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Subject: Why is this game still a thing rss

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Andrei Savva
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So I see a topic on BGG, where someone is ofering rewards for people to play Magic Realm on Tabletop Simulator. And my question is... Why? Why are people still playing this game in 2019, in the days of Dungeon Crawlers of every color you wish. We have brain burners like Mage Knight, Gloomhaven for insanely long campaigns, The 7th Continent for exploration, Descent with its gadzillion expansions, Monster:Kingdom Death for awesome miniatures, etc, etc.
Why are people still playing this game, that is OOP, has a long setup, and looks like it was published in the... '80s?
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Scott Lewis
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BeatU wrote:
So I see a topic on BGG, where someone is ofering rewards for people to play Magic Realm on Tabletop Simulator. And my question is... Why? Why are people still playing this game in 2019, in the days of Dungeon Crawlers of every color you wish. We have brain burners like Mage Knight, Gloomhaven for insanely long campaigns, The 7th Continent for exploration, Descent with its gadzillion expansions, Monster:Kingdom Death for awesome miniatures, etc, etc.
Why are people still playing this game, that is OOP, has a long setup, and looks like it was published in the... '80s?

Yeah, how dare people like games that they enjoy. People shouldn't be able to enjoy classic movies, either. Or classic paintings. Only new stuff is allowed.

What do you mean some people still like watching things like "Star Wars" ('77)? Or playing old NES video games like Super Mario Bros? They should be ashamed of themselves.
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It wasn't a rock
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Ultimately, people play what they want because they want to.
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Serious Gamer
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BeatU wrote:
So I see a topic on BGG, where someone is ofering rewards for people to play Magic Realm on Tabletop Simulator. And my question is... Why? Why are people still playing this game in 2019, in the days of Dungeon Crawlers of every color you wish. We have brain burners like Mage Knight, Gloomhaven for insanely long campaigns, The 7th Continent for exploration, Descent with its gadzillion expansions, Monster:Kingdom Death for awesome miniatures, etc, etc.
Why are people still playing this game, that is OOP, has a long setup, and looks like it was published in the... '80s?


Oh that's easy. Because it's better than all of those games.
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Mark W
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BeatU wrote:
looks like it was published in the... '80s?

In the 70s, originally, though I don't understand what's bad about this.
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Edwin Nealley

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BeatU wrote:
...Why are people still playing this game, that is OOP, has a long setup, and looks like it was published in the... '80s?


Why are people eagerly awaiting a reprint of Dune or Divine Right, or enjoying the reprint of Fireball Island?

Because these are games which were awesome, and can be awesome still, and which might be prized highly because of it.

One might as well ask why is Gloomhaven ranked so highly when it isn't really an improvement on Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition), in any edition you choose?
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Aaron Bredon
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BeatU wrote:
So I see a topic on BGG, where someone is ofering rewards for people to play Magic Realm on Tabletop Simulator. And my question is... Why? Why are people still playing this game in 2019, in the days of Dungeon Crawlers of every color you wish. We have brain burners like Mage Knight, Gloomhaven for insanely long campaigns, The 7th Continent for exploration, Descent with its gadzillion expansions, Monster:Kingdom Death for awesome miniatures, etc, etc.
Why are people still playing this game, that is OOP, has a long setup, and looks like it was published in the... '80s?


How many of those allow a player to recruit an army of natives and go hunting all the other natives?
How many support direct Player vs. Player combat?
How many allow players to sneak past the mosters, raid their lairs, and get away without even fighting?
How many have a non-corporeal player character without special rules for that?
How many have those characters who can kill dragons easily afraid to death of swarms of goblins, while other characters ho goblin hunting but can only run away from dragons?
In how many can you kill a monster by leading it to a group of knights? By casting a spell to control the monster and riding it to that group of knights?

Each of the options you listed allow players to do only a small subset of things that a protagonist might want to do. Magic Realm allows a player to do many more things than all of them combined.

Magic realm is a truly open world fantasy board game. It allows you to do things you can't even do in open world computer RPGs. You are limited mainly by your ability to think outside the box, using the rules system to accomplish your goals in unique ways.
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Wolkster
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Because people still enjoy playing it. I bought it off the shelf and the rulebook was horrible and the game play is uneven. Tried it again about 10 years ago with a friend who figured out the 3rd edition rules and my initial impression didn't change. It's okay, but it wasn't worth keeping in my collection. Obviously, others have a much different opinion.

I prefer Gloomhaven, Descent v1, and Mage Knight Dungeon. I've also KS'ed 7th Continent and Tainted Grail. We'll see how they stack up...
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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I started with Dragonstrike and Siege of the Citadel (well really Key to the Kingdom but let's not talk about that), Doom, played through both Descent 1st edition campaigns, half the scenarios, Gears of War, I'm currently devouring Mage Knight with 6 hour two player sessions because we both have horrible AP (and that's just a highlight of all my favorites, I've played others of the sort).

I bought Magic Realm a few months ago. Nothing is like this game. Every other game is Tolkien, and Howard, and heroes blazing their way through a dungeon or the Realm conquering and destroying and saving and being everything they want to be.

