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Subject: Just some (negative) thoughts on the game rss

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Peter Karis
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We (3 players) played the full conquest last Saturday, and it took us literally nine hours. Most of the time it just felt like a drag, and the endgame is just so anticlimactic that it doesn't feel like it justifies the mammoth play time in any way. And this wasn't the first time we played the game either, just last week we did the intro scenario, and we also had played the game several times before a couple of years ago. But it doesn't look like any of us wants to play the game again any time soon, everyone got so tired of it during the last session that people just wanted it to end, never mind who's winning or losing.

The game just feels way overrated. It's long and tedious to play, the rules are overly complex without adding much to the depth of the game, the rulebooks are so poorly organised you will never find an answer to any midgame question anywhere in there, the endgame is "meh" at best, the battles are boring, each player's turn takes closer to 20 minutes each time, and the universe doesn't feel like it makes any real sense what so ever. The only good things about the game are that some of the spells and artifacts are cool, and all the bits and pieces fit in the normal size box surprisingly easily.

I can't really see how this game is ranked 13 on BGG but maybe it's just me.
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David Murray
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I think the majority of players play solo.
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Ben Kyo
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MacKaris wrote:
... maybe it's just me.

Could be, could be. There certainly are some other people out there who feel similarly though.

We (2 players) played the Volkare's Return last Sunday, and it took us literally six hours*. The other player is Japanese, and rarely plays, so we took it easy and I gave him plenty of time to read everything and come to decisions without prompting from me, but the endgame was such a triumphant climax that it totally justified the mammoth play time. And this wasn't the first time we played the game either, we also had played the game twice a couple of years ago. He asked to play again, and I'm always down for a game with people of any experience level.

It's a long brain-burning game, with complex rules that are tightly integrated with the theme, every one of them adding much to the depth of the game. The rulebook is well organised but these days I never refer to it. The endgame is a bit overwhelming against Volkare, but much faster and tighter in a regular conquest, and the battles are awesome. Slow player's turns take closer to 10 minutes each time, while mine are often done in a minute, but it doesn't bother me because I'm using those 10 minutes to plan. The universe and world-building are excellent, given the source material. I love the "adventurers broke the world" backstory. Some of the spells and artifacts are cool, and all the bits and pieces for all the expansions fit in the normal size box surprisingly easily.

I can easily see how this game is ranked 13 on BGG, and a lot of people seem to agree with me.


* I think it's the longest game I've ever played in real time, including four player games.
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Andrei Savva
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TrotskyTrotsky wrote:
I think the majority of players play solo.

There are some advanced players (with 30+ sessions under their belt) that report Mage Knight as being highly enjoyable at 4 players count. I think it is a somewhat different game at that point, adding some extra layers of tactics and strategy. And while the game is crazy long and the downtime significant, apparently these guys know what they are getting into and find it enjoyable anyway.
But to play full conquest as a beginner in 3P it's just wrong. This game has much more to offer as a solo play, most people should stick to it until they get a good grasp on the basics.
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Phil McDonald
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No game is for everyone and there's nothing wrong with that.

Just recognise that your thoughts only reflect your own tastes and experiences and are not representative or signify that it is a 'bad' game. Just sell it and move on.

FWIW I really dislike Dominion, Pandemic, MTG, Puerto Rico and many other top rated games. That doesn't mean I think they're bad or undeserving of their ratings, patently they do. I am a 'bad' fit for THEM.
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Phil McDonald
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TrotskyTrotsky wrote:
I think the majority of players play solo.


Although, to my tastes, MK is by far the best solo game around, I see no evidence to support your claim. The game actually improves with the number of players due to competition for resources IMHO, but 4p is killed by downtime issues for me. However, 4p played using vassal pbem cuts out all downtime and is a fantastic experience.
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Kasper Lauest
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I only play MK solo, but if I was to play it with others, I would not play it more than 2p. Otherwise, downtime would be excruciating.
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Phil McDonald
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BlueSwan wrote:
I only play MK solo, but if I was to play it with others, I would not play it more than 2p. Otherwise, downtime would be excruciating.


