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Subject: Solo Conquest Tips Please rss

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Xerebrox Xerebrox
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I am quite sure that this is not the first query in the forums on the subject I am going to touch upon so just redirect me if necessary.

Hi everyone! I own MK and all of its expansions for more than a year now. I got them for the sole intention of playing solo.

But for the life of me, I have never won one single solo conquest. I am not a frequent player so I still heavily consult the rulebook and walkthrough. When I find time to play, however, I really do not mind the length of time for so long as I do it rightly, perhaps not yet perfectly (a little oversight here and there) but I think I am getting the hang of it.

My main point however is this: I have never won a single game of solo conquest nor of blitz conquest. My only success is with the first reconnaissance. I haven't tried yet the other solo scenarios. I find the time constraint of 3 days and 3 nights only too short. I cannot power up/level up my hero fast enough and gain powerful units fast enough to take on keeps, mage towers, even adventure sites. What more for two cities with levels 5 and 8?

This is quite frustrating.

I observe myself spending perhaps way too much cards (and time) for traveling. I also admit that I am quite finicky with my choice of combats: I usually skirt those that I know at a glance will not be won without incurring damages/wound cards. Then again, I go back to my "excuse": I find the 3 days and 3 nights too short a duration to power up and so confidently take on combats beyond orcs. Am I missing anything here?

Any kind tip would be much appreciated.



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Raphaël Langella
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Well, it seems you've already identified something. You're too careful. You need to take a few risks and accept some wounds in order to level up and improve your deck. If you can't heal right away, just rest to discard the wounds and then move to the next site to make good use of your reward.
Orcs are useful in the beginning, but they become less and less useful as the game progress to the point where the are mostly an annoyance and a waste of time. You need more than skills and AA to assault cities, you need spells, artifacts and units.
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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You've already touched on one of the things I would recommend; don't be afraid to get in some combats where you'll take a wound or two. Sometimes the fame gained, especially if it means leveling up early on and getting a juicy advanced card or spell, is worth that. There are ways to heal wounds.

An important thing is looking for synergies/combos with the advanced cards/spells/units/artifacts you take, and with the mana generation you have available. That really takes time and several plays to get a better feel for.

One thing that I found is that I would often get units whenever I could, but then the first time I won (after many tries), I realized afterward that I hadn't taken any units until pretty late in the game, and then only 1 or 2. My point is not to say "don't get units." Sometimes you do want units early on, and several of them. The point is that it really depends game to game, as far as what is going to be effective. And in my case, in order to be successful that game, I had to let go of my usual habit to always grab as many units as possible right away.

You'll get there! And it will be super satisfying. And you'll win with more frequency and get higher scores. I love that Mage Knight rewards the time and effort you invest, and that you can learn how to improve over time.
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Bryan Penrose
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I agree with what the others said. You definitely have to be willing to take wounds. Once I started doing that, I was able to get better scores. Also, some things to keep in mind:

1. You don't want to cross difficult terrain (cost 4 or 5) too much, because it depletes your resources quickly
2. Depending on which scenario you are playing, some cards are better. For example, Full Conquest involves assaulting cities, so Siege Attack or ways to prevent enemies from attacking is great. On the other hand, Dungeon Lords and Mines Liberation don't necessarily need Siege Attack because most enemies aren't fortified, so Ranged attack is often good enough. Also, sometimes Deeds like Mana Bolt and Pure Magic can be problematic since they require so much mana, but in a scenario like Mines Liberation, you will be getting more mana to make them usable more often.

I am still a fairly inexperience Mage Knight (<20 games), but love the game. I am sure that you will get there!
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Zeus Cat

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You need to be more aggressive. I started like you and found it very hard to win, but once I started taking a few chances (and taking a few wounds) I found I did much better. Warning: this will backfire on you some of the time; especially at first. You will take a chance and get pounded flat. But you'll earn when it is a good bet to take a chance and when it isn't.

Look at the enemies that you face at each site before you attack. So I have to face an unknown brown enemy once I go in to this site and reveal the enemy. So in my hand I can defeat 80% of the brown tokens and I get X for winning. That is worth it this time. Or, I can only defeat 30% of the brown enemies if I attack this site. No, not worth it.

Each hero plays a little differently. Try Arythea as she can use wounds to her benefit with some of her skills.

Look for skills that help you move. Seems boring, but an extra move 1 per turn can really help. Actually, skills that give you +1 or +2 move or attack per turn are incredibly useful, especially early on.

You get skills and more armor by levelling up, so attack those orcs as soon as you can in the first round or two. After that, just ignore them unless you need to move through where they are.

