Recommend
62 
 Thumb up
 Hide
38 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Mage Knight Board Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Four plays in four days: What I've learned rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Paul Beakley
United States
Tempe
AZ
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So we had our first kid on 12/9, and there have been a lot of late nights these past few weeks. My shift is 8pm through 2am, if things work well, which means I've had lots of downtime between feedings and diapers to play some solitaire MK. I finally got my box last week, devoured the books, and got down to business.

Game 1: Solitaire walkthrough

My first game was rough, I won't lie. The solitaire rules don't show up 'til the Scenario section of the main rules, meaning it's a long stretch between reading the walkthrough, setting up the walkthrough, and stumbling along through the rules-rules before finally getting to the Solitaire rules...which make very little sense out of context of actual play experience.

I picked Arythea and set up Tovak as my dummy. Didn't set Tovak up with his default crystals so it was a much gentler draw than normal (which is probably okay on the walkthrough, which has no timer). Ran into all the usual questions and stumbles: which hexes can I walk through and which ones will stop me? How does resistance work? Wait, shoot, was that Swift? What does the Village icon look like?

There are a lot of moving parts that suddenly start moving all at once: your first MK game is going to feel like learning how to juggle by grabbing three balls already in the air on their own trajectories.

Nothing really notable about the first game other than stumbling all over the map and fumbling through card combos, until I found the city tile. Beat a dragon. Cleaned out some ruins. Got a couple spells and an artifact, none of which I actually saw any use of.

I think the one big takeaway I had from game 1 is that there is precious little deckbuilding in this game. Since each day by definition is only one go through your deck, each special thing you get is only going to see one use that round. I love that new acquisitions go right on top of your draw pile (shades of Eminent Domain! yay instant gratification!), but still. I think it'll be super-interesting to see if expansions bring us other deck-manipulation tricks (culling, churning, etc.). They're already in the Tactics you choose for the day, sort of, but it's a very gentle touch.

Things I missed on my first playthrough:
* The impact on Reputation from hitting settlements and rampagers
* The crystals on the dummy player
* Exactly how various resistances work

Game 2

Game 2 was a solitaire Conquest. Now that I saw how the dummy player actually worked, and caught a slew of dumb little mistakes on my re-readthrough after Game 1, I felt like this was going to be a much better experience.

Character this time was Norowas, because I wanted to see an Influence-heavy character do his thing. Holy smokes, Norowas is tough to play solitaire! I scooped up followers quickly, but didn't really understand how best to use units. I'm very grateful the rulebook points out the whole "activate your unit to make a ranged attack and you can still assign damage to them afterward" timing trick. What was less obvious was that you can just go re-hire new dudes right into that slot and they come in lemony-fresh (it's buried in the "Units" rules in the rulebook). I actually felt slightly guilty for ditching my poor beat-to-shit Crossbowmen and replacing them with energetic new Foresters when it was time to get across the map fast.

Lost the game terribly because I was just so dog-slow on the map. The dummy player, with a properly set-up timer, is a brutal countdown. I had no idea, either, of just how badass the cities would be. I didn't really read the city rules 'til I actually found my first city, which turned out to be Red City at the end of Night 3. With just one round to go and some damage left by defeating the dragon squatting at Red City's door, there was just no way I could deal with the city *and* haul ass across the map to find the last city. Fail.

Things I learned on my second playthrough:
* Better tricks for assigning damage to units while still getting value out of them
* You're probably better off going hard into good-guy OR bad-guy Reputation territory than floating along near neutral. I never really got the benefits of either approach.
* The game is very, very short even with six rounds to play in. If I'd had any idea how short it was I would not have spent more than a couple turns on any given map tile. It's pretty hard to get all the way to the core tiles when it's just you. soblue

Game 3

After seeing my solitaire games set up all over the dining room table, my wife decided she wanted in on the action. And since I'd be teaching players the game in a couple days, I appreciated having someone not-me to teach. So game 3 was the 2 player intro scenario. I took Goldyx, she took Tovak.

Having a live player, rather than that goddamned dummy, really smoothed things out in the intro. Play was much gentler, and with two of us poking around the map it opened up the play space much faster. I went to the right, she went to the left, and we built a big "V" out of wilderness tiles.

On the third playthrough, finally, the deck started making more sense. What I'd already played out could be weighed against the time remaining and the current map state. I could plan! By god, I COULD PLAN.

Okay...Tovak is a stone cold badass. Very impressive skill chits. Very, very impressive in that he can take a fair bit of damage and just say "meh". I really liked Goldyx as well, although I was never in the right place on the map to get a hold of spells and put his crystal-making powers to better use. Both seemed like much better choices than Arythea or Norowas, at least for my play style.