I think that is a function of the players as much as the game personally. I wouldn't want to play a 2p game with someone who has AP, but my 3p gaming group loves MK and we have no downtime problem.
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Pedro Ortiz
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Probably a lot of AP here, avoid that kind of player for this game... you play tokaido and catan with these people.

MK is arguably the best solo game out there, thats why its so hight in the ranks...that being said i have played it with 2 people that also have played solo many times, you are supossed to plan your turn ahead while others play, not hard... it was a blast, one of the best gaming experiences ive had. (Volkaire`s return took us about 3 hours)
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Peter Karis
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Papadios wrote:
you are supossed to plan your turn ahead while others play, not hard...


It actually is quite hard, at least in our group. Most of the time people are not using their downtime productively as far as the game is concerned, but instead engage in conversation or eat snacks or drink beer or whatever. Even if you HAVE used the 30 minutes or so of your downtime for analysing your next turn, the following sequence still frequently occurs:

me: -So. Watch this. First I'll play this card and use one mana from the source for the special effect which gives me two more mana of this and that colour, then I'll play this card and that card for movement, and one card sideways, and I'll use that skill token too so I can get to that location, then there's the combat with two enemies, so I'll play this card and use one mana for that and then another card and those should give me enough ranged attack to kill one monster, then I'll play this, this and this card and use mana from my inventory to that card which again gives me that effect plus one extra mana, which I will use for these unit cards here so the monster's attack is blocked, and finally I'll play this and that card with that skill token, which gives me fire attack 8 in total and that's the second monster killed. Right?

another player: -Ummm yeah except that because the monsters are in a city, they are fortified and you can't use ranged attack / one of them has swiftness so you need double the blocking power.

me: -Ffffuuuuuuu *picks up all the cards, all the mana, unflips the skill tokens and the units, returns the mana die to the source and starts over.*

me: *20 minutes later* -Ok, so here's my plan B...

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9 hours seems excessive to me, but I haven't yet played a Full Conquest scenario with three players. I think for multi-player games, the Blitz scenarios (or the introductory scenario) work better.
(Even our last game of Twilight Imperium took only about 7 hours, and it made me realize that I don't really think it's worth the investment of time, but that's a different story...)

I agree, though, that the rules are pretty bad if you try to look up a rule. In fact I wouldn't agree to play a multi-player game unless I've played a couple of solo games recently to make sure I have a good working knowledge of the rules.

IIRC, the last three-player (intro) game I played took about four hours, including a full explanation of the rules. That's less than a session of Arkham Horror or Battlestar Galactica (without explaining the rules!).

And if you feel that combat in the game isn't exciting, then it's highly likely that the game simply isn't for you. Combats against several strong enemy units are an intriguing puzzle, and I find them highly rewarding, but also sometimes mentally draining.

Regarding the anti-climactic ending, I kind of agree. I much prefer playing Volkare scenarios for that reason (i.e. using the Lost Legion expansion).
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Phil McDonald
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MacKaris wrote:
Papadios wrote:
you are supossed to plan your turn ahead while others play, not hard...


It actually is quite hard, at least in our group. Most of the time people are not using their downtime productively as far as the game is concerned, but instead engage in conversation or eat snacks or drink beer or whatever. Even if you HAVE used the 30 minutes or so of your downtime for analysing your next turn, the following sequence still frequently occurs:

me: -So. Watch this. First I'll play this card and use one mana from the source for the special effect which gives me two more mana of this and that colour, then I'll play this card and that card for movement, and one card sideways, and I'll use that skill token too so I can get to that location, then there's the combat with two enemies, so I'll play this card and use one mana for that and then another card and those should give me enough ranged attack to kill one monster, then I'll play this, this and this card and use mana from my inventory to that card which again gives me that effect plus one extra mana, which I will use for these unit cards here so the monster's attack is blocked, and finally I'll play this and that card with that skill token, which gives me fire attack 8 in total and that's the second monster killed. Right?

another player: -Ummm yeah except that because the monsters are in a city, they are fortified and you can't use ranged attack / one of them has swiftness so you need double the blocking power.

me: -Ffffuuuuuuu *picks up all the cards, all the mana, unflips the skill tokens and the units, returns the mana die to the source and starts over.*

me: *20 minutes later* -Ok, so here's my plan B...