Magic Realm is "The Last Unicorn." It's magic that barely works under very specific circumstances, heroes who are trying their best (and mostly trying their best to hide). It's time running out, debts piling up, enemies you can't fight, or who aren't worth it, and the ones who are won't show up and do you stick around or maybe stake a spot on a campfire hoping a medium bow will show up (and you roll well enough to buy it).

And after 4 weeks it all comes crashing down anyways. After 6 games or so I don't think I've gotten a positive score. I love this game.
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Mike Urban
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BeatU wrote:
So I see a topic on BGG, where someone is ofering rewards for people to play Magic Realm on Tabletop Simulator. And my question is... Why? Why are people still playing this game in 2019, in the days of Dungeon Crawlers of every color you wish. We have brain burners like Mage Knight, Gloomhaven for insanely long campaigns, The 7th Continent for exploration, Descent with its gadzillion expansions, Monster:Kingdom Death for awesome miniatures, etc, etc.
Why are people still playing this game, that is OOP, has a long setup, and looks like it was published in the... '80s?


Hard to tell whether this is a 'you people must be crazy' troll, or a more sincere 'Wow, people are still playing? It must be special; please sell me on this game!'
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Andrew Vignuzzi
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I saw that there was a whole organization playing this thing called chess!!!! It had wood pieces and squares. Squares. Like 1900 BC Babylonian stuff. And no rulebook - I thought the board was a QR code for it, so I scanned it, but it gave me a defunct website. Meh.

At least set up is easy - white on one side, black on the other.

OK - I'm a Magic Realm player. It's a good game and it is different enough from the others that it really works for some people - and for those people, finding others in their tribe is a big deal - that's all.
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Because it's where it all began and when people play it they can appreciate better where all the other games in the genre fit in the grand scheme of things.

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kuyler lang
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Magic realm, besides being a uniquely enjoyable experience, is a point of origin for Heroquest, Descent, Runebound, Mage Knight, Gloomhaven et al. While each of those games have diverged from, and in most cases improved on, some facets of Magic Realm they all pay homage to it through those elements that originate with it. More importantly, none of them have fully replicated the precise design, unusual approach to the genre, delightful asymmetry, or diverse options available to players. It was, quite simply, a masterful work and will remain a perennial diversion for fantasy fanatics.

Thanks to the OP for prompting a stimulating discussion.
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Michael Bechard
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So I'm going to answer your question and assume you're not just trolling but are genuinely curious. Maybe you've decided to not read similar posts here in these forums and you're just really blown away by how in the hell people could stomach such a muddled, confused mess of a boardgame. Well, I think Magic Realm, even in today's age of modern board games, offers plenty of unique and engaging gameplay, either in spite of or because of (take your pick) it's voluminous ruleset:

* Combat chits: The way it handles exhaustion, injury, leveling up and specific combat maneuvers all with a handful of chits is utterly unique. Basically, the chits one has determine everything; how much you can carry, what magic spells you can fuel, what maneuvers you can do in combat, what weapon and weapon attacks you can use. And the way those chits exhaust in certain circumstances creates some wonderful tension and (again) unique combat situations that I've yet to encounter in any other dungeon crawl, Gloomhaven included. And again, because they're used for almost everything, combat exhaustion has some drastic far-reaching consequences. Pretty fantastic stuff.
* Magic: Magic is a strange, fantastic thing in MR, and (here's that word again) unique in the way it's handled compared to other games. You don't just have spells and manna, and sleep X hours to get back Y manna, oh no. You have spells that are essentially "turned-on" whenever the location you're in has that magic color (think of it as fuel). This has some fairly far-reaching consequences, as you don't really "cast" a spell per-se; you fuel it with magic if you have the capability. So any old idiot can acquire spells, but most of the time can't really use them very well because they don't know how to create the color of magic to fuel the spell. BUT! Most magic users get magic chits (remember the part about chits I mentioned above being awesome?) which they can exhaust (consequences!) to create that magic in their location to trigger the spell. And not just their spells, any spells in that area! So if I'm a magic user, you're the fore-mentioned idiot carrying around an artifact imbued with a spell (something else practically no other dungeon crawler does) that you can't use, if I decide to I can exhaust my magic chit, create the magic color and trigger your spell! Add on the fact that not just magic users with magic chits can create magic color, but things like the time of the month, and certain other artifacts can create magic-fuel... it's fucking fantastic. And I haven't even touched how it can affect the map. It's just brilliant.
* Exploration: Let's talk theme a second. Instead of wandering into a random "forest" location and getting a random encounter from the "forest" deck filled with forest-y monsters and carefully measured loot, Magic Realm takes a more nuanced approach. You get sound chits scattered across the map that indicate what might come up in that clearing. So I might be traveling through the hills or caves and hear fluttering; in the caves it might mean bats, in the hills it might mean a dragon, or it might mean nothing at all depending on dice. Now isn't that more exciting that drawing a random card? Most of us think so. And it gives you more to think about when planning your turn, because it's more predictable than a random draw from a deck! Now I have to consider the chances of waking said dragon while traipsing through the hills vs. coming across something that hisses. And! If those chits have already been triggered and the monster is already there? Whole other ball game. MORE to think about! This game is deep! And thematic as hell!

