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Mage Knight Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: How difficult is it to start playing this game? rss

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Oscar Luis L.
Denmark
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Hello and greetings from Denmark

I am looking for a game with good, solid solo gameplay.

Mage Knight seems to have what I am looking for but unfortunately the difficulty rating is far too high for my liking (which frustrates me a lot!)

Is there a feature in the manual which allows a newcomer to (very) slowly understand the rules?

Thanks for your help!
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Vincent Desrochers
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Quebec
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Check Ricky Royal's video on youtube. You will get the flow of the game and the rules also.
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Matt Wilkens
United States
Bloomington
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There is a How to Play manual included with the game which will slowly introduce the game to you and walk you through the intro scenario.
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Lonny x
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There is a walkthrough that will help a lot. Watch Ricky Royal's videos on Youtube. They will get you going a lot faster.
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Chris Gordy
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Eden Prairie
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To be honest, the basic flow of the game is not that difficult to grokk. The challenge comes with all of the various nuances. For example, the basics of combat (i.e. first siege/ranged, then monster attacks, then you attack) is not that difficult, but it becomes more challenging when you have to look at all the little things like attack / defense attributes, special powers of each monster, differences when fighting multiple monsters, etc.

Find a good combat summary and keep it next to you. Then find a good location summary and have that next to you as well. You will get it after a few plays.
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Adam Stapley
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Lyman
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Akebono wrote:
Hello and greetings from Denmark

I am looking for a game with good, solid solo gameplay.

Mage Knight seems to have what I am looking for but unfortunately the difficulty rating is far too high for my liking (which frustrates me a lot!)

Is there a feature in the manual which allows a newcomer to (very) slowly understand the rules?

Thanks for your help!


Fortunately, a lot of the rules make sense if you take the moment to think about them thematically instead of just as mechanics. Confusing parts for my wife were the ice block blocking a fire attack and vice versa. If you think of the attack as actual fire, you're not going to block fire with fire, you're going to block it with ice.
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Nathaniel Chambers
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I think it's all the little things. Resistances, half value against things unless magic, oh that's crystals not tokens, oh you can't crystallize black or gold, etc.

That said, despite all that I don't think the game is hard to 'learn'. The instruction teaching book is pretty amazing. I think the hard part is just memorizing all those little details so you don't have to stop mid game. Chances are you'll get your first game or two wrong. Big whoop, still fun.
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Jamel Rha
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Rahdo second series of videos about Mage Knight helped me get a quick start. He does not like the game that much, but he offers a good general summary.
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Darren Kisgen
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Massachusetts
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I held off on this game for a long time because I was scared off by people's description of the difficulty. I recently made the plunge however, and I am incredibly happy that I did. It is not nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. Yes, there are a lot of small rules to keep track of. But you can get started regardless, and just accept that for the first couple of plays you might make a mistake here or there. Most of them will be minor and you will learn as you go. It is an amazing solo experience, so I highly recommend it.

I should say this assumes you have some experience with other somewhat complex games. This certainly is not the game for someone new to the hobby.
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N F
United States
Greenwood
Indiana
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kisgen wrote:

I should say this assumes you have some experience with other somewhat complex games. This certainly is not the game for someone new to the hobby.


I have to agree with this. It's not like the game is impossible to learn or anything. But, it is a complex game with lots of deep thought processes involved. If you don't like games like that, then getting past the rules isn't going to change anything for you... it is still a complex game.

I just bought it myself. The walkthrough rule book makes it pretty easy to follow. However, it will take several plays before I remember everything. I think I've also realized a better way to use my cards after every single turn. lol

Love it so far! But, I like complicated and rules heavy gaming. (Twilight Imperium III, Descent 1st ED) Back when I was first getting into games like Settlers of Catan, I would take Seafarers, Cities & Knights, and Traders & Barbarians all together to make Ultra Catan! That was a fun game with lots to do, but also exploded some of my friend's heads. hehehe
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Bryan Partridge
United States
Pennsylvania
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While the rule book can be intimidating, with the small print and lots of text per page, it is actually laid out really well. Most of the complexity in mage knight comes from the combat, mainly when groups of enemies attack at once. If you're willing to learn this game, it is very rewarding. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and set the city levels low when starting out.
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al cann
United States
warwick
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Anyone who is smart enough to have a BGG account, can handle this game!

Don't be afraid to ask questions. I asked tons of questions and they were all answered within 10 minutes.

Albcann
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Bård Holst
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These cards are very helpful when playing your first games solo, or if playing the game after a longer break. Print them out and just go through each card in the numbered order and do what they say.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/121055/mage-knight-refere...
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Oscar Luis L.
Denmark
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Thank you so much!

I think that I will visit Youtube and watch some videos to get a better idea about what you are describing ...

It sounds by your comments that there is still some hope


Thanks again!




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Nestor Ivanor
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It just can't be mentioned enough. Ricky Royal's videos. I watched the entire serious before even opening the game.
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Allan Brussolo
United States
Austin
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Above all, it is most definitely worth the learning curve. No finer solo game, imo.
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Vincent Paradis
Canada
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I recently bought and started playing this game and I believe the high complexity rating mostly comes from the long to read rules/walkthrough and not the gameplay in itself. The rules consist of 2 booklets of 20 normal-sized pages or tiny writing and few images. It took me about 1 hour to read through those, but once that's done, you should already understand and remember 90% of the gameplay and comeback for details once in a while. A very good game, highly recommended!
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corum irsei
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stevekerr25 wrote:
There is a How to Play manual included with the game which will slowly introduce the game to you and walk you through the intro scenario.
Yup. If you follow the walkthrough, it's actually quite easy to learn the game.

