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Subject: A Lot to Like...but.... rss

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Brent Lloyd
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I have played Mage Knight 8 times now. All the games have been co-operative, none competitive. All my games were two player, except for a single three player game. I have played the first scenario three times, the co-op Blitz three times, the full co-op game once and the Druid scenario once.

There is a LOT to really like about this game:

- I really like the monster variety, the special abilities really set the monsters apart. They are all interesting and unique.
- I really like the exploration aspect of the game, move across the tiles, explore new areas, meet new friends, and meet new enemies.
- I really like the different map areas, Mage Towers, Burrows, Towns, Healing Glades, etc., the variety is awesome, especially in combination with the different monsters at each location.
- I really like the heroes. The one unique card and different combinations of special abilities lend a ton of differences to the heroes.
- I really like the differences between the day and the night.
- I really like the Spells, Artifacts and Advanced Actions.

There are a couple of things that I really dislike:

- I dislike the cards telling me what to do on my turn. I am standing at the entrance of the Dungeon and want to explore it...and the game deals me a bunch of move cards. Rats! Conversely, I have also just finished exploring a Dungeon and want to head back to town...and the game deals me a bunch of influence cards. Rats!

The cards dictate my decisions way too often in this game. Yes, I am aware you can play cards sideways for movement, during combat, or when influencing. Yes, I am also aware that there is a timing element to knowing what cards have passed through your hand and what cards are likely to come up.

Still, it bugs me to want to do something and have the game encourage me to go do something else. I want sex, and the game tells me to go mow the lawn.

- I dislike the "mathy-ness" of some turns. This is especially apparent when you are combating multiple monsters and juggling things like which Mana dice to use, verse what Tokens to take, verse what Crystals to use on which cards and on which monsters and in which order and use which allies and which allies abilities.

It really is a puzzle and you’re not even sure there is an answer, and the game encourages different approaches until you figure it out, or scrape it entirely and go try something else.

I wish this game had:

- Dice! (Besides the Mana Dice!) I guess I am old school, I really like dice for resolving combat. This game has very deterministic combat. I can see the strength of the monster, I can calculate my strength (via figuring out the puzzle) and that's the end of it. I am either victorious or mowing the lawn.

Dice are a wonderful randomizer and build excitement, especially for combat resolution. You are never quite sure of the outcome, that’s exciting. I have yet to see anybody jump up from the table or pump a fist in the air for solving a puzzle; I see it all the time when a great roll is made.


There is a lot of depth to this game and it is very well designed, no question. It is certainly an achievement to put forth a game so tied into modern game mechanisms and so tied into its theme.

For now, the Loves outnumber the Dislikes, but for how long?

Well done Mr. Chvatil. Thank you for the many hours of fun!

Peace
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Daniel Corban
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Have you tried World of Warcraft: The Boardgame? It has dice and is a free-form race.
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Peter O
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Quote:
I want sex, and the game tells me to go mow the lawn.

You earned my thumbs for that phrase alone.
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David Debien
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tranenturm wrote:
Quote:
I want sex, and the game tells me to go mow the lawn.

You earned my thumbs for that phrase alone.


Sometimes you get to have sex, for doing the lawn.
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Thunder wrote:

Dice are a wonderful randomizer and build excitement, especially for combat resolution. You are never quite sure of the outcome, that’s exciting. I have yet to see anybody jump up from the table or pump a fist in the air for solving a puzzle; I see it all the time when a great roll is made.


On the other hand, dice are a horrible randomizer and suck the excitement out of a game when you roll poorly several times in a row. I have seen plenty of games ruined because the dice weren't cooperating. Some of us much prefer hand management or other mechanics.

Also there are a glut of rpg-style boardgames that use dice and we don't need another one. I'm very glad dice were not included in this game. It's my primary reason for purchasing it. If it had just been another dice-fest I would have passed.

Thanks for the review.
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M.J.E. Hendriks
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casualgod wrote:
tranenturm wrote:
Quote:
I want sex, and the game tells me to go mow the lawn.

You earned my thumbs for that phrase alone.


Sometimes you get to have sex, for doing the lawn.


And sometimes you do the lawn and the sex is more pleasurable (or is that too deep? modest)
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Tristan Hall
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Neat review Thunder! thumbsup

I usually love dice in games too, but I agree with alfonzo54 on this one - I'm glad dice are absent from Mage Knight's combat, they just wouldn't fit the strategic feel of the game. Although the maths of a really big turn can sometimes break your head.

I agree with pretty much all of your likes and dislikes too, though for me this...