Tovak took an early lead mostly due to better map options and easier opponents. Teaching the game is tricky because it's a big data dump right up front: cards and mana and turns and interacting and combat and moving, and you have to know it ALL before your first turn. But she didn't want or need help working out her own combos, and did very well to start. She'd gotten 7 fame before I'd gotten my first.

Goldyx started grabbing units early, mostly leveraging my better understanding of how they work and how awesome they are. This was instructive to Tovak, but she was really just aping me and not planning around what was in the unit offer.

When we finally found the city and finished the game, I also got to score for-reals for the first time. I just hadn't seen the point of tallying my score in a solitaire game. So that was interesting! She had scraped together a couple spells and a couple advanced actions, so she handily won the "learning" achievement. I won the Units achievement. I think we tied on the rest. I ended up with an 8-point lead, which is not huge given I'd played twice before.

Things I learned in game 3:

* Having more than one player more than doubles what's going on on the map. It was very interesting.
* Interaction absent PvP is all very indirect and euro-style: I can snake up actions and units the other player wants, or go squat a ruin or town you want to get to, or stick my flag into a keep that's on your route. It's not *quite* parallel solitaire but it's perilously close.
* Taking wounds is not-so-bad. Really, it's not a big deal at all.

Game 4

Immediately following our game 3, I had my next baby shift so I went ahead and set up a fresh new Solo Conquest game. This time I had to play Tovak! This arose from a combination of watching my wife do cool shit with him as well as my newfound comfort with taking wounds.

Oh man. What a disaster.

The wilderness draw sucked so bad: no monasteries, no keeps, just towers and ruins and monster dens as far as the eye could see. Forests in all the wrong places. Shitty units in the offer. Ugh.

I slogged through as fast as possible, knowing from Game 2 that the timer was going to be relentless. I headed over to the right coast and aimed pretty much straight up, trying to explore and burn through wilderness as quickly as possible.

My fatal flaw was eyeballing what looked to be an "easy" ruin to go loot: one green one brown, how hard could it be? I had a couple units, a pretty good draw, let's do this thing.

Turns out those ruins had a medusa and an orc summoner, i.e. who the fuck KNOWS what's actually in those ruins? We deal with the medusa but the summoner brings up...another medusa. So my unit has to die (better them than me). Convinced I can deal with "just a summoner," I stick it out for a turn.

My dummy player is Arythea, and that turns out to be a problem: due to poor planning, I have allowed her to pull 5 red crystals. And what's she drawing? Red cards. Fuck me. 8 cards at a time and the timer is running down FAST on this "easy" ruin-looting expedition.

I go back in and face the summoner again. This time it's a Crypt Worm. God DAMN it, I soak up a ton more hits and am stopped once more. It takes me three turns total and I think 6 damage before I crack open the ruins. I get the Book of Knowledge, which is nice and all, but jeez.

At this point, despite Tovak's awesome damage-blowoff stuff and a good grip of healer units and healing cards, my damage brings me to a halt.

Turn after turn of resting out my wounds (feels a lot like Thunderstone at this point), stumbling toward a village so I can threaten some local mooks into healing me faster, pulling more wounds, resting them out. I think I spend all night recovering from that stupid, stupid expedition into the ruins. So stupid. At this point the game feels very very much like a bad few rounds in Magic Realm. I am going to write a more comprehensive comparison/contrast between these games at some point I think.

So at least I'm one round ahead when I find the first core tile. Not a city. Jesus wept. But I've wisely set myself up on the corner of the tile where I can scout two tiles without moving. Next tile, NOT A CITY. Are you joking me? Instead, I get endless tracts of open desert with a nice little "3x red mana for 7 fate" altar. Slog across the desert, make my ablution, scout again.

First city shows itself at the start of the final night, and once again I'm really in no shape to bust down its doors. Taking a swing means I'm going to fill my hand, once more, with more damage than I can deal with. Such bullshit.

Game 4: FAIL.

Things I learned:

* There are definitely better spots from which to scout new tiles when you're playing solitaire.

* If you can't crack the ruins or any other combat in one turn, don't bother.

* Damage you don't have a plan for can be a game-loser for you. It might even be a game-loser when you DO have a plan (Tovak + Herbalists + Refreshing Walk should = happy days, but only if you draw right).

Tonight is my first four-player intro game. At least I know the rules!
67 
 Thumb up
2.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Lott
United States
Little Elm
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Beware: The 4 player game will last a LONG time, especially with newbies. We're talking TI3 long.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Brokaw
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
It's not a damn moped!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not sure 4 player would be fun. Solo is fun. 2-player is fun. TOo much down time in more players most likely.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christine Biancheria
United States
Pittsburgh
PA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You're not "chaining" with the dummy draws right? Meaning, you end with red, she has three red crystals, you draw three cards. Another red at the end, draw three more. We played with a dummy the other day, and decided there was nothing in the rules about chaining at the end of the draw. Do you agree?