I've found it's actually _more_ difficult to get back into the game after a longer hiatus, unless you follow thw walkthrough _again_.
Trying to play the game if you only remember half of the rules works really bad; trust me, I tried! cool
 
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Akiva
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I just fielded a similar question for Advanced Squad Leader: is it too difficult? I'll give a similar answer here, worded completely differently.

There are two kinds of games in the world and thus two different types of gamers: one, the kind of game where the rules simply disappear once play begins and the kind of gamer who wants complete transparency during play; and, two, the kind of game where the rules and the learning of them are part of the joy of the game itself once play begins and the kind of gamer who gets joy not only in playing the game but also 'playing the rules'. Of course this isn't particularly binary as most people are somewhere between the two. With that in mind...

Mage Knight (and ASL, naturally) falls into the second camp. Both games are remarkably basic and intuitive. Whereas ASL has specific rules to cover every situation (such as running across a road), MK has exceptions and extraordinary situations.

You will consult the rule book... a lot. If you don't like that, then MK might not be the game for you. The most difficult problem with MK, as I see it, isn't the perceived weight of the game but in the poor quality of the rule book. To make the matter worse, the game isn't intuitive; as a designer, I'm loathe toward exceptions and MK is overloaded with them. Different rules for mounting a siege against a keep vs. attacking roving orcs. Different rules for each type of hex which you can interact with and/or destroy, etc. Benefits change based on these things too. It's a lot to track.

I think the question that really should be asked is this: is it worth the effort and time and concentration to learn the game and master it? Well, that's easy: YES. It is by far the best solo experience of my gaming life. I play MK at least once a day; I don't even care if I finish a scenario. I like this game so much I went through the chore of sleeving all of the cards and putting together the wooden box organizer from Broken Token. I BOUGHT WOOD GLUE, FFS.

It's a tough game, challenging to master, and fussy as hell but that fussiness lends itself well to replayability, the best solo play I've ever experienced, and a depth likened only to chess and Go. Mage Knight is definitely worth every ounce of effort you put into learning it and returns the favor thricefold. Trust.
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Jason Ross-Collins
United Kingdom
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Just considering buying this myself and have been wandering the same. Have watched the first couple of Rickys videos and it doesnt seem to bad. How does the learning curve compare to something like lotr lcg? That was my first lcg ( and return to fantasy/board gaming generally) and I found it tricky to start with but love it now. Looking for an RPG style game now hence mage knight.
 
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Roberto Ritter
Brazil
Brasilia
Distrito Federal
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Well, i just got my copy. 2 days at Night reading the manual and walkthrough. Im still whatching the videos from rahdo amd rick. Ill try to play next saturday. But I love it, even not playing yet. It is a great mind exercise to remember all details, and brigs me memories from the rpgs. Very excited to start playing like a boss.
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Ben Kyo
Japan
Osaka
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Forward 1, Forward 2, Forward 3... siege attack 5?
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Reference wrote:
There are two kinds of games in the world and thus two different types of gamers: one, the kind of game where the rules simply disappear once play begins and the kind of gamer who wants complete transparency during play; and, two, the kind of game where the rules and the learning of them are part of the joy of the game itself once play begins and the kind of gamer who gets joy not only in playing the game but also 'playing the rules'. Of course this isn't particularly binary as most people are somewhere between the two. With that in mind...

Mage Knight (and ASL, naturally) falls into the second camp. Both games are remarkably basic and intuitive. Whereas ASL has specific rules to cover every situation (such as running across a road), MK has exceptions and extraordinary situations.

You will consult the rule book... a lot. If you don't like that, then MK might not be the game for you. The most difficult problem with MK, as I see it, isn't the perceived weight of the game but in the poor quality of the rule book. To make the matter worse, the game isn't intuitive; as a designer, I'm loathe toward exceptions and MK is overloaded with them. Different rules for mounting a siege against a keep vs. attacking roving orcs. Different rules for each type of hex which you can interact with and/or destroy, etc. Benefits change based on these things too. It's a lot to track.

I disagree, aside from the point that "[Mage Knight is] remarkably basic and intuitive". I found that I internalised the rules fairly quickly, still know them all, and can pick up and play the game without referring to the reference cards, let alone the rulebooks, after a hiatus of even a year or two. In fact, this internalisation of the rules is essential to my enjoyment of the game. I don't notice or think about the rules, and for me it very much falls into the camp of the "kind of game where the rules simply disappear once play begins".

Of course I went through the same process as anyone else of referring to the rules at lot for my first few games.
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Sam Carroll
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Urbana
Illinois
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I played MK extensively for a couple of years, then had about a two-year hiatus. When I picked it up again, I found that I needed a significant refresher on the rules - even basic things like setup. But after one game, I was comfortable with the rules again.
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Akiva
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Benkyo wrote:
I disagree, aside from the point that "[Mage Knight is] remarkably basic and intuitive".


Well, then. [clutches pearls] ENJOY BEING WRONG.
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WORELOF PENDRAGON
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
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Not to be a douchebag.........but i DONT find this game difficult at all to grasp.I think the world is getting stupider (minus everyone here) by each passing day. You want complex? Try playing this games older brother "Magic Realm"
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