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Subject: Mage Knight, and a Personal Quest to Figure it Out. rss

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Andrew Uchenick
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This isn't necessarily going to be a strict, typical "review." I'm not going to talk about components, or go into detail about how the game works. Others have done that, and will likely have done a better job than I could have. What I'm going to talk about is what I like about it, my process in learning to like it, and some thoughts on whether you would like it or not based on other games people play.

Okay, it's story time, because knowing my background with games may help you make your decision.

A few years ago, I had to move, due to circumstances out of my control. This put me away from my gaming group, which I found kind of sad. You see, there's this weird thing about living in Baltimore City. The people who live in Baltimore City don't leave unless they have to. The people who don't live there often can't find a place to park to visit residential areas. As I was moving out of the city, this meant I wasn't going to be seeing the people I played games with very often anymore.

I missed playing games. I had bought a PS4 shortly after moving, and playing Destiny and Final Fantasy XIV were fun, but I missed playing physical games. I like cards, and tokens, boards, and miniatures. I started realizing that since I liked cooperative games so much, a lot of them could be played solo, and some of them were actually quite fun this way. I mean, I didn't buy Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game because it was a great solo game, I bought it because it was a co-op deckbuilder themed after one of my favorite movies. It just turned out to be a fantastic solo game when I looked into it.

After joining the One Player Guild here and looking into more things to play that were fun and challenging by myself, I realized a lot of people were talking about Mage Knight. They were endlessly talking about Mage Knight, and how it was the most amazing game ever that everyone should play. I only knew of Mage Knight as its collectible miniature incarnation that I wished people near me played, but this looked very different. It was an adventure game about killing things and leveling up! It had a modular board! It played sort of like a deckbuilder! People were calling it the best solo game of all time! So I got on Amazon, saw it was available on Prime, and ordered it.

And hated it.

First of all, what kind of person puts their name on the box of a board game they make? That's pretentious, right? And why is the rulebook so weird? Why are there so many rules? Why is this game so hard to learn? Why does this game not feel like the thrilling adventure the box art shows?

I did the walkthrough, twice, had no idea what I was doing, and put it back in the box. For years. I listed it for trade, but nobody was biting on it, and I figured it was just eternally going to take up space in my closet. It seemed too unwieldy, too complicated for its own good, too difficult to figure out. I'm sure there was a good game in there, but it wasn't for me.

So now it's 2017. I moved again. I've been intensely busy with work, but have been obsessively playing what is my favorite solo game, Shadowrun: Crossfire. Then Dragonfire came out, and I loved that too. But after playing a difficult fantasy deckbuilder for a while, I ended up going into my closet and seeing Mage Knight looking at me. I thought, if so many people love this game so much, people that love the same kinds of things I do, people who think the brutality of Shadowrun and Dragonfire is fun, why didn't it work for me? Why don't I like it? Maybe I just wasn't ready?

I got Mage Knight out again. I played the walkthrough, two solo conquests, two blitz solo conquests. I won the second blitz solo conquest, and you know what? I get it. Mage Knight is great. I just wasn't ready for it.

WHAT MAKES MAGE KNIGHT DIFFICULT?
A lot of games, both digital and cardboard, pride themselves on being "Easy to learn, hard to master." I think the first time I heard this description was on the box for Othello, which I loved playing with my grandmother as a kid. Mage Knight is neither of these things. Its difficulty curve, in order to understand how it works, is less of a curve and more of a sheer cliff with no footholds. But why?

-The rules are written in a very different kind of way. This makes it a little hard to understand what's going on just by reading.
-Because of this, there's a walkthrough, but the problem is that the walkthrough doesn't really teach you everything.
-The strategies to do well at Mage Knight aren't immediately apparent, and they go against our instincts as fantasy adventure gamers sometimes.
-There is an endless amount of stuff going on. Every space on the board does something different. Different effects work different ways at different times and against different targets.
-There's a lot of upkeep to keep a Mage Knight game going. You have to remember to do a laundry list of things at the end of each round. The way the dummy player works is strange.
-There's just a LOT to remember. It's going to feel like you don't know how this game works for a while.

BUT, YOU LIKE IT? WHAT MAKES MAGE KNIGHT GREAT?
This game does have a ton of rules, exceptions, and things to remember. However, when you start to think about it, they make sense thematically, which makes them easier to remember. Of course your units wouldn't help you burn a Monastery, you're doing something awful! Of course you block fire attacks with ice shields, that's how Final Fantasy works, after all!