I believe what you are saying, but I have a couple of questions. Have you played the game much and does one or more of you have AP tendencies?

I think it's fair to say that this game can initially induce a certain amount of AP even in players who are not usually prone to it because there's quite a bit to get your head around. But after a couple of games that passes for those who don't suffer from AP.

If our games experienced the amount of downtime that yours has I think I would dislike the game too. But I can honestly say that in our games, even a particularly complicated player turn doesn't take more than 5 minutes, most a lot less.

So my final thought would be, if you don't like the game move on and don't sweat it. If downtime is the significant issue for you, persevere because it speeds up significantly with experience and don't play with the AP prone.
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A brave soul to say something negative about MK! Hats off to that.

For me, MK is a gem. I love it so much I made a video about it...

But I've never played more than 2 and can't imagine doing so. I totally agree with you about the endgame however--even solo it feels like a bit of an anticlimax. That's one of the reasons I play the game with a bunch of different fan-made expansions and some of my own rules as I detailed in my video.

It's a deep system that can take some beating. I wonder if its BGG fans can be as forgiving.
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Peter Karis
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We have played it a couple of times. We haven't played it "much" because if we had, that would mean we'd actually be enjoying it and there would be no reason for rant that I just started this thread with.

I guess it's just not for us. I only play with my friends, so I can't choose to play with people who have or don't have AP (I can't tell if we have AP or not, since there's nothing to compare to. There are people who are more competitive, so they'll put more brainwork into their moves, and there are people such as yours truly who just go more by the gut feeling and wing it, so their turns can be quicker). Even though I like some aspects of the game - I think it's like Runebound but better since there's no dice - it's just too long and cumbersome for what it actually has to offer in the end.
 
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Jochen Wiesner
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Downtime can be drastically shortened by to aspects:

* system mastery. This will come with more plays
* using downtime to plan your turns

You will still suffer downtime when players take really big turns in later rounds, but the first three rounds of the game should really flow smoothly.
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Phil McDonald
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That really is the acid test. Do you like a game (or think you might) enough to push through the learning curve. Vlaada's other masterpiece, Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization is the same in that you have to take a bit of pain initially to get a lot of pleasure. But of course it's only valid if it's your sort of game. PS I REALLY dislike Runebound. Your long and cumbersome is my perfect game length and brilliantly elegant. Different strokes eh?
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Nigel Clarke
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I really like the game.
My daughter and son-in-law want a new game for christmas.
I introduced them to First Reconnaisance, whilst we were waiting for my wife so that we could play Dungeon Petz.
After 3 hours (I'd set that as the limit), which of course included setup and instruction, we were still quite a few exploration actions away from finishing.
They both liked the game - loved the puzzle aspect - but my daughter felt that, as they would only be able to play irregularly, they won't have the time to play it (2 year old child and another on the way and both parents work retail shift patterns). As a consequence they would never get totally au fait with the rules so each game would end up being a long one.

That's a long way of saying I can see that the length of time to play is a problem so totally see the OPs point of view.
Not sure the game is ever boring though, not sure I know a board game that is boring - I'll enjoy playing anything mostly, at least I'm not working!
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Phil McDonald
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adm1 wrote:
A brave soul to say something negative about MK! Hats off to that.

For me, MK is a gem. I love it so much I made a video about it...

But I've never played more than 2 and can't imagine doing so. I totally agree with you about the endgame however--even solo it feels like a bit of an anticlimax. That's one of the reasons I play the game with a bunch of different fan-made expansions and some of my own rules as I detailed in my video.

It's a deep system that can take some beating. I wonder if its BGG fans can be as forgiving.


I love it so much I made a story-driven solo campaign system for it

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/119221/mk-solo-campaign-e...

I live in hope that there will be a multiplayer campaign expansion, but it doesn't seem likely.

I don't see anything to forgive, personal taste is 50% of any gaming experience. There are no definitive answers.
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Mike
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Solo or with 2 players I have this game rated as a 9. With 3 players I'd rate it a 7, still fun but the runaway leader problem the game has becomes very clear at this point. I once played it with 4 and none of the players enjoyed it much.

