloed quite a bit. And I did manage to get a little better. Once when I really spent time on learning what cards I had I was finally getting to the point where I was defeating the easier enemies, but could never pull off the cities.
So in frustration, I packed the game away and moved on to something else.
I enjoyed the game too and recently have come back to it but apparently forgetting all I had learned cause I'm having trouble getting anywhere.
I'm hoping you get some sound advice because I'm in the same boat!
 
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Norwegian Singbird
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Maybe you're not using your Knight's skills, or maybe you're forgetting you can play cards sideways (you can get 5 attack like this, which should be enough to kill most orcs for example), or maybe you're just thinking you should never ever take any wounds, or maybe you're not using the mana or crystals, or... Maybe... You're just perceiving always being short? I mean, you don't actually spend the whole six rounds stuck on the starting tile, gaining zero levels and so on, right? So instead try taking another perspective: Play a game and compare to your first game, or the last you remember. You should realize that "hey man, I AM actually improving, if ever so little."
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Kevin Erskine
United States
Alexandria
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{hug}

Hard to say really. With Arythea, don't be afraid to take some wounds. I forget exactly what skill upgrades she has (or what dummy player you're using), but getting the skill tokens that give you +1 range or siege or fire attack ... can help when you're just one point off.

You'll probably get all kinds of advice but here are some things I try for.

Get some kind of spell that reduces defenses or fortifications.

I try and get elite units by end of the second night so I have them for the last full day. Earlier if I can.

I like to get keeps. So if I've taken 2 of them and there is one near a city then I can get 2 extra cards for my hand. 3 is even better, but that rarely seems to happen.


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Alison Mandible
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Cambridge
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Yeah, this game is brutal. My first two games were so painful that I almost gave up (and I didn't play for a year between them).

If you're always one point short, though, you're close to the tipping point. The thing which made the game click for me was reading PBF threads here where players would do very little for a turn or two and then suddenly make HUGE plays. Because of the all-or-nothing nature of the mechanics, you want to use your power in bursts.

This means stockpiling crystals-- I will almost never use a crystal during the first two rounds (i.e. Day 1 and Night 1) unless it means leveling up or taking an opportunity that I normally couldn't handle until later but happen to have the perfect hand for. Sparing Power is great. Motivation is great.

And, until you get your feet under you, don't flip tokens unless you are ready to deal with literally every possibility. Otherwise, stick to face-up enemies.

Also, maybe try using Tovak? He has lots of skills that make for smoother play, like I Don't Give A Damn and Who Needs Magic. Arythea is actually pretty tricky to use.

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Jonathan Hersey
United States
Peoria
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I'm a pretty new player myself (I started 3 weeks ago) and have had a hard time beating the cities and ruins cites. Finally after my, 7th or 8th game a light bulb went off and I'm doing a little a better. So with sympathy I give you this virtual hug

(hug)

Also, hang in there it will come together. I recommend reducing the city levels in the solo game to 3 and 5. I know this could feel like a cop out, but the reality is this game is suppose to be fun and it is a skill based puzzle you get better at solving over time. Perhaps while playing, you could post some situations you encounter on your turns and have veteran players explain what they would do in your situation and why.

Once again, hang in there
 
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Lior Kiperman
Israel
Ramat Gan
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*Hug*

Having 1 less point than what you need is part of the fun. The more you play the game, the easier it becomes. Suddenly you can tell when it is safe for you to go to the dungeon, and you know that this spell will help you more in this scenario than that spell.
 
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Larry L
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Sounds like you're just going through the learning curve.

I've managed to play about 10 or so games over the last two years (wish it was more but it is what it is). I still play with the cities "turned down" to more manageable levels (I refer to this as the "kiddie version") and am able to pull off wins.

The game is insanely frustrating for me at times but somehow it just scratches the itch - win or lose - and keeps me coming back.

I'll be honest, I enjoy this game so much that, in spite of rarely playing it, I still purchased the expansions. I tried playing with Volkare once just to see how it works. It's very cool but I got my butt whipped good. (No more of him until I can take down full-strength cities. ) I picked up Krang a few weeks ago (needed another purchase on Amazon to get the free shipping) and am anxious to give him a try.