We love Magic Realm for very good reasons, trust me. It's not all nostalgia. I love games that do something different. There are literally hundreds of dungeon crawlers out there, and a scant handful manage to do something different, something truly enchanting. The rest I would like to burn; they're cash cows. Magic Realm came out decades ago, and it's still at the head of the pack, enchanting those willing to learn how to play a truly unique, transporting, and engaging experience.

Damn, I need to shut-up and play this game more.
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Scott DeMers
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^^^ This. Allllllll day long, this ^^^
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Aaron Bredon
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Oh yeah, I forgot the 'oh ****, I'm out of magic - I'll have to sneak around the Mountain to get to a safe place to rest' followed by 'uh oh, a spider I can't kill' then the glee when you dodge the spider long enough to escape. (Yes, it happened to me - the other player in a similar situation at the same time in the same game wasn't so lucky - he pushed his luck too far and became octopus food)

This is a game where you can be killed by wolves, bats, and spiders just as easily as by dragons, trolls, and giants, and everyone has some creature they fear. Where teaming up with another character radically improves both of your chances of surviving, but you are always thinking: 'is he going to turn on me or abandon me?'

Argh! Now I need to play again too!
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GodRob
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While primarily used for killing vampires, a wooden stake to the heart is also highly effective against most other opponents.
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Because Magic Realm is everything you want it to be.

Maybe not everything but it's not far from the truth. I doubt if any of us who love this game have ever even played using the same rules. I've got my way of playing the game, preferring multiple characters semi-cooperating to achieve their victory points, while others may only ever play the solo character Quest games on multiple boards. I'm not a fan of the advanced combat system and I've never ever controlled a monster with a spell yet others do that every game. And someone, somewhere, somewhen, picked up a campaign chit and used it to their benefit. Doubtful, but it has to be true, right?

Yet even with all of the variations of playing, whether due to using different alternate rules or just different styles of playing the same rules, we can all enjoy the game and enjoy hearing about others games.
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Brad Miller
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Because Richard Hamblen is a genius.

Look at these designs...!
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Sean Franco
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Magic Realm is a fully fleshed-out ecosystem, with different factions, monsters, and individual visitors coming and going as they please. The game gives you actual sounds and smells to help determine what can randomly happen at any given location. People and monsters appear and move around for completely logical reasons. Do you hear fluttering in these caves? Giant bats are probably nearby, but it could be a dragon. Do you need to speak with the Woodfolk? Try hanging out near the small campfire for several nights.

Combat is notoriously complicated and at the same time ostensibly simple, much like paper-rock-scissors. The combat system can handle anything from a duel between players to a hired squad going monster slaying to an all-out war between to large groups. There are little rules that keep coming up, like how attacks resolve in order of the speed of the attack, except during the first round of combat when they resolve in the order of weapon length.

This is a programmed game. Each day, you write down your actions: hide, move, search, enchant, etc. You're committed to those actions before you see what other players are doing or what monsters or denizens of the Realm show up. Conservative players might program in some redundancy. Desperate players might program in their only winning line.

Spell-casting is tricky. Not everyone has access to spells, and those who do have access don't have access to all of them. There are eight different schools of magic, each with a different array of abilities and styles. The White Knight gets "good" magic, but not enough to do anything on his own; he needs to be at the Chapel to even power his spells. The Wizard has access to everything, but nothing in depth. The Witch King has no physical abilities and relies totally on magic, even just to move items around.

The chit system is crazy. It handles movement, inventory management, combat, magic, and health, all in one system. This one is harder to explain without seeing it in action. It's just cool.

Magic Realm is just very cool in general. It meets none of the standards of "modern" gaming, being very long, very complicated, and very simple looking on the table (no minis, no chrome, no crazy dice). The legal status for reprinting it is hazy at best, given that Wizards of the Coast bought Avalon Hill and Hasbro bought WOTC, but designer Richard Hamblen still believed at one point in recent years that he has the rights to reprint his game. Regardless, Hasbro has no interest in printing an unmarketable game like this and most other companies have no interest in risking a license for a reprint. Regardless, this game is fantastic. Find someone who has it and play it. It's very cool.
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that Matt
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"My walk once took me past a beggar whose sign read, You do not DARE throw coins at ME! His body was purple with bruises but his bowl was always full."
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Sorg UR
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Maybe because it still rules, and even decades later, there is still not much out there to take the shine out of it...?
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Hector Flores
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Thanks to OP for posting, troll or not.

Thanks to the MR community for reinvigorating my love for this game.

...and now...into the Magic Realm!
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Stephan Valkyser
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... because it is so much better than any of the other games mentioned.
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Jay Richardson
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See also (from nearly 10 years ago):

Why do you love MR?
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/454830/why-do-you-love-...
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Jason B
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People like what they like. I can't understand why KD:M is a thing. I think it's silly-but people love it.

I am not sure what the date has to do with it. Some of my favorite games to this day are from the 70's, 80's etc.
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