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Subject: Mage Knight or Runewars? rss

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Gold Sirius
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I want to buy an epic fantasy board game with a modular board for me and my girlfriend to play, and I've been hesitating between Mage Knight and Runewars.

I am tempted by Runewars because of the crazy amount of miniatures, but Mage Knight is ranked so incredibly high, it's hard to ignore. We would usually play just the two of us. BGG says RuneWars is best played with 4 players, so...

Also, I heard there was luck involved in Runewars (which I'm usually not fond of but can tolerate when the winner is not the result of pure chance), so this aspect gets minus points, but I'm not sure about how Mage Knight works.

Theme-wise, Runewars is definitely more appealing.
It also only has one expansion (good), while Mage Knight has quite a few?

Anyhow, who here has played both and can give me pointers or just their opinion on which they like best and why?

(Oh, and yes, my local game shop still has a big box copy, and it's only 10$ or so more expensive than Mage Knight, so that's not an issue.)

Thanks!
 
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Wayne Schulatz
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I own both and I love both. For me, they feel very different and one would never replace the other. I'd honestly just watch a play through or two... maybe read a few reviews, and pick one. Have your girlfriend do the same and make the decision together.
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Roger Reisinger
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Completely different games, they cant be compared.

If you want an rpg style adventure game where your hand of cards determines your move/ fight/ hire units capability.. choose Mage Knight.

If you want a fantasy wargame where you control a race and have some empire building, send adventurers off to find artifacts, and win by controlling those artifacts.. choose Runewars.

Edit: typos.
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John Culp
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Both have luck, Mage knight is driven by card drawn from a deck, and has deck building as a large piece of the game. Both work well with two players, rune wars is better @ 3&4 than Mage knight is, while Mage knight can also play solo.

Neither of the games need expansions. Both games expansions are very good.

But really they are very different games, other than being generic fantasy. Runewars is a dudes on a map competitive army game. Mage knight is a more of a single character adventure game, that. You can play competitive or coop with other players. Both very good games and worth playing. I'd say Mage knight is more "unique" if that matters. And so if I had to choose I'd choose Mage knight, but only because I have other games that are close enough to scratch the same itch as runewars. Other than that....I own both and own expansions for both. Decision is really more about what type of game you are looking for rather than the quality of game.
 
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Ron
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I'd say Mage Knight is more on the Euro side, while Runewars is pure Ameritrash.

If it helps, I'm indifferent at Mage Knight (played it once, but wasn't impressed), but I love Runewars. OTOH, I guess Mage Knight plays better with only two players.
 
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Andrei
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I have rated both of these games a 10 here on BGG. So get both!

Mage Knight is for 1-2 players, Runewars for 3-4 players.
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jamuki (Jueguetistorias)
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coroner wrote:
I have rated both of these games a 10 here on BGG. So get both!

Mage Knight is for 1-2 players, Runewars for 3-4 players.


Interesting. I've played Runewars a few times, and I felt that it went bad with 3 players, good with 2 and 4 players. Did your group not experience any stalemate with 3 players, where nobody wants to attack anybody else, to not give the 3 player an opening?
 
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aris da
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the answer is pretty simple if its an rpg u are looking get mage knight if u want a strategy game get runewars if u just want a 2 player game runewars doesnt play that good with 2 players but u should always keep in mind that mage knight is possibly the most difficult board game....
 
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Thorsten Schröder
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As much as I love runewars I find it much easier to bring mageknight to the table.
Perhaps I have to play runewars mor often but the set up time is very very long. They tried to incorporate set up into the game (it's the first part of playing) but tbh it's not very much fun for my players (they are much happier when I present them with a full set up landscape)

Since I have bags for my Mageknight tokens and don't have to shuffle and stack them, the setup is much simpler and we can start to play more quickly. So it gets played more often.
 
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Marcin 'Wis' Wisthal
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I like to play 2p Runewars more than 3p. One important (for me) home-rule - we play with 5 map tiles instead of 4.

The key for your decision IMO should be how you both enjoy the competition. Runewars is more or less a deathmatch, in Mage Knight you will have race for VPs without fighting each other (AKA parallel solitaire). Both are good games, take the one that suits you.
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Hugh Wyeth
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wisek wrote:
I like to play 2p Runewars more than 3p. One important (for me) home-rule - we play with 5 map tiles instead of 4.

