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Mage Wars Arena» Forums » General

Subject: Teaching session: looking for advice for faster play rss

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Santi Velasco
Spain
Mairena del Aljarafe
Seville
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I just recently acquired this game and was planning a teaching session for me & the wife. I think this game might be right up her alley cause it has magic, and hideous monsters and lots of murder, maiming and mayhem which are my lovely wife's favorite pastimes.

The problem is, we don't have plenty of time to spare coz kids and life and stuff, you know. I think once she learns the ropes it wouldn't be a problem to plan for longer sessions, say 1.5-2 hours, but this one should be as quick (read: not turtling or AP) as possible. She usually likes games with swift action and lots of 'take that', and not so keen on lots of thinking and ponderous decisions. I have been reading these forums and I am a little bit concerned about scary tales of 6h teaching games and stuff, because such an outcome would probably mean the game not leaving the shelf ever again.

Okay, so with all this background, I am looking for advice of any kind to make this session an unescapable trap to make her fall in love with the game. I thought of setting up an apprentice game of Beastmaster vs. Warlock, but if any of you have further advice regarding our approach to the game, strategy tips, alternate game endings or whatever, I am all ears.

Help a fellow mage-husband in need, folks.

EDIT: I am aware of the existance of Academy and how suitable is for this particular task, but the thing is I already got a pretty good deal for a used copy of Arena with a couple expansions, so I'd like to use what I have.
 
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Chris Brett
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To teach the game, follow the Apprentice guide; it uses half the board and less cards in the book. An Apprentice game should take less than an hour.
Once you've mastered the basics, go up to the full game. Tournament play is set to 75minutes, most damage wins; so if time is an issue you could apply these rules.
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Morten Hjelme
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Arendal
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The core game should include an apprentice mode, with reduced spell books and lower starting Hp, for faster play. I would recommend playing that until the basic rules stick.
I need my experience the game is also faster with players who builds their own spell books as opposed to just being handed one. Let her pick a mage and start modifying and building as soon as you bothe are comfortable.

Yes, there are horror stories of 6h games but after a few games playtime should not take longer than 1.5h.

Welcome to the game. I hope you and your wife enjoys it.

-Morten.
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Jonathan Challis
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Definitely stick to Beastmaster and Warlock, and play Apprentice mode for that teaching game. Apprentice spellbooks are in the rulebook, but essentially this is a half-size spellbook (reducing AP) and a half-size board (meaning you are both in each others face almost immediately).

Other than that, read the rules and applicable traits a few times, so you can handle more queries without referring to the rulebook, and leave the back cover of the rulebook to hand as a reference
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Jeff Meunier
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My wife and I use this process to learn any new game:

1. Sit down with the game at the table. Stumble through the rules to get familiar with the components and to get a feel for what's supposed to be happening.
2. Feel mental overload. Leave the table and go watch some tutorial videos. Say a bunch of "Oh, I see" and "Aha, now I get it!"
3. Go back to the game with a much better understanding.

Doing it that way takes us a lot less time to learn a game than just slogging through the rule book.

(Academy? Are you talking about... woah, I never knew that Mage Wars Academy even existed!)
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Santi Velasco
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Mairena del Aljarafe
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Wow, that was fast! thanks for the advice everyone. I'll try to get a good grasp of the rules so we don't have to stop to browse the rulebook (not too often at least).

Chriz007 wrote:
Tournament play is set to 75minutes, most damage wins; so if time is an issue you could apply these rules.


Thanks, I will definitely use this rule.
 
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Tomer Mlynarsky
Israel
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One of the big problems of AP in this game for new players, is that they don't get the whole "you actually need to attack the mage as a victory condition thing".


Many people for some reason focus too much on killing the summoned creatures and such and ignoring the mage, hoping he'll die of old age or something.


So, my suggestion is simply in your first game, have your mage as close to hers as possible to her so that either of you is in range for attacks all the time.
A beast master could just send his critters and stay at the back, but that would drag the game longer. Even if you're rushing for a suicide, at least she'll have more fun killing you and will likely play again.
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Jeff Dunford
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My wife has similar gaming tastes, but she won't generally play Mage Wars Arena with me because of the play time and the ponderous decisions. She'll occasionally (and reluctantly) play Academy... but she has no interest in spell book building and anything else regarding the "game outside the game." Ditto regarding MtG, X-wing miniatures, or any other game where you generally customize your deck/squad between matches. As good as Mage Wars is (and I rank it among my absolutely favourite games), it may not be for everyone, and certainly shouldn't be forced upon anyone.

All that said, I would recommend giving Academy a try. If that goes over well, or if you want to skip it, try Apprentice mode as others have suggested. Try that many times. After playing Beastmaster vs Warlock in Apprentice mode several times, perhaps try a full game with the recommended 120 point spell books - but expect the first full games to take ~ 4 hours (if your spouse is anything like mine). Depending on time commitments, Apprentice mode may be as far as you ever go - and Apprentice mode can be fun in itself.
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Rob Brown
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This is the order I use to teach someone.

Step 1: introduce the board. Show where the mages start and say something of the like; "we each start here, we will be moving around the board like this (show it), and we need to try and kill each other by dropping structures and summoning attack spells and creatures.
This way, they get the general idea of what the game is.

Step 2: talk about the mages and lore.

Step 3: show the main schools of magic and the 4 elemental magic.

Step 4: show the 5 differnent types of cards. Let them see the equipment with a grey border to the attack cards with a red border, etc.

Step 5: focus on the casting bar. Let them start exploring the card from the top.

Step 6:' explain rules from "the initiative" in the ready phase all the way down to "final quickcast phase" in the action stage. This the longest part obviously.

Step 7: Now you play the game, and tell the other person the first 3 cards they should play. Have the 3 turns to let the other player see what's happening in the game. After that allow your opponent to choose the rest. When someone dies, raise each other's hitpoints up by 20 points; It's not about winning the first game, it's about seeing cards. Whoever dies after all that is the "winner". But make it about seeing cards and how to play. Purposefully position yourself so you can guard, and show a familiar, and talk about walls, and spawnpoints too. Just show the other person all the types of cards.

It's a learning curve.
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