Thunder wrote:
It really is a puzzle and you’re not even sure there is an answer, and the game encourages different approaches until you figure it out, or scrape it entirely and go try something else.


... Would be under 'Likes', not 'Dislikes'. cool
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David Debien
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alfonzo54 wrote:
Thunder wrote:

Dice are a wonderful randomizer and build excitement, especially for combat resolution. You are never quite sure of the outcome, that’s exciting. I have yet to see anybody jump up from the table or pump a fist in the air for solving a puzzle; I see it all the time when a great roll is made.


On the other hand, dice are a horrible randomizer and suck the excitement out of a game when you roll poorly several times in a row. I have seen plenty of games ruined because the dice weren't cooperating. Some of us much prefer hand management or other mechanics.

Also there are a glut of rpg-style boardgames that use dice and we don't need another one. I'm very glad dice were not included in this game. It's my primary reason for purchasing it. If it had just been another dice-fest I would have passed.

Thanks for the review.


But. There. Are. Dice.
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Jamie Riehl
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casualgod wrote:


But. There. Are. Dice.


The difference is that the randomness (both the dice rolling and the card drawing) happens before you make your decisions, not after. So the options you have for a turn have a random element, but once you chose between those options the result is guaranteed.

What this does it make it possible to plan 1 turn perfectly, but very hard to plan more than one turn ahead (as described in the review).
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James Ludlow
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alfonzo54 wrote:
dice are a horrible randomizer


You probably mean that you prefer a lower variance in games than what the dice offer, but a fair die is by definition a good randomizer.

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Okay I'm sorry guys I'll be annoyingly exacting in my statements from now on since apparently people can't read contextually.

casualgod wrote:


But. There. Are. Dice.


This entire conversation is happening in the context of him wanting to have dice for combat. I am very pleased that the Mage Knight: The Boardgame game does not use dice rolling for a combat or movement mechanic, save perhaps that you may use a mana die from the source to power a card that you will use for the aforementioned parts of the game.

jdludlow wrote:

You probably mean that you prefer a lower variance in games than what the dice offer, but a fair die is by definition a good randomizer.


I aped his phrasing, contrasting the word horrible against his choice of the word wonderful in order to point out that we have a difference of opinion and highlight the fact that making a broad, sweeping statement of this nature (a binary good/bad condition) is unhelpful in a review which is by its very definition an expression of personal preference. I dislike the way dice are used in many games and consider their implementation to often be lazy.
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David Debien
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alfonzo54 wrote:
casualgod wrote:


But. There. Are. Dice.


I meant for combat, and so did he.


Roger that.
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casualgod wrote:
alfonzo54 wrote:
casualgod wrote:


But. There. Are. Dice.


I meant for combat, and so did he.


Roger that.


Hey no fair I was editing so I could be obnoxious. devil
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Seth Pontiff
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You should try having sex while mowing the lawn. That would be a great game.
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David desJardins
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What I really like about the game are all the things you don't like.
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Team Ski
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casualgod wrote:
tranenturm wrote:
Quote:
I want sex, and the game tells me to go mow the lawn.

You earned my thumbs for that phrase alone.


Sometimes you get to have sex, for doing the lawn.


Not in this household....

-Ski
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David desJardins
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Thunder wrote:
I have yet to see anybody jump up from the table or pump a fist in the air for solving a puzzle


You need to spend more time at MIT.
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Alejandro Rascon
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If the game tries to tell me to go mown the lawn instead of having sex, I'll just have sex anyway using sideways cards.

Nice review, i totally get where you are coming from; and still I find MK extremely awesome.

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Tim Seitz
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Thunder wrote:
Still, it bugs me to want to do something and have the game encourage me to go do something else. I want sex, and the game tells me to go mow the lawn.

Apparently you don't know what she really means by that.

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Kapitan Zbik
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I got lost in this review :/ So you comlain about randomness in card but want to see the dices? :/ I think you are still able to do more with 5 cards with influence than with 5 dices with 1? Last time i lost in Eclipse coz in 8 dices i rolled 1 ( one ! ) where 3,4,5 was hit. Where is the control and what statistics say about this? Dices in MK. No thank you.

"mathy-ness"? come on this is one of the reasons some buy ticket to ride and some buy brass.