Thanks for the great write-up. Very good to read.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Grogan
United Kingdom
Cullompton
Devon
flag msg tools
designer
Check out all my instructional How to Play videos at youtube.com/GamingRulesVideos
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Christine Biancheria wrote:
You're not "chaining" with the dummy draws right? Meaning, you end with red, she has three red crystals, you draw three cards. Another red at the end, draw three more. We played with a dummy the other day, and decided there was nothing in the rules about chaining at the end of the draw. Do you agree?

Thanks for the great write-up. Very good to read.


You definitely do not 'chain' the dummy players draws. I vaguely remember reading this in the rules somewhere, but I read those rules so many times its all a blur
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
flag msg tools
NFHS Football & Basketball
badge
Dread Our Coming, Suffer Our Presence, Embrace Our Glory (Solonavi War Cry)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
PaulGrogan wrote:
Christine Biancheria wrote:
You're not "chaining" with the dummy draws right? Meaning, you end with red, she has three red crystals, you draw three cards. Another red at the end, draw three more. We played with a dummy the other day, and decided there was nothing in the rules about chaining at the end of the draw. Do you agree?

Thanks for the great write-up. Very good to read.


You definitely do not 'chain' the dummy players draws. I vaguely remember reading this in the rules somewhere, but I read those rules so many times its all a blur

It's there If you DID chain them, if the dummy player ever happened to get even 1 crystal of each color, it would only take 1 turn for it to empty its entire deck, since no matter what card it ends with, chaining would require future draws, which would end with a card requiring more, etc
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian
France
Lyon
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Christine Biancheria wrote:
We played with a dummy the other day, and decided there was nothing in the rules about chaining at the end of the draw.

Rules explicitly say not to chain. P. 12, When it is the Dummy player's turn: [...] the color of the additionally flipped card(s) does not matter.

Great reading, Paul.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Beakley
United States
Tempe
AZ
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nope! Didn't chain, just ended up with some very unlucky draws. Blue blue RED ... 5 red crystals, five more cards. White green RED ... 5 red crystals, five more cards. And so on and so on.

My own fault, sort of, although without taking the time to beat on some mage towers, there was no way for me to control which crystals she was pulling. So attempting to manage the dummy player would have cost even more time than I had already wasted in that stupid, stupid, ruin.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rick O
United States
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm still working my way through the rules myself. In your Game #3, it sounds like you didn't use a Dummy deck. My understanding is one uses a Dummy deck for both Solo and Cooperative scenarios. So 2 players doing co-op would still use the Dummy to pace the play. Or not? Do I have this wrong?

Thanks for the writeup. I enjoyed reading through it.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Debien
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ralan wrote:
I'm still working my way through the rules myself. In your Game #3, it sounds like you didn't use a Dummy deck. My understanding is one uses a Dummy deck for both Solo and Cooperative scenarios. So 2 players doing co-op would still use the Dummy to pace the play. Or not? Do I have this wrong?

Thanks for the writeup. I enjoyed reading through it.



I don't think his game #3 was co-op.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rick O
United States
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe not. The comment that "interaction absent PvP" made me think it might be.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christine Biancheria
United States
Pittsburgh
PA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's a great game, and I like it more and more, but the rules do take some time to digest. I still probably haven't played it totally right yet, but I'm looking forward to more attempts. Thanks to Paul, too, for being so ever-present on rules questions and discussions. Great support for the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Yost
United States
Bothell
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thumbing just because I had my first kid on 12/7 and I also spent part of December learning the game by myself as well. I feel a kinship with you!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Forrey
United States
Dallastown
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Playing with the "dummy player" just isn't a fun part of the game IMO. I really won;t play the game solitaire and as long as i have one other to play with i won't add one either.

Having played numerous games with varied numbers of players now i would say 2 is a really fun game and 3 experienced players can really turn up the heat on each other even if you suspend the pvp rules. Cooperative was fun but competitive was more to my groups liking.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Beakley
United States
Tempe
AZ
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quick followup:

Training game with four players was *easy*. Easy-peasy, under 3 hours to completion. I will not say, though, that this would have been the case if I had just done a read-through and then we all sat down. My 4x games prior to the training game was absolutely vital to cementing the overall flow of the game as well as some niggling little procedural things that make the game work.

