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Marc B
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Prelude
(I posted this in the 1 Player Guild , and thought it could have a home here.)

I played Mage Knight for the first time in about 4 months last weekend (settling into a new country means 4 hour solo games are lower on the priority list). I did not do too well, and it bothered me a bit, so I vowed to crack it open again this weekend to give it another shot.

After an absolutely crushing defeat in the Solo Conquest (25 Fame, 15 wounds taken), I resolved that it was impossible to score 200 Fame. I can barely crack 100, and there are people who can score over 200 almost every time!

To convince myself it was impossibly, I did a bit of analysis, looking at the Fame value of different enemies, coming to the conclusion that you would have to go to about 1/3 of every revealed location and defeat those enemies, which would only garner you about 170-180 Fame, meaning you would have to also finish a round early to even have a sniff at 200. It's impossible!

If nothing else, I like the game, and I want to get better, but I've always found my strategy to be a bit...scattered. I resolved to try again today, and log my progress so I have some idea as to what works and what will leave me with 15 wounds and a massively bruised ego. So, let's begin...


Day 1: Rocket Mana (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long Long Time)

A dice roll determined that I would be Goldyx, no complaints, as I've had some success with him in the past. I'm playing the Solo Conquest, with the Cities at levels 5 & 8 (basic, I know).

I started my journey westward, moving 4 spaces to land in a glade, which I have underestimated in the past. I stopped there and killed a marauding orc. I may have taken a wound (or 3) from the orc, so the glade was a good choice, and the Gold mana crystal I took on my next turn would be helpful in future turns. In fact, I liked it so much, I stayed another turn and healed again (I drew Tranquility, so I was able to get rid of all those pesky flesh Wounds). I then set off for the Ancient Ruins next door, turning 3 Gold Mana into 3 Green Mana and sacrifing them at the altar for 7 Fame.

I then revealed 2 new tiles, and moved to a newly revealed Monastery, where I recruited some unsuspecting Red Cape Monks. Aren't I friendly?

Fame: 15. 4 Tiles Revealed.

(All my haul from levelling up/recruiting is shown in the photos)



Night 1: Burning Down the House (Of Worship)

There were no great units at the Monastery, so I purchased an Advanced Action (Crystal Mastery).

I promptly thanked the Monastery for their generosity by burning it down.

I don't remember if I used the Red Cape Monks, but I hope for their conscience that I didn't. I took the Ruby Ring Artifact, giving me even more mana (a lot of the advice in the forums always suggests getting mana early, and that has been my downfall. Plus I saw a need for the Red mana in my next couple turns). I revealed some more tiles and killed another Orc, somewhat redeeming myself for that whole Monastery fiasco. I then drew a final all with nothing but movement, including Agility (turn movement into Attack).

With my 16 Movement, I made my way to a Mage Tower and took it down easily, although I had to sacrifice my Red Cape Monks (sorry!). I took Chill as my spell.

Fame: 29, 6 Tiles Revealed.



Day 2: Before He Cheats (at Mage Knight)

Things are going great for me; I had estimated that I should get at least 10 Fame a Round for the first 4 rounds to be successful, and I'm already at 29, so I'm doing great!

I recruited some Illusionists at my newly-possessed Mage Tower.

Then disaster struck.

While I was doing bookkeeping between turns, I saw a Tovak symbol on one of my cards. How many cards does the Dummy have?

Oh. Only 15.

I accidentally had Tovak's "Swiftness card" in my deck, which means I had 2 extra movement in each of the first 2 rounds. In the first round it may have helped me with some movement, but I know that it wasn't that helpful in Round 2, since it came up in my 16 Movement turn, and I had 3 movement left over after defeating the enemy. So hopefully it only had a small effect.

But still. I resolved to make it up by spending 2 extra movement to reveal tiles. Which I promptly forgot about until much later. So rest assured, I did make up for it by **SPOILER** using 4 movement to reveal each of the City tiles. Anyway...

I went to another Ruin and sacrificed White Crystals at this altar for 7 Fame, which levelled me up again. I took Pathfinding as an Advanced Action, as I decided I was going to stockpile movement in this game. I then moved to a Keep and attacked it, inefficiently, as I had to use a Spell sideways to beat it.