Listening to the folks out there "beating maxed out cities with ease" can make the game more frustrating because you KNOW it can be done, you just can't figure out how to do it. Some people simply are more capable of wrapping their heads around large, complex puzzles than others. I fall into the latter group.

Best advice I can give is keep reading BGG and keep playing. The day will come that you wonder how you ever had trouble beating cities at the "normal" level. (A point I have yet to reach, but someday...)
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Johannes Albani
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Achern
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I suggest to watch http://boardgamegeek.com/video/28708 and the following 3 videos. Boarass made a complete sessionreport in video form and explained alot of his tactics and other thoughts. It helped me to get insight of some things i did wrong initially...
 
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Jeroen
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Mage Knight is a difficult game. You're not really telling us what you are doing now, so it's a bit hard to give proper advice.

In Solo play,there is no 'I need 6 move'. The whole board is yours, you can/have to calculate your optimal turn every single turn.
That being said, that Dummy is pretty slow. You can afford to have some slow turns yourself, to heal, buy stuff or collect crystals.
Always keep track of how many turns you have left. You are picking a low Tactic (1 if you want to be safe) at the start of the game, right?
Your first level up makes a huge difference: try to find an Orc with 3 Fame (or 4 if you can handle it) and kill it. Rampaging enemies (Orcs) are already revealed during the day, no 'flipping a monster' needed.
 
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Nathan Hortness
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Charian wrote:
Rampaging enemies (Orcs) are already revealed during the day, no 'flipping a monster' needed.


Rampaging enemies are always revealed (day and night)
 
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Allan Rothberg
United States
Farmingdale
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Keep in mind that at its heart MK is a card game, and the ability to manage your hand of cards is critical. Some of the easiest ways to do that are:

Keeps, extra cards into your hand, the more the better;

Village, a little pillaging just before you go into battle can more than offset the loss of popularity;

Tactics, extra draws, card swaps, whatever edge you can get out of the tactics card can be critical.

Of course having a small number of crystals can really enhance the cards you have in hand, that and mana tokens from your other cards.

Don't forget your skill tokens! Often they can supply you with that +1 Block or Attack that you need.

Allies come and go, use them and use them up when you need to. There are more available.
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Nat Li
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I don't hug other men.
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Mike De Groote
Belgium
Heist-op-den-berg
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I played the game for the first time yesterday
and these are a few quick notes I made

if you got a majority of move cards you try to get to a spot where you will be usefull or get crystals from, don't try to pick a fight wait for the right cards
if you have combat cards look for a fight and not move. I think you get the idea
And indeed use your cards in burst
don't be afraid to take wounds there is heal in the game and on the board
I never had a feeling of missing one point you could always turn another card to get a +1
I hated the double walled creatures but then I just took the damage and killed them. I never seemed to get the right amount of siege attack or fire and ice block but that didn't stop me of raking in the kills....
halfway the game I had 11 wounds in my deck but that didn't stop me

just don't charge blind on hidden creatures
and don't try to get to use all your cards on the powered up ability

and it's a puzzle so take your time .Most of the time there is more then one way to get something done. and yes I have given up my best combat to get extra influence or move :) I know blasphemy but when the need arises you make firewood from spears.....
I played the blood mage for those that may be interested

But basicaly i'll be looking around now to pick up a copy for my selves ;)
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Peter O'Hanraha-Hanrahan
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Some excellent advice, thanks all. I will persevere, I'm sure - just not for a while.
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Beany Hotsauce
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When it comes to the basics, its really about knowing whats left in your deck. Drawing cards is random, but you know that sooner or later you will draw all your cards.

If you have alot of move cards, chances are you will draw alot of attack cards in the next couple of turns, so start moving towards that mage keep.

Havent drawn your heal yet? Its probably ok to take a wound or two then.

Havent drawn any of your influence cards yet? Kill something with the hand you currently have and start moving towards a place you can recruit something. Chances are you will draw your influence cards after moving.

When it comes to later in the game, try to synergize your mana/crystal skills with spells and advanced actions of those colors.

