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Subject: Worth it for MK owners? IMO, no. rss

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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I played through one round and then packed it up. Here's the thing... Mage Knight is one of my all-time favorite games, and I am a big Star Trek fan. And if you like Star Trek and want a great game with that theme, and don't already have Mage Knight, then you should definitely get this. The system does work quite well within a Star Trek context. But if you already have Mage Knight and intend to keep that, then you really don't need this.

I had read about there being some differences between this and Mage Knight, and there are several things, but it turns out they are all quite minor. In the grand scheme of things, it is the base game of Mage Knight. What made me pack it up is that I didn't feel like it was worth the effort to relearn what all of the different locations and details are, especially if I plan to keep Mage Knight (which I do).

With some of the details being just a little different, that turns out to make it more annoying... You think you know what the analogs are for the similar things in Mage Knight, but then, ah, there's some little element that's just a little bit different. I don't want to bother having to keep all of that straight, or to confuse myself between this and MK. I'd rather just keep my brain tuned in to what I already know as far as how to play Mage Knight (which is already enough information to keep stored in my brain).

Also, graphically, the game is decent (for WizKids, the components are quite solid), but the map tiles and the different planets and such are not really very easy to distinguish, which makes it more of a pain to remember which planet is which kind of thing.

So as it turns out, I'd have preferred ST:F to be either a straight-up reskin, or to be much more different from MK than it is. But as it is, there's really no need for me to have this. If you have and intend to keep Mage Knight, and simply must also have a Star Trek themed MK, and don't mind keeping the differences straight between the two, then by all means, pick this up. But otherwise, I'd recommend against it.

I will keep an eye on any expansions, and if there is something significantly different included, then I may pick this up again.
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Erv Walter
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I totally understand and I agree that you don't need both Mage Knight and ST:F.

And it's definitely slightly frustrating that things are just a little bit different. That means you have to check everything and not assume. It would help if there were a comprehensive page that described every difference. The best I have seen is the Box of Delights summary here: http://www.boxofdelights.net/star-trek-frontiers/ It would be nice to have a single page PDF or something that laid everything out.

All that said, I am taking the opposite approach as you. I am packing up Mage Knight and will be selling it at my local FLGS on consignment. Star Trek: Frontiers is the one I will be keeping simply because I like the theme more, I like how the mechanics fit with the theme more, and I like the little changes they made. Because of that, I'm willing to take the time to learn relearn how to play, so to speak.

WHich version a person keeps will depend on how much they like each theme, how much they care about the expansion content from Mage Knight, and how willing they are to invest the time to relearn the subtle differences.
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Ira Fay
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If a designer gets to make several little changes, don't all those little changed lead to a better game? Are the changes purely thematic, or are they balance related?
 
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David desJardins
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ira212 wrote:
If a designer gets to make several little changes, don't all those little changed lead to a better game?


Only if the first designer did a bad job.
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Ira Fay
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DaviddesJ wrote:
ira212 wrote:
If a designer gets to make several little changes, don't all those little changed lead to a better game?


Only if the first designer did a bad job.

I think it's almost the opposite. Good designers are always learning and striving to improve. I think it would actually be a bad designer who couldn't find any ways to improve a game years after initial release and lots of player feedback!
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Nathaniel Chambers
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ira212 wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
ira212 wrote:
If a designer gets to make several little changes, don't all those little changed lead to a better game?


Only if the first designer did a bad job.

I think it's almost the opposite. Good designers are always learning and striving to improve. I think it would actually be a bad designer who couldn't find any ways to improve a game years after initial release and lots of player feedback!


I disagree, but that's okay.

I think the thing I like most about a good board game is nothing needs to be changed. A new game can be made, from ideas sprung forth from the first (which is what I wish this was). But I think if it was a really great board game, which Mage Knight was, then no, there isn't much need for several little changes. I would love to have seen what amounted to a stand alone expansion with a very different take, keeping the core elements. Remove some, add some, but not changing any (which is what leads to confusion, when you have lots of little rule differences, instead of straight up additions or removals). I thought the removal of the Artifact deck was interesting, but I was waiting to hear what was added. It sounds like mostly stuff was just removed and a few new cards were added.

I dunno, to each their own. Some games need fixing. Others don't. This one didn't need fixing. I just wanted more Mage Knight, and was happy to see more, but sad it was just more of mostly the same instead of more as in new content.

I hope it does well though! There's definitely room for two similar games. I know the fantasy theme kills it for some people.
 