I drew lots of movement my next turn with Agility again, but there was nothing to attack, so I just removed lots and revealed tiles. The next turn, I attacked a Mage Tower and beat it, taking another movement-friendly card (Space-Bending/Time-Bending), where I ended my round.

Fame: 45. Revealed all Green tiles and 2 Core tiles, but no City tiles yet.



Night 2: We Built This City (On Draconum and Time-Travel)

I recruited some Ice Golems at the Mage Tower, then revealed the stupid Red City, with it's stupid Draconum surrounding it. I killed one of my Draconum brethren to make it easier to get in when I decided to do so.

I drew lots of movement, and didn't want anything to do with that Red City and it's remaining Draconum, so I took a shot revealing the other city, which was the Green City, with it's stupid Orcs surrounding it. I killed one of the Orcs, then used the nighttime effect of the Time Bending spell to take the same turn twice, gaining lots and lots of mana crystals.

I drew my favourite card (Agility) again with lots of movement, giving me the chance to attack the Red City. My units and I all had to take Wounds, but my Resistance Break skill (-1 Armour for all resistances) allowed me to defeat the City! I levelled up again as well, and decided to call it a day there.

Fame: 74. One City defeated.



Day 3: Where Did You Sleep Last Night? (I didn't. Mage Knights don't sleep, apparently).

I had defeated one city, and was within striking distance of the 2nd city, all with 2 full rounds to go! And I get to draw 8 cards! Let's do this!

I drew 2 wounds.

So I rested and got rid of those.

I then used lots of influence (playing 3 cards sideways) to take an Altem Mage; it's Cold Fire ability is great, but I can use any attack as Siege attack? Yes please! I then drew Tranquility, so stayed in the City to heal, although that was 3 turns in the City, so I needed to get a move on.

I had lots of good cards (including attack cards), but I didnt' have enough to defeat the Green City. I knew that I would need a combination of teh Altem Mage's Black Mana Siege ability and my Agility card to defeat it, since it had 3(!!!) enemies with the Paralyze ability, all with attack values of 6 (that's 18 separate block!). I attacked an Ancient Ruin next door instead, taking an artifact (Banner of Courage) while I was at it.

I made my way to the Green City next and prepared for my nighttime attack.

Fame: 87.



Night 3: Paint It Black ("It" being Mana)

I moved over to a Glade to heal and get that desperately needed Black Mana token. I then drew two cards that give Crystals (Blood Ritual and Crystallize), and had Time-Bending as a spell again! So I time-travelled again and took even more mana crystals.

(That's one thing I did much better this game. In my recent games, I've never had more than 3 Mana Crystals. At this point in the game, I had 12 Mana Crystals in my Inventory).

I spent a good part of this turn spinning my wheels, hoarding my Movement while waiting for that one card, and finally, I drew it.

Agility.

I combined the Altem Mages ability with Agility to use 16 17 19 Siege Attack, taking down the 3 Paralyze enemies (thank goodness none of them had Physical Resistance), and simply blocked the other enemy.



I was able to draw a fresh hand for the final enemy, and had enough to fully attack and block it, claiming the 2nd city, and victory!

The dummy deck ran out at this point, so, knowing I had no bonus points there, I simply moved to the Glade next door and healed 1. And with that, victory was mine!




My Haul



Defeated Enemies



Here's the rundown of my score (with ratings out of for usefulness):

Spells
Chill/Lethal Chill:
Used for a single combat, but had to use sideways at one point. Situation-dependent.
Space Bending/Time Bending
Used twice, in turns where I had lots of Mana-generating abilities, so I
must have acquired 4-6 extra crystals from this.

Advanced Actions
Agility:
I know I said it's only out of 3 stars, but I don't care. This one card was the reason I won.
Blood Ritual:
I only used this one once, and with the Ruby Ring, it became redundant.
Crystal Mastery:
Ensured I had a steady upkeep of Mana, although it just made me Mana richer, and didn't always provide the Mana I needed. Both Basic and Powered action were used.
Pathfinding:
Took to synergize with Agility. Useful in that regard, but with Goldyx' "Flight" ability, it's a bit redundant. Still found a use for it though.
Song of Wind:
Again, tried to synergize with Agility. Think I did once, and used it's ability once when I was on a Core Tile.