Where Mage Knight shines is when you are defeating adversity with the simple act of being clever. Let's say there's a dangerous Dragon enemy on the board, that taking out would push you over to the next level. You don't have enough to kill it with what's in your hand, but you know you can take out a Keep that's near him for the extra cards, and you know your good attack cards are coming because you haven't seen them yet this round. Maybe you go and get some crystals, hoping that the Fireball spell in your deck will come and help you take him out. Maybe you've got a hand full of Influence, and there's a great unit to recruit that will push you over the edge. Maybe using a card in a way you didn't expect initially will set you up for success later in the round. The amount of options are staggering. It took a lot of time for me to get out of the mindset of thinking, "Mage Knight doesn't let me do what I want to do!" and start thinking "OK, I can't do what I would like, but I CAN do this, and that's still good."

I have only played Mage Knight as one character, but it still feels different every time. The challenges are always unique each time I have played it. And there are few things I have found in solo gaming that are as satisfying as starting a game having trouble defeating a few orcs, and about an hour later, leveling entire cities in a single turn.

Does Mage Knight feel thematic? Not always. And yes, that's usually important to me. But Mage Knight is about making the best of what you've got, and when you start to learn how to do that, it's immensely satisfying.

WILL I LIKE IT IF I LIKE...

Runebound or Akrham/Eldritch Horror?
Maybe. This was the mistake I made with my initial purchase, it looked like it was simply a high fantasy adventure game with a leveling system. The main difference is that these games allow you to do what you want on your turn, and Mage Knight limits the actions you can take by what is in your hand. They're all games about wandering around and growing stronger to gear up for a final task, but the difference is that Mage Knight makes you work quite hard for the some of the actions you want to take by playing a serious game of hand management. If that sounds like fun for you, take the plunge.

Shadowrun: Crossfire or Dragonfire?
I think so, yes, if you're willing to put in the work to learn. Success at Crossfire or Dragonfire is found by clever card play. Finding combinations and really maximizing the use of what is in your hand is the only way to defeat the obstacles in your path. Mage Knight has a similar feel, except much longer, more complex, and often more difficult. If you enjoy these games, and want something even more intense, and are okay with a bit of a struggle to get familiar with the system, I would call Mage Knight a good choice for you. It's going to take much longer to understand and feel comfortable with than these games though, so consider yourself warned.

Dominion, Legendary, or Legendary: Encounters?
Mage Knight shows up in a lot of lists as being a deckbuilding game. The thing is, the deckbuilding aspect is important, but not all there is going on. There is a lot more to worry about in a game of Mage Knight than you will ever see in these deckbuilders. You'll also add significantly less cards to your deck than you would in either of these games. If you're looking for a more difficult version of a deckbuilder, with an adventure feel I'd actually recommend Shadowrun: Crossfire or Dragonfire over this one. That game will give you a fantasy adventure feel, kick your teeth in, but not overwhelm you like Mage Knight would.

FINAL THOUGHTS. WHY SHOULD I BUY MAGE KNIGHT?
I'm going to go against what I see as conventional wisdom here on the Geek and say that not everyone should.

Mage Knight is not a game you pull out on a whim to play with friends, or one you play on the coffee table while watching football. Mage Knight is a commitment. Learning to play the game is not the most difficult thing I've ever done, but it takes a long time. Learning to play the game well is something I am still doing.

I'm going to pull on my experience as a video game fan, before I got into hobby board games. Learning to play Mage Knight is like learning to play Dark Souls. It looks like something different than it is. Learning the rules of how it works will take time. In the beginning, you'll be confused, you'll think it's too difficult, you'll think it's unfair, and you might not even have any fun. Once you learn how to play in this world, however, you'll be playing those rules to your advantage. You'll overcome challenges that seemed impossible earlier. Your skill and your ability to be clever will be put to the test, and when you succeed, it'll be one of the most enjoyable experiences in games.

If that struggle, that quest for understanding, self-improvement, and the joy of meeting a strong challenge sounds like fun to you, then you should pick yourself up a copy of Mage Knight.

If that sounds like too much work to do before you can really enjoy a game, Mage Knight might not be for you.

Or maybe, like it was for me in the past, it's just not for you right now...