The training game went by so fast, in fact, that everyone was all WE MUST PLAY THIS AGAIN RIGHT NOW. It's uh...9:45 guys, but whatever, I'm on baby duty now anyway. So we busted out the Blitz Conquest on an open 4-wide map. Oh man, gorgeous play. Got worked hard playing Goldyx but pulled out an extremely close second. First place was Tovak's player, who has really figured this game out fast. I'd say the blitz conquest took us a solid 4 hours. Some turns are long, others are short. There were also a few rules look-ups, like how exactly a co-op city assault works. Started finding the edge cases in the game as well (example: you *may* pull in a rampager if moving into a fortification would trigger an attack, but you *must* pull in a rampager if you're co-op assaulting a city).

Anyway, we've now got three new diehards chomping at the bit to get back in on a two-game night sometime soon.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian
France
Lyon
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
PBeakley wrote:
Quick followup:you *may* pull in a rampager if moving into a fortification would trigger an attack, but you *must* pull in a rampager if you're co-op assaulting a city

Actually I think they are treated the same, it depends only on wether you are challenging or provoking.
In p. 7, 2.c it says "you may provoke a rampaging enemy by your move" like in "it's possible that your move provokes an enemy", not like in "you may choose to fight a provoked enemy".
As I understand it, "provoke" always leads to a mandatory combat, challenge is always optional.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Lott
United States
Little Elm
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I knew the rules inside and out for our 4 player game and it still took 8 hours. Guess it depends on your group.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Brokaw
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
It's not a damn moped!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ferris1971 wrote:
Guess it depends on your group.

This is definitely the issue.

People talk about "Analysis Paralysis" and tend to just throw that term around whenever anyone is slow.

But one of my friends TRULY suffers from AP. He considers EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE ACTION and PREDICTS EVERY SINGLE OUTCOME and weighs those outcomes against one another before he will select an action. And he is not fast at these computations. I tried teaching him Mage Knight and he nearly shut down. I will not bring this game up again with him!

(He wins far more than he loses, so his calculations are rewarded, but it is not fun waiting so much for him. I have a ton of fun playing other games with him, but I'm very selective at what I try to teach him lately.)
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Silidus
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
PBeakley wrote:
Nope! Didn't chain, just ended up with some very unlucky draws. Blue blue RED ... 5 red crystals, five more cards. White green RED ... 5 red crystals, five more cards. And so on and so on.

My own fault, sort of, although without taking the time to beat on some mage towers, there was no way for me to control which crystals she was pulling. So attempting to manage the dummy player would have cost even more time than I had already wasted in that stupid, stupid, ruin.


I am pretty sure the dummy player lives by the same restrictions as regular players. Ie.. dummy cannot have more than 3 crystals of any given color, so you should be buring at MOST 6 cards from the dummy deck on any given turn.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Grogan
United Kingdom
Cullompton
Devon
flag msg tools
designer
Check out all my instructional How to Play videos at youtube.com/GamingRulesVideos
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Silidus wrote:
Ie.. dummy cannot have more than 3 crystals of any given color, so you should be buring at MOST 6 cards from the dummy deck on any given turn.


Rulebook. Page 12.

Dummy player can have >3 crystals.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Beakley
United States
Tempe
AZ
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Kris wrote:
PBeakley wrote:
Quick followup:you *may* pull in a rampager if moving into a fortification would trigger an attack, but you *must* pull in a rampager if you're co-op assaulting a city

Actually I think they are treated the same, it depends only on wether you are challenging or provoking.
In p. 7, 2.c it says "you may provoke a rampaging enemy by your move" like in "it's possible that your move provokes an enemy", not like in "you may choose to fight a provoked enemy".
As I understand it, "provoke" always leads to a mandatory combat, challenge is always optional.


Well...this is an interesting question! I've moved it over to the Official FAQ thread for thread hygiene.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Silidus
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
PaulGrogan wrote:
Silidus wrote:
Ie.. dummy cannot have more than 3 crystals of any given color, so you should be buring at MOST 6 cards from the dummy deck on any given turn.


Rulebook. Page 12.

Dummy player can have >3 crystals.



whoops!! Totally missed that.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Clarke
Canada
Port Coquitlam
B.C.
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

PBeakley wrote:
Turns out those ruins had a medusa and an orc summoner, i.e. who the fuck KNOWS what's actually in those ruins?

You do. They're turned face up in daylight.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
D D
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
PBeakley wrote:

Having a live player, rather than that goddamned dummy, really smoothed things out in the intro.


I may be wrong, but isn't the dummy player still recommended in a 2 player game?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Debien
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
D31277 wrote:
PBeakley wrote:

Having a live player, rather than that goddamned dummy, really smoothed things out in the intro.


I may be wrong, but isn't the dummy player still recommended in a 2 player game?


The dummy is used in solo and co-op games only. His 2 player game was not co-op.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.