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Subject: Solo conquest; or, how MK conquered me rss

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Paul S
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I played my second game last night, having run the "1st recon" introductory scenario the day before.

I decided to jump into the deep end with the full length solo conquest over 3 days & nights.

It took a long time, but I was certainly speeding up - until I came across the cities and realised that the beast had been hiding its nastiness under a bushel.

Here goes for a report. There are a number of "notes/questions to self" in here, and some preliminary views, but on the whole it's more session report than anything else. The pics are iphone jobs and not great at max res.

A few practical points:

- I've bagged up each player's cards, shields, skills etc separately as suggested - but the box ain't gonna shut with the insert as is, which is a shame since the insert's otherwise very good. Think I might try experimenting with a counter tray so I can keep the insert

- some of the cards seem to tend to fold slightly along the vertical axis - I read that elsewhere, and wonder if sleeving might help (though it will further render useless the insert, I fear)

- I ended up playing on a small coffee table, since the bigger table was otherwise engaged. With a couple of trays to keep stuff tidy, it worked remarkably well. I wouldn't be put off by the sprawling size, provided you can innovate with a tray or board or 2

See:



That also shows the starting situation.

A prettier shot:



The art on the tiles is great - love how the mountains almost seem to have real depth here. My only problem initially was differentiating between hills and wasteland, but it's easy enough once you do it a few times. Note: the wrinkly brown stuff to the northeast is wasteland. I think.

The obligatory close up:



What is she wearing?!

I'm Arythea. Goldyx is dummy. I've realised since I played the intro that one thing I missed was adding mana tokens to the dummy by reference to the spell colour that goes back to the bottom of the deck each round. That makes the dummy move significantly more quickly, and I had to rush to keep up a couple of times tonight.

Day 1

Got to get away from these cliffs, I've spent all day pushing orcs off.

Time to relieve some tension by threatening the nearby villagers. To my surprise the peasants want to join up. Must be the new bikini.

Magical Glades are a nice place to stop. And those orcs next door can be dealt with by some ranged shots, no trouble. My fame begins to grow, and the threatened peasants are looking at me a little less unhappily.

Won't last, when they realise they're cannon fodder.

Mana Draw is an interesting ability. I paid one white from the source, then took a depleted black from the source and made it blue for 2 mana tokens, also returning it to the source still blue (thus getting rid of a depleted token too - nice, if that's right, and I think it probably is).

Time to try something tougher. That crooked wizard's tower looks promising. Tougher than the orcs, but no biggie. I learn a new spell as I kick the old wiz around a bit - Demolish. Evil grin.

Night 1

That Mana Search looks useful - you can use it every turn, it seems. Handy.

Back to the village. The countryside here is pretty unpleasant - green pastures seem few and far between and my style is a spot cramped as a result.

An afternoon at the old mine pays red crystal dividends. Time to finish off a few more orcs, then. And explore some more. And maybe another mage tower since the other was easy enough.

Ouch. That hurt. Note to self: going running into unknown wizards' towers in the dead of night is not clever. This guy must have heard of my antics with his brother wiz yesterday, and has gone and poisoned every visible surface. 2 wounds, with 2 more into my discard pile. Disaster. Going to take a bit of fixing.

Not sure the Burning Shield spell was worth it.

Day 2

Fame 17. Rep 0.

A healing start to the day. In hindsight I've lost half of the day as a result.

More exploring and more dead orcs - Burning shield works, but as I read it I need to spend 2 red mana to use it to both block and attack, so it's not cheap. Must check the forums.

A red-roofed city appears on the horizon. Not something I dare attempt yet, and the nearby ruins look worryingly spooky, too. Maybe they'll be more inviting in the light.



Look at those nasties around the city. I can't think about taking them on yet, let alone contemplate Big Red itself.


Night 2


I suspect I explored too quickly, hitting the city on day 2. I've had to backtrack, since I'm plainly not tough enough to bash on. But the lie of the land has been difficult; I've felt channeled by some awkward mountains and wastelands; not sure whether this is typical, but the intro scenario yesterday felt miles easier in terms of ease of access between A B & C.

Looking at this Concentration ability - a shame it doesn't work on spells, since it refers to Action cards only.

I take on some ruins and hit Fame 28. Finally a monastery appears. I might head over that way, see if they've got the monk on...

Day 3

Time is passing frighteningly quickly, and I realise with just 2 rounds left, chances are I'll not be winning this one.