As for me? It's the holiday season, so I've got a week off. And guess what's still set up on my table?

--------------------------

Thank you for reading this "review." I don't often write them, but in this case I felt it was important. This game gets recommended to a lot of people, all the time, and I don't think it's for everybody. However, Mage Knight going from a game that I hated to being one of my most favorite game experiences is something that I felt should share, and I hope that some of you would feel the same way. If nothing else, I hope to encourage people to give it another shot if they didn't enjoy it right away.
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Björn
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I only read the conclusion... I could not agree more!
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Guillaume Pages
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To me, learning Mage Knight was like playing Monster Hunter om the PSP back when.

Only once I cracked 100hrs in that video game did I finally understood the game. The next 300hrs were pure frustration and joy.

Just like MK.
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Jordan Francoeur
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Lol, I have the same love/hate relationship with the game, but I don't mind the learning and improving aspect of it which is why I've always kept it, I get to grow with the game and it always kind of feels new each time I take it out.
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Vadim Golembo
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It took me about 1 year of set up - put away - read - watch video - set up - put away - and so forth until everything finally clicked.

Then I taught my friend to play it in about 1 hour as we played the first recon. We've played it several times since then in coop. I play it at least 2 times per year solo. Just love this thing.
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Candace Mercer
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Once you get the rules overhead out of the way it is quite addictive. Just reading this makes me want to get it out. The Lost Legion expansion is a nice add on, another character and a complicated scenario I have yet to try.
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Andrew Uchenick
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guigtexas wrote:
To me, learning Mage Knight was like playing Monster Hunter om the PSP back when.

Only once I cracked 100hrs in that video game did I finally understood the game. The next 300hrs were pure frustration and joy.

Just like MK.


Hah. I’m a big Monster Hunter fan myself. I guess the draw is similar. Big, obtuse challenging games that take forever to “click.”
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Todd B
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Best description of what it's like getting into Mage Knight Board Game I've ever read. This sums up my experience with the game perfectly. Now I feel the need to get it out on the table again asap.
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Ali Cali
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VampyreInABox wrote:
WILL I LIKE IT IF I LIKE...

Runebound or Akrham (sp) /Eldritch Horror?

...

Shadowrun: Crossfire or Dragonfire?

...

Dominion, Legendary, or Legendary: Encounters?

...


As a huge Mage Knight fan, I'm turning this question around...If I like Mage Kngiht, will I like the ones you listed? I'm now going to check out the ones I don't know (specifically Shadowrun: Crossfire and Dragonfire).
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Dave
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VampyreInABox wrote:
Where Mage Knight shines is when you are defeating adversity with the simple act of being clever.
...
And there are few things I have found in solo gaming that are as satisfying as starting a game having trouble defeating a few orcs, and about an hour later, leveling entire cities in a single turn.
You've hit the nail squarely on the head with these two points, and it's their combination that makes Mage Knight exceptional: Clever play allows the player to level up his Mage Knight from scrappy adventurer to destructive force of nature, all in one game session. It rewards the player's time invested, as familiarity with the rules and cards leads to more opportunities for clever play, which leads to even more power and destruction.
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Andrew Uchenick
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aliallison wrote:
VampyreInABox wrote:
WILL I LIKE IT IF I LIKE...

Runebound or Akrham (sp) /Eldritch Horror?

...

Shadowrun: Crossfire or Dragonfire?

...

Dominion, Legendary, or Legendary: Encounters?

...


As a huge Mage Knight fan, I'm turning this question around...If I like Mage Kngiht, will I like the ones you listed? I'm now going to check out the ones I don't know (specifically Shadowrun: Crossfire and Dragonfire).


Well, that depends on what you like from games!

Runebound, and the Arkham/Eldritch Horror games are also about wandering around a map, completing objectives, growing stronger for a final task. However, they're dice-based games (Runebound 3rd edition is a token-based game, really weird, but really interesting.), and in the case of Arkham and Eldritch, exist just as much for the theming in the game as they do playing it. It's more random, and sometimes you'll feel like the games are happening to you instead of you piloting your character cleverly through them, but they are enjoyable if that's what you're looking for! Out of all of them, I prefer Eldritch Horror the most, and find it a fun challenge. However sometimes, the win or the loss of the scenario is due to the roll of the dice.