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James J

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Wow, with all the debate around whether this is just a reskin or if the differences are enough to make it a new experience, I never once considered the OP's point that minor differences can lead to some real frustration. I have a hard enough time re-learning MK on the rare occasions it makes it to the table (I still love it). I can easily see myself having some memory bleed when trying to keep the two games separate. Still on the fence about this one. But I'm glad others are enjoying it.
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trevor

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Yeah i had intentions on keeping both, but after one playthrough I think I'll trade it and keep MK. They are virtually identical games, so to me it comes down to if you like Star Trek or high fantasy more, otherwise there is really almost zero difference between the games and not worth keeping both.
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Robert Leonhard
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I love 'em both and intend to keep both. For me they seem different, but I usually have an eye more for thematic stuff rather than the mechanic that underlies the theme. Really enjoying ST:F.
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Brandon Held
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ira212 wrote:
If a designer gets to make several little changes, don't all those little changed lead to a better game? Are the changes purely thematic, or are they balance related?


I think the balance of the game is thrown off in comparison to Mage Knight-I'm finding it much too easy.
 
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Jack Francisco
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Sounds like these differences are comparable to the Brass/Age of Industry differences. I learned and played Age of Industry and never wanted to be confused by the differences in Brass.
 
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W. Cracker
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Robert Leonhard wrote:
I love 'em both and intend to keep both. For me they seem different, but I usually have an eye more for thematic stuff rather than the mechanic that underlies the theme. Really enjoying ST:F.


Euros (my fave) tend to repeat the same mechanisms with different themes and the difference in theming makes it a different game for me. Just ordered STF tonight and I'm hoping this applies here as well.
 
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Jonathan
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ira212 wrote:
If a designer gets to make several little changes, don't all those little changed lead to a better game? Are the changes purely thematic, or are they balance related?


How could this be remotely true? You could just as easily say that those little tweaks have made the game worse.

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James J

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JJWonderboy wrote:
ira212 wrote:
If a designer gets to make several little changes, don't all those little changed lead to a better game? Are the changes purely thematic, or are they balance related?


How could this be remotely true? You could just as easily say that those little tweaks have made the game worse.



It could be true if it were the same designer. Seems when they get a crack at a new edition/printing, they try to incorporate small ideas and balances that they've picked up after the game has been in the wild and getting feedback for a while.

In this case, it's a new designer who is making the changes potentially to improve the game or to simply fit the new theme...maybe both. So it's more of a stretch to say they will automatically result in a better game.
 
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It increases its appeal to me as I don't own mage knight , wanted it a long time but decided to wait and see what frontiers was like. The star trek theme appeals so I have a chance to get a star trek game and mage knight combined seems like a win for me.
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Jonathan
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japester1 wrote:
JJWonderboy wrote:
ira212 wrote:
If a designer gets to make several little changes, don't all those little changed lead to a better game? Are the changes purely thematic, or are they balance related?


How could this be remotely true? You could just as easily say that those little tweaks have made the game worse.



It could be true if it were the same designer. Seems when they get a crack at a new edition/printing, they try to incorporate small ideas and balances that they've picked up after the game has been in the wild and getting feedback for a while.

In this case, it's a new designer who is making the changes potentially to improve the game or to simply fit the new theme...maybe both. So it's more of a stretch to say they will automatically result in a better game.


Exactly. In my opinion, Vlaada is one of the best designers in the business. He designed this game with the Mage Knight theme in mind. No dissing the other designer, but I'm assuming his task was to "tweak" as little as possible (why mess with awesomeness) to fit with the Star Trek brand. With that in mind, I'd be surprised if it was better.

I'm no fan of WizKids (if it wasn't for Vlaada creating MK I'd probably go nowhere near them). I think they've seen Fantasy Flight take their Descent mechanics and reimplement to the Star Wars brand and thought, "hey, we can do that too. We have Star Trek and a great game in MK. Do as little work as possible and... Voila!"

Sorry, WizKids, but it doesn't wash with this particular gamer (for what it's worth).
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jay Avni
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After playing through a first scenario, I have the following comments:

1) There are a handful of minor rule changes (and one major: away parties) that were done not so much to improve the game but to thematically integrate into the Star Trek universe. They work well within the context of the theme, and time will tell if I agree within the context of gameplay. I like them so far but haven't played enough to have a strong opinion.

2) The board artwork is clumsy. That's not to say it's bad; it's just that in MK, it was very easy to discern the difference between a keep, a mage tower, a monster lair, etc. In ST:F, the majority of locations are planets (i.e., colored circles) where you need a reference to tell which is which.

3) Component quality is reasonable, but inferior to MK. If you're a bit whore, you're going to be disappointed. As long as they hold up over time, this isn't a big concern of mine.

There's room on my shelves (not really, but I pretend) for both games right now.

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