Really look at where you are and what you can do on your turn. Keep track of what cards you have played and what is still in your draw pile so you know what you will be playing soon.
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Ricardo Matos
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Hi,

When I started to play, I've read the following series of articles:

https://taogaming.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/too-many-final-wo...

The link is for the last one, but in the end you have links for all the articles.

I think they are quite helpful, with a lot of tips for new and not new players
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Didier Renard
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As others said you play too conservatively and cautiously, and probably spend too many cards on useless movement.
This being said, I’d suggest you lower the city levels in your next game (eg 4/7 or 3/6). Perhaps you can decrease by 1 level until you win a game, and then work your way up again.
It is definitely doable, some people can defeat two mega cities of level 22! !!wow
There is a detailed account of a solo game here. This is an interesting read if you want to learn how to improve your play skills.
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Rob D
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MK is a game of optimization. You have to make sure you're making the most of everything you are doing at all times.

You only have 6 rounds to find and defeat the 2 cities, and you have between 5 and 7 turns per round, so figure around 35 turns total to win the game.

If you took 3 turns building up for the "perfect" hand to take a keep with no wounds, vs 1 turn with some, you would have wasted 5% of the entire time you have to do other stuff.

Once you recognize this you can start to win consistently.

Here are some helpful tips:

The number 1 killer of any solo run is backtracking. The only time I ever backtrack is if my path is impassable, as you just waist too much time.

You have to be flexible. Spells are great, but if you don't have the mana to power them and you're playing them sideways, you might be better off with Advanced Actions.

Don't be afraid to break your artifacts. The tempo swing you get vastly outperforms the 2 points you get at the end of the game, or future uses in later rounds.

Wounds are not the enemy. I posted a win recently where I took 14 wounds at the end of the game and recruited 0 units https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2012564/i-beat-full-conques...

This series of articles has some of the most in depth analysis of the game I've ever seen
https://taogaming.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/too-many-words-ab...

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Anatoly
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Xerebrox wrote:
I find the time constraint of 3 days and 3 nights only too little.
I can not place enough emphasis on moving forward at all times. If you are running out of time, that means you are not exploring fast enough. You should find your first city around round 3. Round 4 at the very latest. The only time you should go backwards is because you are fully blocked by water/mountains. Try to go via the most cheapest routes as possible.

Xerebrox wrote:
I cannot power up/level up my hero fast enough and gain powerful units fast enough to take on keeps, mage towers, even adventure sites.
As others have said, take more risks. You underestimate your mage knight. Even on starting level you will be able to take on majority of gray monsters and even quite a few browns. Sure you will take wounds, but gaining levels fast is essential.

If you are very worried about wounds, try playing with Arythea (She can use those wounds to her advantage) or Tovak (Has more blocking skills). I would not recommend playing Norrowas for beginners. Taking wounds is not as big deal as you might think. You have tranquility that heals two wounds, there are cheap units like Herbalists, but most importantly: Glades. Not only do they give you a free token, but they remove one wound either from your hand or your discard. Also you can heal in villages (3 influence per wound) and Monasteries (2 influence per wound). They are quite common and you can play cards sideways to get the influence if you are desperately need to get rid of some wounds.

In my experience, a deck will still function fine with up to three wounds in it. Four is becoming a bit messy, but doable with Arythea. And you have the whole rest of round to get rid of them. So as long as you stay wary of poison-dealing enemies and those that deal 4+ wounds a hit, you will be fine.

Xerebrox wrote:

What more for two cities with levels 5 and 8?
Don't be ashamed to reduce the city levels down: No one here will judge you for it. Gold units are extremely good for taking down the cities, but it is possible without them. Try to get a few artifacts if you can: Some of them really make a huge difference. Ranged attacks, while very powerful at the start, don't really work in cities. Either get a spell that removes fortify (There are a few available with this effect) or try to get as much siege damage as practical.

Several other general tips from my experience:

- Do not look at the board and ask "what do I want to do?". Instead look at your dealt hand and ask "What does this hand tells me to do?". If you have a hand full of movement, skip that tower next to you and explore. If you have a hand of combat, then play some cards sideways if you have to in order get into a fight. If you got influence, look if you have any places to use it nearby. If not, use them sideways to explore. Keep moving forward: You should never sit in one place cycling cards in hopes of getting a better hand.

- When selecting tactics aim to have your turn before the dummy player. This guarantees you an extra turn over him. As a rule: take the smallest numbered tactic that you can live with. Yes, I do take Early Bird/From the Dusk very frequently when playing solo.