I think most people that like Mage Knight would like either Shadowrun: Crossfire or Dragonfire. (They are VERY similar, one has a Shadowrun theme and the other D&D) It's kind of like playing Mage Knight abstracted without a map. But where it's very similar is that you have to be clever with the right cards you play, in the right order, at the right time, and choose the right cards to add to your deck, or else you will not beat the scenario. And actually, sometimes you just plain can't beat it.

Where they differ from Mage Knight is that the Crossfire/Dragonfire games have a lose condition (Your characters can die), and they have a bit of a legacy/campaign to them. (Gaining XP for successfully completing objectives will get you new skills for your character between games, as opposed to during it.)

Crossfire/Dragonfire games are also very, very short. Draw enemies, hit them with the right attacks to damage them (There are four different kinds of attacks), add cards to your deck. Do that three times, and you have one mission done.

They are still my favorite games to play solo, just because they require almost no table space, and take less than minutes to set up, so I can play them on a whim. But they do still require interesting decisions made with every card played, which is why I think MK fans will enjoy it!




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Well.. I got bought Mage Knight by the wife for Christmas.. reading this fills me with both anticipation and dread.. going to spend some time learning solo but it feels like it will be worth the investment (although I may not see my family for a few months..!)
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Yan Bertrand
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I've got a question for you, Andrew, since you've been so kind with us.
I don't like Shadowrun Crossfire. More accurately: I like it OK as a multiplayer game, but as a solo game, while I like the mechanisms, the graphics & theme, I really hate the fact that I can't get to win it more than maaaaybe 10% of the time. I really feel like I've got to get the hell of a lucky draw to make it through. I'm sure I'll get answered that it means the game hasn't clicked for me, and I'll be hurt by that answer because I don't consider myself a stupid gamer, nor one that dislikes a challenge. Speaking of video games, I enjoyed Dark Souls and Demon Souls quite a bit. But I felt like I was in control, which I don't in Shadowrun Crossfire.
In comparison, I love Forge War, and its solo mode, but haven't been able to beat it yet. And it's tough. But I know everything I miss is my fault, every step of the way.

So here's the question. Which way am I more likely to feel about Mage Knight? Are you in control of stuff for real, or will the random setup screw you 50% of the time once you've mastered the game (or it has at least clicked for you)?

Thanks for your help with this potential purchase decision.
I wish you a lovely, joyful year of challenging and rewarding games in 2018.
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B Johnson

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I have a hard time calling this a deck-builder, knowing you will only use a bought card two times before games end kills me. To me, a deck builder lets you ramp up your deck, from middling to butt-kicking before the final battle at games end. Mage knight lacks this, because you only get to exhaust your deck three times before its all over.
With dominion, a classic deck builder, you get to actually USE your modified deck a few times before final scoring.
I really want to love this game, it is a brain teaser to be sure, and an excellent challenge. But when I look at the huge stack of spells, artifacts, and advanced skills, I know I will never get to use them unless I play 100 scenarios, OR I make house rules (extend day/night x2, perhaps even x4!, or allowing players to build a beginning deck, etc). But man, I hate the idea that I need to change the rules, I wish the game didn't need me to do that you know?
Who feels me, yo?
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David Williams
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Bjohnson808 wrote:
I have a hard time calling this a deck-builder, knowing you will only use a bought card two times before games end kills me.


It's been a while since I played so please be gentle if I screw up on remembering how this plays. But...

Firstly, IIRC cards you buy go on top of your deck. So many of them you will get to use immediately. And you use your entire deck every day and every night, making for 6 runs through your deck. So those you buy the first day you will get to use 6 times, I think?

There are also ways to get cards back from your discard pile and use them again.

I would agree it's not the usual type of deck-building game where you cycle your deck repeatedly. But there's no doubt that by the last day/night your deck plays incredibly differently than it does at the start. The combos you can pull off make it seem like a whole new deck, exponentially more powerful than what you started with.