Artifacts:

Ruby Ring:
Comboed this with Time-bending to get lots and lots of Red Mana Crystals.
Banner of Courage:star:
Took it late, but allowed me to get 3 uses out of my Altem Mages in the last 2 Rounds, including the final city assault.

Units

Red Cape Monks:
Used them once, and they died like 2 turns later
Illusionists:
I used them once to Influence, and they took a wound for me, so I'll give them one.
Ice Golems:
They gave me a powerful attack once, then took a wound.
Altem Mages:
That Siege Attack...

Conquerer: 2 Mage Towers, a Monastery and a Keep
Adventurer: 3 Ancient Ruins
Beating: 3 Wounds at the End.

Total: 181 Fame.

So I guess that's how you get (close to) 200 Fame.

So, what went well, and what can be better:


- Got lots of Fame early. That first movement to the Glade was critical for me, since I levelled up early, and had a good supply of Mana (although in retrospect, they are tokens, not [i]crystals[i], so it should not have been as easy as it was)
- Synergizing with Agility. I had lots and lots of movement cards and skills, which allowed me to move easily, but also use that extra movement for attack. That strategy took a bit of time to come together, but when it did, it worked amazing.


- Spinning my wheels at times, waiting for the right cards to come out.You should play the hand you're given, but when you're waiting to attack a city and need a single card, it's tough. If Agility didn't come up at all in my last Round before the Dummy called it, I would have lost. I needed it, and I was lucky it came up. Need to diversify a bit more.
- Inefficient at times with cards, including using 3 cards (including a spell!) sideways. Need to make sure that cards will always find a use, somehow.
- Poor jobs with units. I never had the max number of units, and never had more than 1 unit who was not wounded.

Now, for the game in general...


thumbsup : I mean, I just spent almost 2 hours writing a report about this game. What more can you ask for in a game? When you struggle, you just want to get better because you know there's something you're missing, something so close to your reach that you know it's brilliant, but you're not sure why or how. Then when you get it, and you get that big score, it just feels great. Which is, I'm sure, why most of us play games, and play solo games at that.

thumbsdown : So...many..rules! There are so many tiny, small rules that you can forget in a game like this, and with all the strategic decisions to make, it's almost too much to think about at times! I forgot to go up +2 on reputation when defeating a Draconum, I always forget you can't use Red/Blue Mana on Fire/Ice resistance monsters (which I hope didn't effect anything for me!), I took Crystals instead of Tokens at a Glade, assigning damage to units...there's just so much going on. It's frustrating.

And until you "get it" , this game is damn frustrating. I can see the complaint about how tough movement is, and constantly optimizing your hand. It's a fun puzzle, but when it doesn't go your way, man does it suck.
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Carsten Jorgensen
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Forgot to add, that it was a great session report .


I also hope you didn't use the Red Cape Monks when attacking the Monastery, since you are not allowed to use your units there!

When you take down the last city, the dummy doesn't get to flip cards, but you get one more turn.

You do know, that restiance break is just against a single enemy, right? It could sound a little like you used it on all.


Path Finding is usually great - nearly always a must have for me. With a green mana and some movement you can really get around. Same goes for Wings of the Wind. An even bigger must have, since that is one of the best cards against cities.

Unless there are plenty of glades like it seems you had here, then get 1 or 2 healing cards more (or skills). Then you can take more wounds and still not have the minus fame in the end.

Goldyx flight ability is really nice, but he is hardly my favorite for solo. Like you did here, I end up with too many crystals - and you don't score that many fame for extra crystals. If you want a high score Arythea is the way to go. Her skills with wounds are so nice. But just get comfortable with the rules first using any mage knight. Tovak is also great though.

A general advice is not to move too fast. There is usually no need to call end of round yourself unless it cannot be helped. If you cannot use your last hand to anything, then maybe you can get to a glade or mine instead. Then sit for a few turns just discarding a card each turn while getting rid of a wound or gaining a crystal. Even better if you have crystal or healing cards to help you.

Get those keeps. If either of the cities are close to a keep, you'll be so happy that your hand is +2 or +3 cards when going after it. And during the game it is also a great help in anything else that you do.

Ending a round too early is generally not a good strategy for a high score. The sites on the last tiles should usually give you more fame, that the 30 for ending it a round too soon.


This next part is not to brag or discurage you - just to tell that it really is possible to get 200+ fame. It is even possible to get 300+ fame.

