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Mage Knight Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: Runaway leader issue in 2p games. rss

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Max M.
Italy
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Hi all,

first of all, I am in love with this game. I feel it's really great and I love almost everything about it.

I have played about 15 games so far, most of which were competitive 2P games. We didn't try PVP yet and I hope this will help me solve the issue I am about to explain.

In competitive games, I feel most times the game is decided in the first few turns. The thing that really makes me unconfortable is that most of the times you get behind without having made any kind of evident mistake. Sometimes even choosing the wrong direction can cost you the game: 2 orcs in the first two tiles, I go left, he goes right,next thing you know he draws a tile perfect to keep on leveling up, I don't (or vice versa, I get something good, he does not).

Bottom line is: after one player gets advantage of some (unforeseeable) factors (new tile, right enemy drawn etc.) it's so damn difficult (if not almost impossibile) for the player who is behind to recover.

I am really hoping PVP can fix this issue, even though I fear it could favor the runaway leader even more.

What about you guys? I read some threads on BGG but I couldn't get a definitive answer: do you feel this game suffers that much from a runaway leader problem? Did you find a solution? Does using PVP help in that regard? Does some expansion mechanic help mitigate that problem (we haven't added LL yet to the mix)? Did you use a house rule?


I am really looking forward to your answers, you guys are certainly much more experienced at this game than I am!

Best regards,
Max

 
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Erich Schneider
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The Lost Legion expansion has a section on pages 12-13 of its rulebook on "Slowing Down the Leader", with several options for slowing down runaway leaders. None requires any special LL components. Perhaps one of them will be to your liking.
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Ben Kyo
Japan
Suita
Osaka
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This is a problem with MK, yes, and it is most evident with tile draw, as you describe.

Some of the variants may help, but I've not played consistently enough with them to be sure.

I think PvP does help a little. Mainly in the opening round or two, the player who can get to a juicy target first has to weigh the risk involved in becoming a juicy target after levelling. That might mean taking a block-based skill or AA, for example, which might mean their snowball starts rolling later than it otherwise would.

That's all very situational though, and I think the "best" solution in a two player game may just be to resign if you think it has become unwinnable. I've never done so, but if you need the possibility of winning to enjoy the game, or if PvP has just left you with hand size +3 wounds it's a good option.
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David desJardins
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No, I don't think so. Not in the standard "competitive" scenarios. Often I find that someone is clearly ahead (e.g., because they drew a good tile for their explore) and then the next round they fall back a lot (e.g., because they draw a bad tile for their explore!).

I do think adding PvP helps somewhat with what you're asking about. Not because it particularly favors the person who's behind, I don't think it automatically helps them catch up, but just because it can have such a big effect on the game, and is hard to predict (1 extra point of Attack or Block can make a huge difference) that it creates an additional reason for the game to not proceed in a completely predictable way.
 
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Magnesi
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I do agree with the runaway problem in MK. It doesn't only happens in 2 players game but also with other number of players. Sometimes you enter a dungeon in the first turn, draw the only enemy you couldn't beat, and it's almost game over. In my group, in these cases the player who's clearly behind resigns and we play again. However, in my experience, the gap isn't usually big until round 3 or so, and sound strategy has, at least, as much impact as luck.

The thing is that the player who is behind should be taking more risks. So, let's say you're in a monastery. If the chances of winning a random purple are 90%, you'll burn nomatter what. What about a 75%? Well, it depends on who's the leader and for which margin... In this way, after taking more risks than the leader, the other player may catch him if he's lucky, or be left behind without any chances after a couple of rounds. However, if he plays safe, he has no chances from the beginning!

Weighting who is winning and how much risks to take is a funny and very difficult part of the game. I recently moderate a 1 vs Team game, and, in some cases, both parties though they were losing. At the end, it's an incomplete information game, so you'd never know for sure.

About PvP, I agree that it may mitigate the problem in some ways. But notice that it can also exacerbate it: if you draw a bad hand when your opponent is about to attack you, it's game over. So, if you add PvP, just keep in mind that one single combat can decide the game. Some people like that, some people hate it.
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Max M.
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Thank you all for your answers.

I see it is a somewhat perceived issue by some of you in a competitive play.

I downloaded the LL manual and read that paragraph on "Slowing down the leader", it seems interesting, has any of you tried some of the variants proposed?

We'll definitely try adding PVP in the future, we'll see if things get better or worse.

Thank you all again, more suggestions are welcome.

Regards,
Max

 
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Ben Kyo
Japan
Suita
Osaka
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I played a four player game with ghosts and mana seals, and a couple of games with mana seals and different numbers of players.

I honestly don't know whether or not they made much difference. Light(?) mana seals alone definitely don't make much of a difference. I think the game with ghosts and mana seals is actually in the session reports somewhere - it's the one I posted with annotated maps.

I'd need to play a lot more two-player games with combinations of those variants to really come to a conclusion, but I've never really felt the need. Sometimes you get lucky early, sometimes you get unlucky early, either way I enjoy the games "as is", and the variants all feel bolted on in one way or another.
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