And as was said earlier by others. Cards is king
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Luc Jacobs
Belgium
Lichtaart
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I guess you gave up a little.
The point is to enjoy the game And accept to lose.

Plan in advance, but use the opportunities given by new tiles and cards you draw.
Don't be scared to play a good card sideways to get the extra movement or damage. Don't be scared to take a few wounds.

Play some Lord of the Rings Card Game.

Look at the selves stacked with games and see the box of Mage Knight, thinking "I've beaten you, you @#! ..."

@#! A kind of Belgian curse word.
 
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Gustav Åkerfelt
Finland
Turku
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Hug.
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Robert Leonhard
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Here's a link to my first win on solo conquest. I gave a pretty detailed session report, so you can follow along to make sure you have the rules down. I made ONE tiny error right off the bat by not rerolling mana dice at start. But other than that, I think I got the rules correct.

This game is frustrating and fun! Keep at it! When you finally get that win, it's so satisfying.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1112415/tovak-solo-conquest-...

 
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Robyn Z
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Worcester
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I sooooo agree I have played 5 times now and still have not even come close to beating a city. The time constraint is what kills me. I have no idea how this could be done. Not enough cards in such short time. 3 days and nights really? Don't know what to do.

Every walk through I have seen of the game stops half way, from what I have seen of them playing I doubt they would have won too.
 
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Dr. Octatrack
United Kingdom
Rochdale
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Indeed a very tough game, and you're exactly right about always being 1 point short!
I tend to play as Tovak, his skills seem easier to deal with and he's a good all-rounder. I've never really had much luck with Arythea.
Tips- (its been a while since I played but off the top of my head-)

1. Kill as many orcs as you can early on, get a couple of level ups.
2. Get additional movement early on.
3. Don't (or very rarely) backtrack, no matter how tempting the rewards may seem!
4. Take risks with dungeons etc... There is a chance it will greatly benefit you. Also, if you get destroyed you can blame the Gorgon/Minotaur/Werewolf, rather than your lack of skill
5. Don't go mental collecting spells, they can really clog up your deck and many are very situational.
6. Try to stick to a 'theme' if possible. For example if there is a chance to collect cards with 'siege attack', go for them. Then later on in the game you'll have a better idea of what options you have regarding locations on the map.

It took me a while before I defeated both cities, so if you're struggling after 5 games, then your doing OK as far as I'm concerned.
Keep it up!
 
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Kasper Lauest
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Helsinge
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The game is challenging, but beating a regular solo 5/8 city setup is definitely doable. I have not lost a solo conquest since my first play, where I failed miserably. Since then I've beaten the solo conquest some 40 times in a row.

Remember that there are spell cards that will virtually win you the game. Wings Of Night or the base game version of the artifact Banner Of Fear can both almost outright win you the game.

Example with Wings Of Night. Be sure to get some movement cards and a certain way to obtain black mana when needed. Take down the first city on the second night by using Wings Of Night (you need a white and black mana for this) and some movement points. Now all except magic resilient creatures are harmless and you can take them out if you have a few decent units, skills and cards. You don't need a whole bunch of spells/artifacts for this. After you have taken the first city, the second usually is much easier. You have a whole day and a night to do this and you might not need Wings Of Night this time around, but if you do, you just use it similarly on the third night.
 
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The One
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Fruit Eating Bear wrote:
Whatever I need to do, I'm always one point short.


I know that feeling >> A solo conquest with Tovak, after a long break

What i will say is that whatever this game throws at me I've never finished a game wishing I'd played something else, it really is that good.
 
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Robyn Z
United States
Worcester
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Yup lost another one last night.

But i did figure out something.
Vlaada Chvátil has a group of people he pays off to go onto forums about Mage Knight and say they have beaten the game. So when someone like me looks to buy the game they have hope they can beat it. I think this is akin to the lottery like PowerBall. Yeah they say some one wins but it never seems to be anyone you know.

Yes! Vlaada Chvátil I figured out your evil scheme and i have exposed you!

P.S.
But maybe if i play one more time i might actually destroy a city.
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