Plus there is typically way more thought put into how you actually use the cards you have than in most deck builders I have played. There's also hand management going on since you don't need to discard at the end of the round. Which means it's less likely the great cards you have will 'whiff' because you drew them alongside a load of dross.
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Andrew Uchenick
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Bjohnson808 wrote:
I have a hard time calling this a deck-builder, knowing you will only use a bought card two times before games end kills me. To me, a deck builder lets you ramp up your deck, from middling to butt-kicking before the final battle at games end. Mage knight lacks this, because you only get to exhaust your deck three times before its all over.
With dominion, a classic deck builder, you get to actually USE your modified deck a few times before final scoring.
I really want to love this game, it is a brain teaser to be sure, and an excellent challenge. But when I look at the huge stack of spells, artifacts, and advanced skills, I know I will never get to use them unless I play 100 scenarios, OR I make house rules (extend day/night x2, perhaps even x4!, or allowing players to build a beginning deck, etc). But man, I hate the idea that I need to change the rules, I wish the game didn't need me to do that you know?
Who feels me, yo?


I agree with you, but also don't have a problem with it. To me, it means that each individual decision of cards that I add to my deck is way more important! But it doesn't mean that you're wrong.

There's an official variant in the rules called "More Deckbuilding" where you draft an Advanced Action after each night. I know that's only two more cards, but maybe that would help?

Remember, it's YOUR GAME, and if you want to play it a little differently to make it fun for you, there's nothing wrong with that.
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Andrew Uchenick
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Herman92 wrote:
So here's the question. Which way am I more likely to feel about Mage Knight? Are you in control of stuff for real, or will the random setup screw you 50% of the time once you've mastered the game (or it has at least clicked for you)?

Thanks for your help with this potential purchase decision.
I wish you a lovely, joyful year of challenging and rewarding games in 2018.


Yan, this is quite possibly the most friendly comment I've ever seen on the internet, and I just have to thank you for that.

I feel you on the Shadowrun randomness and difficulty. While I don't personally have a problem with it, and I find it kind of thematic in the Shadowrun Universe to see something happen on a run that is basically an "OH S**T" moment and you have to bug out, I can see where it can be frustrating. Perhaps playing Shadowrun by giving your runners a 5 Karma upgrade to start will help you enjoy it more, rather than hoping to squeeze out those 5 escapes for your first upgrade? It's not cheating, since most people who play the game tend to play it a LOT.


OK, let's address randomness and difficulty in Mage Knight, to answer your main question:

Because it's a card-based game, with a modular map, with randomized encounters, randomized rewards (Spells, Artifacts, and Advanced Actions), and even randomized skills that you level up in, it is possible for the difficulty to vary a lot. However, I would say that you are in control of your "power" a lot more than in Shadowrun. The cards in your starting deck are all very useful, and have the potential to be more powerful if the mana dice lean your way, or if you have collected enough crystals (to use stronger effects, and also to mitigate that luck!)

One thing that may also help you is that there isn't a dedicated "game over" condition. Yes, you may get to the end of the scenario, which is nearly always to defeat a number of enemies grouped together, and be unable to complete it before time runs out, but you can't get "killed" along the way.

Since I'm probably explaining this poorly, let's use a pretend example. I'm going to abstract things rather than be specific, since I'm assuming you're not familiar with the rules yet, so here we go:

I look at my opening situation, and see that this particular time, I don't have any low level enemies right out on the board that I would normally use to get some quick experience. But looking at my hand, I have some movement, some attack, and can get to a keep. Assaulting the keep will likely give me a wound or two (a card that just eats up space in your deck, but can be dealt with in a number of ways), but will help me in the future (conquering keeps gives you extra card draws when you are near other conquered keeps, and they stack!), and because the enemies are stronger, I'll likely gain a level right out. So it's a little more difficult than I would've liked, I'm taking damage right out of the gate, but I'm willing to bet I can deal with that, and there are benefits to this decision.

So while you can get a little bit "screwed" by the lay of the land, and the cards in your hand, it's not usually enough to completely cripple you or end the viability of your play like it can be in Shadowrun. I think you may like it, but because this randomness exists, you may want to do a little more in-depth research or borrow the game first. Maybe watching some Youtube playthroughs would help show you how the randomness can present you with adversity, but being clever means that it's almost always possible to defeat it?

While I'm not there yet, a number of people I've spoken to who are much more familiar with how to be good at Mage Knight than I am, say that now that they are more skilled with the game, they nearly always defeat the scenarios they play, and instead of checking for a win condition, they're looking to beat their high score.

I hope this helps? I realize I pose a lot of questions in this response, but because everyone is different, it can be hard to tell what someone will or won't like!
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Joseph Cochran
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Herman92 wrote:
So here's the question. Which way am I more likely to feel about Mage Knight? Are you in control of stuff for real, or will the random setup screw you 50% of the time once you've mastered the game (or it has at least clicked for you)?