- You should aim to level up on your first or second turn. Afterwards you are powerful enough to take on Keeps/Mage Towers. Prioritise sites according to reward: orks after third level are suboptimal (Besides raising reputation). If taking that Keep will level you, it is worth three wounds. My favorite adventure sites are the Dungeons: For just one brown monster you get an artifact or a spell! Try not to skip them if practical.

- Plan out your movement for the costs. Before that day is over make sure you are through all the forests so that none are blocking you. During the night rush through the deserts. You never want to start a round having to go through cost 5 terrain. I often forgo a lot of fame to position myself with a clear path forward.

- Be careful with your reputation. At the start of the game feel free to burn a monastery, but take real care to get back to positive standing by round three. You will want all the influence you can get for those awesome gold units. There are sometimes ruins that offer you a tough fight for any unit in the offer, but since it is random which one is drawn, they should not be relied upon to come up. If your reputation is bad, consider avoiding attacking Keeps/Towers and focus on Dragons. In general, if you can take down a dragon then you are well on your way to be able to take a city.

- Movement Advanced Actions are extremely handy particularly on the core tiles since they commonly feature ruins and swamps. Don't just take combat advanced actions during level ups: You will be moving more frequently than fighting after all.

- Stock up on crystals. Avoid using them (Unless you are Goldyx and swimming in them) unless there is no other way. They come real handy when taking on Dragons or multiple enemies.

Please don't get discouraged. There is something of a "break through the wall" phenomenon. Keep at it and things will start falling into place for you. You will build up a sort of intuition from the experience. You not only will be winning every time, but you will start to hunger a bigger challenge. It is this mastery that is so delicious, but you need to earn it.
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Xerebrox Xerebrox
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Dear all, you and your responses are amazing! Not only are your responses helpful owing to their concreteness but, above all, they are highly encouraging.

Yep, I am a conservative player (for now). Newbie disease perhaps? And perhaps too, since there is simply a lot to digest. What with all the calculations to do (in my head! hah!) especially during combat, plus all those rules on restrictive blocks and attacks (I am not even sure if I understand rightly certain rules, like the one concerning the ineffectiveness of non-attack/block cards powered by a red mana...just quoting on top of my head)....and then wounds and wound management + healing. Oh boy!

But I do enjoy playing it. Even if when I do find the time to play it, I end up playing only first reconnaissance (talk about pity victory!) cycling through the heroes --- it is my way of refreshing my memory of the rules and getting the hang of it. But I'll get there...I hope.

Keep those tips coming please! Thanks a lot!
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Zeus Cat

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Part of getting better at this game is getting yourself into a predicament and then figuring out how to solve it. Always attacking stuff that you know you can easily defeat isn't the point of this game. So go into that dungeon, attack that keep or mage tower at night and see what pops up. Now look at your hand, skills, the source, etc. and figure out what you need to do to defeat the enemy. Or just get out without a ton of wounds. Until you really start looking at all your options you won't get better at using what you have available.
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David Kitcat
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Thanks all, for your contributions, links and advice. So useful.

Yesterday I decided to play a series of 5-or so solo games with the aim of finishing the run with a game against Volkare.

Last night was a solo first reconnaissance to help remember the basic rules. Today, after reading through this thread, the epic session report on the double megacity conquest and the Tao discussion, I won a solo conquest for the first time (using base game cards, tiles & units). So now I'll add in the Lost Legion components & try a couple more simpler scenarios before I take on Volkare himself.

This thread should be pinned somewhere (or at least well-thumbed) because it is such a good collection of useful pointers for newer players.
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A steady pace is crucial in solo conquest, and this requires a lot of planning ahead.
Ricky Royal's brilliant Mage Knight walkthroughs might give a wrong impression in this regard, because he's playing faster than the majority of players is most likely capable of.
Not taking enough time for planning turns carefully was my biggest mistake early on.

I'm keeping track of all of my solo conquest games, and here's the gist of it:
- If I haven't revealed a brown core tile by the end of round 3, this is one of the rare times when I'm still in danger of losing a game
- If I have revealed a core tile by the end of round 3 but didn't manage to conquer town 1 in round 4, I usually win and end up with a score around 160 to 180
- If I can manage to conquer town 1 in round 4 (making use of the night's black mana spell advantage), I usually end up with a score above 200

Leveling up quickly and increasing your hand size is the clue here.
Taking 1 or 2 wounds per fight is almost never a problem, unless the reward is really not worth it (e.g. roaming orcs).

I wholeheartedly recommend Plothos' detailed walkthrough below, revealing his entire thought and decision process during a 283 points Tovak solo conquest.
While it takes a lot of patience (it's a 10 hours video session), I'm quite positive you will be able to successfully finish your solo conquest(s) afterwards.


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