The 200+ fame happens every time now for me. I think my last game turned out to be my best (or at least one of them). I ended up having my marker on 15 sites in total (which was actually all revealed) and only 2 orcs left on the map. And I still managed to take down both cities (lvl 8 and 11) before end of round was called (dummy ran out of cards right when I was ready to take out the last city). All those sites meant I ended up having 12 AA, 12 spells, 1 artifact (destroyed 3) and 2 wounds. I actually did get over 300 fame in this game, which has happened before, but are not my usual score. That is somewhere around 250-280, I think (the game before I got 249, so not the best one for me).

Now I did make a movement mistake at one point, but realised that I could just have spend a blue crystal for more movement, so fixed it that way. And there was a stupid mistake near the end, where I took the red ring instead of the blue (quite funy that earlier I had the choise between the white and the green ring in the same game ). Taking the red ring was so folish, that I went back and changed it. This may just have given me 3 extra fame, so not a big deal, but it is how I like to play. If I make a huge mistake and can fix it, I'll do it. Unless I am influenced by the cards I just drew (I try to be honest to myself). That also goes the other way, so if I forget a rule, but can see how there is a way to fix it, I'll do it.
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Ali Cali
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You said that you used three Gold tokens to get the Green Altar. It sounds like you kept the Gold tokens between turns. If so, then know that tokens cannot carry to the next turn, and Gold or Black can never be crystals.

I loved the Chapter and Post headings, by the way.
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Marc B
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Randor20 wrote:
I also hope you didn't use the Red Cape Monks when attacking the Monastery, since you are not allowed to use your units there!


Nope, I remembered that rule

Randor20 wrote:
You do know, that restiance break is just against a single enemy, right? It could sound a little like you used it on all.


I did not remember that one

For the first city, I believe I did it in 2 turns, defeating two enemies and then defeating the last one (I would have needed 18 Attack, even if I messed that up and reduced armour for all enemies, rather than the 20 Attack it should have been). It wasn't an issue for the 2nd city, as I had 17 Siege, and (luckily), the Paralyze enemies had exactly 17 Armour.


Randor20 wrote:
Unless there are plenty of glades like it seems you had here, then get 1 or 2 healing cards more (or skills). Then you can take more wounds and still not have the minus fame in the end.


I had that as an option for one of my skills, but went with Crystals instead. It worked out pretty well, having only 3 wounds, but I'm always cognizant of how tough it is to heal.


Randor20 wrote:
Get those keeps. If either of the cities are close to a keep, you'll be so happy that your hand is +2 or +3 cards when going after it. And during the game it is also a great help in anything else that you do.

Unfortunately, not a lot of keeps in this one. I think 3 were revealed, but 2 were so out of the way they weren't worth heading to.

Randor20 wrote:
Ending a round too early is generally not a good strategy for a high score. The sites on the last tiles should usually give you more fame, that the 30 for ending it a round too soon.


Oh, I never ended early. I may have given that impression, but I had to rush through so the Dummy wouldn't beat me. My Rounds always went until the Dummy called end of round. I've had it in the past where I've had lots of cards still in my deck, and had that this game as well. At least 2 rounds went by with at least 2 cards in my deck, so I've struggled to get them all out before the round ends.


Randor20 wrote:
The 200+ fame happens every time now for me. I think my last game turned out to be my best (or at least one of them). I ended up having my marker on 15 sites in total (which was actually all revealed) and only 2 orcs left on the map. And I still managed to take down both cities (lvl 8 and 11) before end of round was called (dummy ran out of cards right when I was ready to take out the last city). All those sites meant I ended up having 12 AA, 12 spells, 1 artifact (destroyed 3) and 2 wounds. I actually did get over 300 fame in this game, which has happened before, but are not my usual score. That is somewhere around 250-280, I think (the game before I got 249, so not the best one for me).


This is insanity. I've beaten my previous best score by 50, and that barrier was relatively painless, so hopefully the next one is as well.

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Michael Boucher
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Entertaining read - thanks!!!
 
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Fernando Santos
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I never played the game, i'm thinking about adding to my colection as can be played cooperatively (and my fiancee is very adept of those).
I just loved your report, the humor on it, and kudos for the tiles of each "chapter"
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