The key for your decision IMO should be how you both enjoy the competition. Runewars is more or less a deathmatch, in Mage Knight you will have race for VPs without fighting each other (AKA parallel solitaire:)). Both are good games, take the one that suits you.


Sounds like a good house rule, though there is something challenging about the claustrophobic 2p standard map size.

Runewars is my favourite game, so I'm biased, but it provides a whole lot of game in the box and there's so many aspects to it which will take a while to master.
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Jonathan Berry
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I can;t offer any insight to MageKnight but I can tell you Runewars is an amazing game. I've never played it two players but I think it would work fine with 2. I think the game scales very well. I've played it 3 player and 4 player.

Recently I've played it 3 player with my two daughters and I think it works fine with 3. Our last game was tense with a lot of battles between the 3 of us. I didn't think my youngest was doing that well but in the end she won. She played a tactics or quest card that allowed her hero to place a stronghold and she p;laced it deep behind her sisters lines and before big sister could react she was able to recruit a good sized force that wreak havoc and ultimately she was able to secure the win. I think this game offers a lot of paths and factors to victory. And we just have the base game at this point.

And if you can still get the big box then even better. I love the 3d mountains and so glad I have them. You can download the revised edition rules off FFG.

Runewars is money well spent!
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Scott Lewis
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Both games are fun. Runewars is excellent with any number of players - most of my plays have been with 2 players, but it plays very well with 3 and 4. Yes, even with 3 - while there COULD be a "gang up" happening, it's very rarely in anyone's interest to do that unless the target is about to win, and even then, if the could-be winner is smart, there are things he can do to weather the assault.

Mage Knight is a good adventure game. Honestly, I don't like playing it anything other than Solo. If the two players aren't reasonably the same skill level, the "worse" player will be blown away every time. While that can be true at any game, Mage Knight is extremely unforgiving to mistakes, whereas Runewars has more opportunities to bounce back. (I do think the better player will win at Runewars far more often than not, but it won't be a blowout, no chance to come back victory).

I may occasionally play MK with 2 players, but I would be very hesitant to play it with 3 or more. Downtime with 2 players is already very severe, especially if you have an AP-type player as an opponent. And I really don't like the PVP rules, because again, usually it just helps the person winning grind the person losing into the dirt even further.

I think both games are worth getting. I have Mage Knight more as a solo (or 2-player) adventure game, and Runewars as a more direct conflict oriented game for more players. With 2 players, given the choice, I'd probably lean strongly toward Runewars though.
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Sean D.
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jamuki wrote:
coroner wrote:
I have rated both of these games a 10 here on BGG. So get both!

Mage Knight is for 1-2 players, Runewars for 3-4 players.


Interesting. I've played Runewars a few times, and I felt that it went bad with 3 players, good with 2 and 4 players. Did your group not experience any stalemate with 3 players, where nobody wants to attack anybody else, to not give the 3 player an opening?


I've played many 3 player games of Runewars, they are always bloody backstab-filled competitions from start to finish. They go something like this, one player gets a nice lead and more powerful than the other two, the two gang up on the one, beating him down a bit, inevitably one of the two backstabs the other at an opportune moment and then the original leader attacks either one or both. Whoever is leading is always targetted, so to win a 3 player in my group is pretty awesome, much harder than winning in a 2 or 4 player game. No one complained about it being anything like a stalemate.
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Gold Sirius
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Thank you all for the answers.
I think I will get Runewars first.

But I found the game in its revised edition on Amazon for like 35 $ less than the big box version. Are the 3D mountains really worth that much? Does it add that much to the theme?
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Mark L
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For $35 less the Revised Edition is definitely the way to go. You avoid having to errata the Storm Sorceress ability and the plastic mountains are largely superfluous. The main disadvantage of the Revised Edition, I feel, is that the race sheets are no longer punchboard, but this is not worth the difference of $35.
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Marcin 'Wis' Wisthal
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hughwyeth wrote:
wisek wrote:
I like to play 2p Runewars more than 3p. One important (for me) home-rule - we play with 5 map tiles instead of 4.

Sounds like a good house rule, though there is something challenging about the claustrophobic 2p standard map size.