But I'm noticeably tougher than I was, which is good.

Spawning Grounds begone! Oooh. Horn of Wrath looks very useful. Fame up to a measly 37, rep still at 0.

The Endless Bag of Gold is nice, too, though I'm not sure where I got it, now. But with Glittering fortune I can pump out 8 influence without breaking a sweat, so I'm soon recruiting some decent Units - Ice Mages and Catapults look like good city-killers to me.

My first keep goes down easily enough (did I mention that Horn?) In another game I'd be quicker to have a pop at keeps. They help boost your hand size and enable purchase of certain units. Should have had a go earlier.

Night 3

Fame 43. Not easy, this fame and fortune thing.

I take out one of the Draconum adjacent to city 1 (str 5 - I've given up hope of taking the 2nd city out tonight) - ranged combat again pays dividends.



But that doesn't leave me much for the city. I decide to pile in, since what's to lose?

Lots, it turns out. Here are the inhabitants:



I've got a pair of nasty brutal beasties that I have to deal with, but whatever happens I'm taking a bunch of wounds. Demolish lets me use ranged attacks against the armour 6 worm-thing. One down. Ouch for the wounds.

Payback is sweet - I've got an armour 8, physically resistant bad guy and I pull Battle Versatility which with a red crystal is 3 fire. All the rest of my damage dealing is physical, so I figure I need 10 ((8 - 3) x2) to finish him. Blood rage costs a second red crystal and risks a wound but now there's nothing at all to lose. I've one card left in my hand which sideways adds 1 to the Blood rage 9 = 10 and a big cheer.

I've killed 2 out of 3 of the city guardians, but I'm out of useful cards.

Fame is fleeting, but failure doesn't sting too much when you're having fun.

Scoring

I calculate a probably shockingly low 96. Ended up on 66 on the track, with 2 spells, 3 advanced actions, 2 artifacts, 2 crystals left, 3 x L3 units, 3 shields on towers/keeps and 2 adventure sites claimed.

Concluding thoughts

Pretty amazing. I was on and off the game as other things called, but I'm guessing 4 hours solid, or so. Didn't feel like that long. Arkham Horror when it runs that long can end up with a last hour of "just going through the motions" with the same old stuff, but here it felt fresh and interesting and the variety of choices was really impressive.

It's not easy. Or at least, I don't think it is! I blamed the tile layout, to an extent, since in the first couple of rounds I felt I wasted a fair bit of time moving around obstacles, and a glance at the unused tiles suggests that maybe a different layout would help with that but to be fair I am sure inexperience & poor judgment were the significant factors. Still, always useful to have an excuse for failure!

Taking out a level 5 city looks achievable to me, in 3 days, from what I managed tonight - but taking out 2?!! A substantial mountain to climb, I think. Which is great, since it will make for replayability.

The rules are heavy but soon start to make sense. It helps once you start to know what's where in which book. I'll be printing out the "sites quick reference" pronto, since I found it a bit of a pain looking through the double-sided site cards; but even there, it isn't long before you don't need to look up what a village does. The Rules, for all I've seen criticisms of them, are wonderfully concise and clear when you get down to the nitty-gritty. Look at the Combat page for example - it covers everything without repetition (deviation, or hesitation). Universal Head will have his job cut out here - a cheat sheet might end up longer than the rules.

It is a proper puzzler. More than once I was ready to throw up my arms and give in on a fight I couldn't win, but another 5 minutes working through the options - and there are a LOT of possible permutations most turns - turned up a solution that was elegant and simple and had been utterly out of sight 5 minutes earlier.

Enough for now, I'm sure this is one where I'll be posting more in due course. Looking forward to trying this with real opponents, but as a solo experience I'm delighted with it.
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Jason Waeber
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Just FTR, there are no dragons in the red cities - those are violet (mage tower) guys. In any event, you did better than you thought, having to fight a dragon alongside the other baddies.
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Seppel (BGG)
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really nice session report - fun to read your adventures

Just two quick remarks:
- there are no Draconums as city habitants. Check the City Reference Cards in the files section...
- why do you think you need 2 mana for "Burning shield"? I dont think so...
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Paul S
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Thanks for the comments.

My eyes must be going. I peered and peered at the city base and was sure it was a white, a brown and a "red" or whatever you call the draconums.

Thanks for the link to the City Reference Cards - printing those and will ignore the bases in future.