For me this game is perfect and to blend so much thrill and so many mechanics in one nicely working game. BIG RESPECT FOR Vladaa
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Eduard Navratil
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Go for Prophecy - no mowing the lawn, I promise
You are free to go anywhere you want, as long as you have the money, equipment or skills.
Your character grows and develops over the course of the game, up to the grand finale (unless you are one of the losers who just watch those two champions of fate slugging it out).
You can get hosed/blessed by dice in combat (no crits though, so having the stat by 6 higher then the monster means a sure shot).
Same designer.
Shorter playing time.
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Štěpán Honc
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KapitanZbik wrote:
I got lost in this review :/ So you comlain about randomness in card but want to see the dices? :/ I think you are still able to do more with 5 cards with influence than with 5 dices with 1? Last time i lost in Eclipse coz in 8 dices i rolled 1 ( one ! ) where 3,4,5 was hit. Where is the control and what statistics say about this? Dices in MK. No thank you.

"mathy-ness"? come on this is one of the reasons some buy ticket to ride and some buy brass.

For me this game is perfect and to blend so much thrill and so many mechanics in one nicely working game. BIG RESPECT FOR Vladaa


That's exactly what I wanted to say. The problem is not in non-thematic design of randomness. It's just a different way than most common "I wanna do this, roll dice and see how successful I was". This is rather "Well, I'd wish to explore dungeon but my intuition (cards) tells me something different", so you can still explore the dungeon if you really want by "side effects" of the move cards but it will be much harder for you, as usually is, when you act against your intuition hardly...

My most favorite game is Descent (where dice works pretty different than in MK) but I have no problem to understand different design goals, if they are really good, especially when I know that Vlaada pays a big attention to join theme and his special mechanics always... Exactly the same experience I have with Android by Kevin Wilson. Most of people says it's not an investigation of who is really the murderer, conspiracy is like bingo and so on. But lets try to understand WHY designer chose this way, what this mechanic can represent in here, and you can explore a different world, which people may like or dislike but definitely should try to understand at first...
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Ian Allen
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there are 50 dungeon/wilderness-crawl games out there that have a system for rolling dice for combat and almost none out there that do it with card-choice ... Dungeon Twister? ...

so you want to complain about the very thing that makes this game different from the herd? Sigh ....

Yes, Chess would be better if you rolled a d6 to see how far the pawns could move, but you would have to roll a d10 for the Rook and a d12 for the Bishop - I think the Queen should have a d20 while the king should use a d4 ...now we have fixed Chess! Hurray!
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Daniel Hammond
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I have tried to explain to Brent that the game is just very good at using the cards to simulate life events.

Mountie Brent stands at the door of a great dungeon. The world is in peril and the beast within must be slain...

Darn it, no attack cards! How can I kill this beast without using my allies and with no attack cards!!! Here is what is really happening in the game world...

"Bards begin to compose the song of adventure! Squire hand me my sword!"
"uh, Master Brent your squire was killed vanquishing the orcs at the temple."
"Well then who has my sword...?"
"I think you left it at the inn in the last village where you recruited the foresters."
"ARRRRGGGG! Half the day is wasted while I send someone to fetch my sword. And hurry that incredibly handsome knight will eventually finish his endless training and preparations in the monastery and win this game without me!"

The End

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Brent Lloyd
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I know some folks don't like dice in games. I just happen to be one of those that do. I am just stating my personal preference.

Fantasy games are a love of mine. I do own and have played World of Warcraft, though it has been a while. I own both the Good vs Evil coffin box and also the Adventure small box game. I might just crack this one open and try it again based upon your recommendation.

Prophecy is also in my collection, along with the expansion(s?). This one as well has not hit my table in a long time.

Ian Allen: I am not complaining about the lack of dice, though I can see how some would see it that way. Dice were on my "wish" list, NOT my dislike list. I just like dice, hence my inclusion of them on a wish list. Dice in Chess?!? You go too far, just because I wish MK had dice (for combat resolution) does NOT mean I want dice in all games. I think Chess is a perfect game as it is. Your comment suggesting I want dice in chess is a complete distortion and exaggeration of my "wish".

This game does highlight an interesting aspect of the difference between:

Euro: Randomizers first, then Player Decision
Ameri: Player Decision first, then Randomizers

The Euro does lend itself to more of a "figure the puzzle" out mentality. The Ameri does lend itself to more of a "hopefully this will work out" mentality.

Because of this the Euro is more "solvable" and "predictable". The Ameri is more "risk by calculating the odds, or just go with yer gut".

I guess for me an "Adventure" game by its very nature suggests to me there ought to be an element of the unknown in doing something. I can try to take on the Troll, but I am not 100% sure my plan will work out....there is a Risk...an element of the unknown. I like the edge of my seat feeling in a game that I get when I am not 100% sure a plan will work out. I make the best plan I can...then lets see what happens.

I will be playing Mage Knight more as I mentioned in my initial review. It is a very well crafted game and I do enjoy playing it.

Thanks to all whom contributed comments! The discussion is interesting.

Peace
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