Thank you. The background of this home rule are possible smaller maps comming with the tiles from BoW. A good tactic/event at the start (reinforcements/gaining neutrals hex etc) and the opponent has no time to prepare. Example - my opponent managed to attack me with 3 hex units at the beginn of the second year.
Smaller maps are also vulnerable to city destruction/desolation. Destroy the only terrain providing 2+ food at the enemys side and in many cases the opponent will give up.
 
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I own both, they can't be compared as they are completely different, I can only share that my wife loves Runewars and we play it a lot, but she dislikes Mage Knight, although I play this one solo, so it is a big plus of MK, if it proves to be a failure at your table.
 
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wisek wrote:
I like to play 2p Runewars more than 3p. One important (for me) home-rule - we play with 5 map tiles instead of 4.

I would actually advise against this, the Runewars expansion adds a problematic 12 tile and it is a good idea to draw one more if this one is selected, but if you always draw 5 and not 4 you may get a map where both players easily get maximum resources which kills most of strategy.

coroner wrote:

Mage Knight is for 1-2 players, Runewars for 3-4 players.

Personally I think Mage Knight can be fun to its maximum 4 (or 5 with expansion) players, it is albeit longer. On the other hand while Runewars plays great 3-4, playing it with two is just right amount of time.
 
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Scott Lewis
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I would never play Mage Knight with more than 2, even though the rules support it. The lag between turns would be excruciating with that many players (and the more players, the more it would be noticed).

While there are a few things you can do during the off turn, they don't come close to offsetting the time you have to wait, and you can't always even plan your turn if there are any hidden tokens or if another player gets in your way.

Mechanically it works, but I would be dying for something else to do during that time. MK isn't a game that's really even that fun to watch someone else taking their turn most of the time.
 
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Thorsten Schröder
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Last time I did'nt play MK solo it was a two player solitaire. We were both so into what we were trying to accomplish that we did not spent much time watching what the other player was doing.
It was a fun gam but although we were playing coop it did not feel like we were playing together.
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Marcin 'Wis' Wisthal
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borsook wrote:
wisek wrote:
I like to play 2p Runewars more than 3p. One important (for me) home-rule - we play with 5 map tiles instead of 4.

I would actually advise against this, the Runewars expansion adds a problematic 12 tile and it is a good idea to draw one more if this one is selected, but if you always draw 5 and not 4 you may get a map where both players easily get maximum resources which kills most of strategy.


I will keep playing it this way . An example from last weekend:

We've got a huge map (18 tiles for 2 players, which is rather a rare situation), but only one tile with 3 food and one with 2 - around 8 food in total. There was plenty of ore (around 11) and not as much wood (around 9). Even in a huge map like this there was one resource type to fight for. Plus - the map was tactically interesting, with two paths between our homelands.
My opponent could ally two giants with a tactic card and get the richest mountains. In a map where we would be 3 hexes away, second year with 4-6 hex units to fight against means sure loss for me - thanks to one tactic card.
Another situation from this game - desolation token placed in the first year. I won the bid (thanks to starting influence), the region with 3 food gets desolated. In a smaller map this could be the only food source around that player - another instant win.

Playing 2p with BoW without this home rule increases chances for a quick victory, if one player gets a good boost (mostly luck based) in the first year and the second player has nobody to ally against him. Been there, won't let this happen again. A newbie to this game could be easily dissapointed with a second year defeat.

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Phil McDonald
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Both. They are very different excellent games. But if I could only keep one it would have to be MK.
 
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sigmazero13 wrote:
I would never play Mage Knight with more than 2, even though the rules support it. The lag between turns would be excruciating with that many players (and the more players, the more it would be noticed).

While there are a few things you can do during the off turn, they don't come close to offsetting the time you have to wait, and you can't always even plan your turn if there are any hidden tokens or if another player gets in your way.

Mechanically it works, but I would be dying for something else to do during that time. MK isn't a game that's really even that fun to watch someone else taking their turn most of the time.


MK with 3 or 4 players is tremendous fun because it adds competition for resources, but I only play it that way using vassal pbem, which removes all AP and downtime.
 
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Phil McDonald
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GoldSirius wrote:
Thank you all for the answers.
I think I will get Runewars first.

But I found the game in its revised edition on Amazon for like 35 $ less than the big box version. Are the 3D mountains really worth that much? Does it add that much to the theme?


No, but I picked up a first edition on ebay cheaper than a second edition one
 
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