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Magic Realm» Forums » General

Subject: Should I dare to launch this next gaming weekend? rss

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Red Sedenya
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I am a longterm lurker and just recently started to really dig myself into MR (which I originally bought 1987, but never got to actually play it).

Having a quarterly gaming weekend with 5 friends, I had the spontaneous idea of bringing MR to the table.

I already tried first steps last with one of the group last Monday and it went much more smoothly than I had feared.
Granted - especially he had no real clue of what to do, but rules-wise it was not the brain-bleeder I was expecting (we were moving, hiding, fighting, no hiring or magic).

So my question is: I have 10 days to go and plenty of time to read and prepare the game for 4 newbies and the guy from Monday - should I dare it?
Or would it be better to start on my own, slowly integrating new players along the way? Main drawback for the soft approach would be the immense timespan this could take - we are talking years here...

Any experience-based advice is really appreciated...

Cheers,
Stefan
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Hector Flores
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The startup cost will be difficult - but it players are bought in then I don't see any reasons why it won't work in the longrun to just get going. You need to make sure you have a mastery of the rules yourself though or risk your players losing faith in your guidance and looking up rules themselves (something they should do at some point - but not waste time doing early on).

I'd advise running a game with each person (or two people) individually first - then bring the group together.

Best of luck!
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Todd Pytel
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galvornman wrote:
I'd advise running a game with each person (or two people) individually first - then bring the group together.

I agree. A 6p game is going to have a lot going on, and with that many players at least a couple will need to play characters that aren't so newbie-friendly. You want all (or at least most) of the players to know the basics and be committed to the game. I don't think you need a comprehensive training regime set up to teach every situation before you all get together unless that's the way your group prefers to learn, but throwing 4 newbies into a 6p game cold sounds like a recipe for a slog of a game.
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Quantum Jack
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Dont drop them on it cold. You have 10 days, so get them to read the book of learning tutorial (at least 2 chapters) before the big day.
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GodRob
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My princess is not in another castle.
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It's a great idea to leave out Native combat. Just treat them as shopkeepers, pretty much the same as the Visitors.

Don't be too wary of magic, especially if your players really want to try one of the magic characters. It sounds like you've got a good grasp on the major aspects of the game so magic shouldn't be too difficult.

Feel free to ask questions here, even during the game. Chances are that someone will answer quickly.

I can't emphasize enough: Don't be afraid to play the game wrong! It will still be fun and memorable.
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Serious Gamer
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A 6 player game, where no one has played the game before? Good luck, you're going to need it.

But in all seriousness, the best way to get this to work is to not use magic characters. Do that, then you won't have to throw in any spells during setup, and can skip spell learning for characters who don't rely on spells that often, like the White Knight or Woods Girl. That will save on setup time and make the game less complex.

The game as a whole I don't find to be too complicated, until you get to combat. You need to practice combat before attempting to play a full game session with other players. Start simply, with a one on one fight, with a character vs. any monster. Then make it vs. a native with a horse. Then 2 monsters. 3 monsters. An entire goblin group. Then with your own hired natives vs. a group of monsters. You vs. a native group. You and your hired natives vs. another native group. But skip the spell casting part of combat, since no magic for the first game.

Get some basics of combat down, and the rest shouldn't be too difficult. If you can learn combat, the rest is a cakewalk.

Oh, right, and get these player aids, which will help immensely:
Combat Flowchart
Quick Reference Cards

I never play without them.

Finally, make sure you have the 3.1 rules for reference. You don't need to learn the game by reading through that, but they are extremely valuable for rules reference, especially since the Combat Flowchart references them.

Edit: Oh, and I would also recommend leaving out the visitors, campaigns, and mission chits. Trust me, you're likely not going to encounter them even if you did include them in the game, and no one really likes the campaign system.
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Richard Mitchell
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I don't see any reason not to bring your group in and start playing.

If they can read over some of the character-play sections in The Book of Learning ahead of time ... maybe a given "assigned" character - to familiarize themselves with a bit of gameplay.

Granted if you drop a few of the chunks of rules, for instance magic, and native combat that will make things a bit easier. However at the end of the day if you are contemplating playing magic realm you're an experienced war gamer. There is a bit of hype about the complexity of the game and that is part of what makes it truly an amazing smooth running game. In short if your gamers are experienced, enjoy war gaming and rpg style games then viola .... the perfect game is at hand!


Good luck hope it runs smoothly!