I can't answer definitively for you, but in my experience you feel in control most of the time. Even when setup isn't optimal (and the main thing that you will feel screwed by in setup is your starting hand), because you know the cards that you will be drawing over the entire round, and you know the possible enemies you will be facing, you can plan and mitigate a lot of what you face. We play weekly but only rarely feel that the setup screwed us. We might not get exactly what we want, but working with what you have is part of the excellent challenge in this game.
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VampyreInABox wrote:

Yan, this is quite possibly the most friendly comment I've ever seen on the internet, and I just have to thank you for that.

Wow - first time ever I get thanked in earnest for a question. laugh

VampyreInABox wrote:

I feel you on the Shadowrun randomness and difficulty. While I don't personally have a problem with it, and I find it kind of thematic in the Shadowrun Universe to see something happen on a run that is basically an "OH S**T" moment and you have to bug out, I can see where it can be frustrating. Perhaps playing Shadowrun by giving your runners a 5 Karma upgrade to start will help you enjoy it more, rather than hoping to squeeze out those 5 escapes for your first upgrade? It's not cheating, since most people who play the game tend to play it a LOT.

I've been thinking about it. I've really already played a dozen times, though, and the levelling up looks like it'll take forever even after the small burst. I may try this a bit later down the road, indeed. I've read the suggestion enough times that it's got to be good.

VampyreInABox wrote:

OK, let's address randomness and difficulty in Mage Knight, to answer your main question:
...

Yep, you made it very clear for me. (And I had started watching a few videos. I yet have to watch Ricky's.)
I quite like the puzzle aspect of the game. I like that it has many different elements. I wondered indeed about 3 things: its randomness (sounds like we have a good answer for that), whether I'd be appealed enough by the game to get through the initial learning curve, and whether I'd feel it's got great replayability for me.

I think you have answered what I needed to hear. Thank you!


jsciv wrote:
I can't answer definitively for you, but in my experience you feel in control most of the time. Even when setup isn't optimal (and the main thing that you will feel screwed by in setup is your starting hand), because you know the cards that you will be drawing over the entire round, and you know the possible enemies you will be facing, you can plan and mitigate a lot of what you face. We play weekly but only rarely feel that the setup screwed us. We might not get exactly what we want, but working with what you have is part of the excellent challenge in this game.

Alright - I'm definitely getting the feel that control is part of the game. Thank you for taking time to answer this one.


I have "unfortunately" got Gloomhaven to go through before I jump to Mage Knight, but it has definitely earned its spot on my "to play" list.
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B Johnson

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"And you use your entire deck every day and every night, making for 6 runs through your deck. So those you buy the first day you will get to use 6 times, I think?"

You are right about the top loading of bought cards to your deck, I forgot about that. But most scenarios do a day/night/day setup, so still the most you can use a new card, without any redraws from the discard pile, would be three tfimes...
I do like that you will ge to use every card in your deck, no whiffing, but when I look at those piles of unplayed cards I never had a chance to buy, it just helps me to think of this as a resource management game, where I will add a few extra resources to my stash before games end, so things get changed up a tiny bit each game, instead of as an inefficient deck builder.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Costa Mesa
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Bjohnson808 wrote:
You are right about the top loading of bought cards to your deck, I forgot about that. But most scenarios do a day/night/day setup, so still the most you can use a new card, without any redraws from the discard pile, would be three times...


Most scenarios are two or three full day/night cycles, not just three rounds. The only published scenario that is day/night/day only is the starter scenario First Reconnaissance.
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B Johnson

Utah
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Hmmm, I wonder if that is why it always felt so rushed. I will check that out. Thanks!
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that Matt
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Andrew Uchenick
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Herman92 wrote:

I have "unfortunately" got Gloomhaven to go through before I jump to Mage Knight, but it has definitely earned its spot on my "to play" list.


Now THAT is a game that's on my "to acquire ASAP" list, but I have no idea how I can get a copy without grossly overpaying for it...
 
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Yan Bertrand
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Depends what you call overpaying, I guess. I've seen shops listing it at 135€, but availability is a concern of course. Have you tried asking Isaac for advice? He's really a kind soul.
 
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