The game's sweet spot is definitely 1 or 2 players.
 
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Constantijn Vezestentzis
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MacKaris wrote:
We (3 players) played the full conquest last Saturday, and it took us literally nine hours. Most of the time it just felt like a drag, and the endgame is just so anticlimactic that it doesn't feel like it justifies the mammoth play time in any way. And this wasn't the first time we played the game either, just last week we did the intro scenario, and we also had played the game several times before a couple of years ago. But it doesn't look like any of us wants to play the game again any time soon, everyone got so tired of it during the last session that people just wanted it to end, never mind who's winning or losing.

The game just feels way overrated. It's long and tedious to play, the rules are overly complex without adding much to the depth of the game, the rulebooks are so poorly organised you will never find an answer to any midgame question anywhere in there, the endgame is "meh" at best, the battles are boring, each player's turn takes closer to 20 minutes each time, and the universe doesn't feel like it makes any real sense what so ever. The only good things about the game are that some of the spells and artifacts are cool, and all the bits and pieces fit in the normal size box surprisingly easily.

I can't really see how this game is ranked 13 on BGG but maybe it's just me.


wow wow wow

3 Players, 9 Hours???
This seems that you haven't played the game enough and for your description is clear that you haven't invested time to the game! Yes, maybe it isn't your kind of game but because the internet exist you should know what kind of game MK is. Despite that, I can fully understand you. My first games were as yours. In my first games I was something like "what a pointless game " but after 10 games became one of my favorite ever! And because the most of my fellow players owns the game also, you need 3 hours for the specific scenario, maybe 3,5 and usually is something like a blast with very close scores! My final thought about MK is why this game isn't anymore on top10, is the most complete game in all the forms! Just for the best solo option must be in top 10. And if you'd like to try it again, just try out smaller scenarios for the beginning. Yes, it's very difficult game, with very difficult rules but after some plays, either you like it or not, I think that you appreciate the genius design behind it. Have a beautiful day.
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Kester J
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For what it's worth, I usually play this with a regular group of four of us, and we get through a game of full conquest in 4-4.5 hours. We've played about 30 times, so partly that's familiarity with the game, but it's not as if we were taking significantly longer when we first started - maybe we've shaved off 30-60 minutes as we've got to grips with the more fiddly bits of the rules. We aren't especially heads-down players either; we'll be chatting the whole time and inventing silly stories about what's going on in the game (usually involving accepting monks' hospitality and then setting them on fire in return).

As others have said, different games are going to work differently for different groups, and if it doesn't work for you then that's fine. I'm just posting to say it's possible to get it to a more manageable 60-70 minutes per player if you want to.
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Phil McDonald
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DreamStorm wrote:
Solo or with 2 players I have this game rated as a 9. With 3 players I'd rate it a 7, still fun but the runaway leader problem the game has becomes very clear at this point. I once played it with 4 and none of the players enjoyed it much.

The game's sweet spot is definitely 1 or 2 players.


Sweet spot for me is definitely 3p, but we can only speak for ourselves. Try playing 4p by vassal pbem, it's a blast.
 
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Tolis Koutsikos

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If you don't like it, you don't like it. Plenty of other good games out there!

Everyone I've played with finds MK better with more players, provided no AP. 3 is the magic number for me. One,one-and-a-half hour per player is where you should be getting after getting familiar with the rules and tactics of the game.
 
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philmcd wrote:
I love it so much I made a story-driven solo campaign system for it :)
So glad you responded with this link. I wasn't aware of your files and just downloaded a few. They look great! Thanks for this contribution to the game. When I next take it out, it will be with your story in hand.
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Phil McDonald
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adm1 wrote:
philmcd wrote:
I love it so much I made a story-driven solo campaign system for it
So glad you responded with this link. I wasn't aware of your files and just downloaded a few. They look great! Thanks for this contribution to the game. When I next take it out, it will be with your story in hand.


Thanks, my aim was to give the game a different feel without changing the rules significantly. Woild love to see a multiplayer campaign expansion though.
 
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