Interesting re: Burning Shield. As I read it, you spend a red mana to activate the spell. It blocks at +4 and you can then use the card to attack - but "using" the card, I assumed, meant paying the red mana again. At least I think it's capable of bearing that meaning.

I prefer your suggestion! I did wonder, but decided, since I wasn't sure, to go the harder route.

Edit: page 8 of the official FAQ thread in the Rules forum tells me I am certainly not alone with poor eyesight where the city bases are concerned. Good. Not totally blind, then.
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brad poon
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Beloch wrote:

- I've bagged up each player's cards, shields, skills etc separately as suggested - but the box ain't gonna shut with the insert as is, which is a shame since the insert's otherwise very good. Think I might try experimenting with a counter tray so I can keep the insert


Try storing the 4 player bags underneath the figures tray. It worked nicely for me and everything fits snugly in the box.
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Matthew Jeffries
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I was wondering what a "par" score would be for this solo scenario.

I had one game under my belt and then played the solo conquest. I got a 164 (conquered both cities). The only "strategy" that I used was storing up lots of mana crystals for the final battle. Then, for the final battles, I used that skill that lets you convert movement points into attack. I just had all my units block while I dealt massive damage. I also picked up movement related advanced skills along the way. Also, thumbs up for maximal effect! Also, I made sure I went first for the 3rd night so I didn't have to rush, which let me set up my final hand for attacking the second (level 8?) city.

Love this game!
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Paul S
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poondog wrote:
Try storing the 4 player bags underneath the figures tray. It worked nicely for me and everything fits snugly in the box.


I think maybe I need smaller bags, then. Mine cause the insert to stick up. I'll try with smaller bags. Thanks
 
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Paul S
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madchow wrote:

I had one game under my belt and then played the solo conquest. I got a 164 (conquered both cities). The only "strategy" that I used was storing up lots of mana crystals for the final battle. Then, for the final battles, I used that skill that lets you convert movement points into attack. I just had all my units block while I dealt massive damage. I also picked up movement related advanced skills along the way. Also, thumbs up for maximal effect!


I am patently not worthy! surprise Great work. I see from other reports that 250 averages are achievable, but after just one full session these scores look a lifetime away laugh

Quote:
Love this game!


No disagreement here. It's my weekly games night tonight, with 6 of us in attendance, and all I'm thinking is "shame it's not 4..." devil
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Paul Grogan
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Beloch wrote:
No disagreement here. It's my weekly games night tonight, with 6 of us in attendance, and all I'm thinking is "shame it's not 4..." devil


You're best plan is another copy of the game and 2 x 3 player games
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Paul S
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PaulGrogan wrote:

You're best plan is another copy of the game and 2 x 3 player games


Dead right

Though in fact we are a social group, more than a gaming one, so we always play together. We are 6 or 7 most weeks so 3/4 player games don't see much table time. It'll be Flash Point tonight I think. I'm trying to sort a "boys night" where the 4 guys can hit the heavier stuff like this (and MoM & M&M & so on...) I suspect MK will be mainly a solo thing for me.
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James Champagne
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On storage:

What I did was take the two smaller inserts out and threw them away. Then I kept the figures in the card well, the cards (in sleeves) in the tuck boxes I found on this site, and the tokens and dice in pill bottles. The only things I keep in baggies are the skill tokens, shield tokens, and command tokens. I keep the mana tokens in the small baggie that came with the game. I've found this to be the best way to store everything nicely in the box.
 
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James Champagne
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Beloch wrote:
PaulGrogan wrote:

You're best plan is another copy of the game and 2 x 3 player games


Dead right

Though in fact we are a social group, more than a gaming one, so we always play together. We are 6 or 7 most weeks so 3/4 player games don't see much table time. It'll be Flash Point tonight I think. I'm trying to sort a "boys night" where the 4 guys can hit the heavier stuff like this (and MoM & M&M & so on...) I suspect MK will be mainly a solo thing for me.


MK is fine as a solo game, but it's so much better with friends. Even when played competitively, you'll find everyone cheering on their opponents, which is somewhat rare to find. There are also more layers of strategy, as you find yourself trying to weigh the risks and benefits of attacking a player who is more famous than you or just in the way. There are also skills and spells that can only be explored with friends, and the pace is more comfortable, as well. You owe it to yourself to try it with friends on your "boys night", or else invest in another copy of the game.
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