EDIT: Ive only recently delved into the forums here myself - tons of great game support to be found here! Been playing Magic realm since the 9th grade, over 30 years. The resources here would've been nice back in the 80's
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Red Sedenya
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Great and helpful comments so far - thanks so much!

Opinions seems to vary quite a bit, of what I should throw at my players and what not.

Re-reading the rules this morning I have the feeling that Magic is much more easy to implement than Hiring, as followers make combat a really long and complicated affair, magic not so.

Is this conclusion valid or would you suggest following the path of hire first, magic second? Any issues when skipping hiring for a game with magic?

Thanks a lot again - looking forward for your comments!

Stefan
 
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Red Sedenya
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@Todd:
That were exactly my thoughts - leaving natives passive (no hire) and adding magic as option.

Are there any characters you would rather avoid?
 
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Todd Pytel
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It's been too long since I've played to offer specific character advice - others here can provide better guidance. But hiring natives is an important aspect of the game - a lot of characters want that as an option, whereas magic tends to be important to only a few of them and can easily be ignored by others. I posted a Druid session here long ago that made heavy use of natives and I know the Captain likes them. But they definitely add a ton of complexity to combat. I guess I'd suggest that you play some solo runs and try to get the hired native rules down for yourself so that you can help out other players if necessary.
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Hector Flores
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Shodan71 wrote:

Is this conclusion valid or would you suggest following the path of hire first, magic second? Any issues when skipping hiring for a game with magic?
Stefan


I don't think magic is hard - I think what is hard is playing a primarily magic-using character. Although powerful - they tend to be high-risk/high-reward characters (with the Magician and Wizard being the exceptions in my mind that is high-risk/low-reward). For first time players - preparing magic chits, managing spells, spell timing, alerting magic chits, color magic, etc., can be a bit overwhelming.

That said, it's simple enough to give the White Knight his Make Whole and the Woods Girl 'Control Bats' with some explicit instructions to the player:

White Knight Instructions: You can only cast that spell during the evening combat rounds if the chit is ready (not fatigued), you aren't fighting anyone, and you are in the Chapel.

Woods Girl Instructions: You can only cast your spell if there are bats in your clearing on the 7th day of the week and your chit is either alerted or you are hidden and the chit is ready (not fatigued).

(there are other details that may be at stake in both cases - like other denizens on the characters' sheets or the presence of color magic from items, but that's the jist of it).
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Todd Pytel
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galvornman wrote:
I don't think magic is hard - I think what is hard is playing a primarily magic-using character.

I agree. The magic rules themselves are less complex than the hired native combat rules. But playing a magic-focused character requires a lot of thinking about timing and sequencing when planning your turn, and that's hard for new players. Hired native combat is gnarly, but you can at least plan your day much like you would solo and just work out the details once you get into combat.

I don't remember every character's details, but for ones like the White Knight and the Woods Girl magic has such a small impact on their strategy that I would just leave it out entirely for a first game. They can do perfectly well without ever casting a spell, and in many games wouldn't end up casting one even if the player knows the rules.
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Richard Mitchell
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tppytel wrote:
galvornman wrote:
I don't think magic is hard - I think what is hard is playing a primarily magic-using character.

I agree. The magic rules themselves are less complex than the hired native combat rules. But playing a magic-focused character requires a lot of thinking about timing and sequencing when planning your turn, and that's hard for new players. Hired native combat is gnarly, but you can at least plan your day much like you would solo and just work out the details once you get into combat.

I don't remember every character's details, but for ones like the White Knight and the Woods Girl magic has such a small impact on their strategy that I would just leave it out entirely for a first game. They can do perfectly well without ever casting a spell, and in many games wouldn't end up casting one even if the player knows the rules.


I also agree. None of the rules are really overwhelming but there are MANY "chunks" of rules and some omissions can make new players have an easier time of it. If there are six of you try Berserker, Dwarf, Amazon, Woodsgirl, White knight, and for the 6th : possibly the Blk knight, swordsman or captain - all three of those characters can dip into the native pool a bit more readily so they lose some umph if not using the Natives. None of these characters are heavy into the magic of spells.

Each of these characters has a nice section in the amazing Book of Learning (ABOL)
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Todd Pytel
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That seems like a good character list. IIRC, the Black Knight is a little simpler to play than the Captain or Swordsman, but the difference isn't huge. Make sure the Dwarf player knows that he can team up with another character using Follow.
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