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Subject: Providing Perspective: A Mage Knight Review rss

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Shawn Macleod
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Pearland
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At the time I drafted this posting I was sitting in the airport thinking about how much I was going to miss a chance at playing Mage Knight…I mean my family. Okay…Okay…guilty as charged…I have Mage Knight on my mind. But, I suspect most who read this post also have Mage Knight on their mind.

I’m somewhat knew to BGG. Therefore, I apologize in advance to those who hold dear BGG posting etiquette. I’m a work in progress.

All that said I suddenly feel compelled to draft a pseudo-review of Mage Knight. A majority of the recent posts have been focused on shipment of the game and shipped product quality. Yes, I too am a member of the moist second edition club, but I feel compelled to shift momentum back to discussing the play of Mage Knight.

First things first, I find product quality to be above average (on par with what I expect from a game) assuming you sleeve the cards. I don’t think playing this game with un-sleeved cards is a wise option. The aforementioned is probably the first in a series of hypocritical statements, but I honestly feel the game component quality is pleasing once you get past the (perceived) infant mortality issue with the cards. To be clear, sleeving the cards mitigates any and all concerns.

The artwork is superb. It really draws you into the game. So much so, that before you know it you’re so saturated in theme that you are riding the emotional rollercoaster of a conquering adventure. Yes, this game will give you moments when you feel like you are up against the impossible. The highs are high on this rollercoaster, but I think the game does a good job at leveling some of the lows. I absolutely love games that frustrate me one minute and give me that fist pumping excitement the next. Yes, I’ve read Thunder’s (B. Lloyd) post about the lack of “jump up from the table or pump a fist in the air” moments. Obviously, I have to respectfully disagree.

Perhaps Thunder already knows that he is in the company of easily excitable gamers. Both I and another close friend of Thunder have had quite a few fist pumping moments while playing co-operative scenarios. And, we’ve also had some head hitting the table moments because we didn’t manage our adventure well enough and the game beat us. To that end, losing scenarios never felt like a wasted investment of time.

Speaking of game duration – please be mindful of the time investment this game requires. And, this investment comes from the beginning. You need to take time and watch the videos and do the walk-through scenario. There is a lot of depth to this game and it is very well designed, but not taking the time to learn the game before jumping in could give you a false negative about the game (or, at the very least make your first play a long miserable experience because you spend more time in the rule book than in the game).

The game plays well solo, but I prefer the two player co-operative scenarios. Three experienced players is a significant investment of time, while 4 players is an epic adventure requiring a shower and a change of clothes half way through play. It’s a medium to heavy game (in my opinion) requiring 3-5 hours of available play time (assuming two players).

Earlier I mentioned Thunder’s Mage Knight review/post. I encourage all potential buyers to read his post. You can find it here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/796008/a-lot-to-like-but

I think Thunder’s post is exactly what a review should provide. It was thought stimulating, and it ultimately it played a role in getting me to draft this post. He did an excellent job at capturing a mechanic/element of the game that may not be suitable for everyone. For those that have not read his post, he expresses his initial thoughts about how the cards can dictate your decisions throughout game play. Admittedly, after my first few plays I was on the fence about this very mechanic/element. After some additional play I came to realize this mechanic/element is what I love most about the game.

Yes, the cards do somewhat dictate your decisions. And, they can leave you feeling paralyzed or stymied if you do not plan your journey well enough in advance. But, that is the beauty of the game. No, you can’t kill ogres and fight dragons when you want. And, you most certainly can’t always choose spells, units, and skills that strengthen your attack. You need to have a balance. It is a race against time and you need to plan your player’s/party’s skill development so to ensure you don’t get stuck in the desert during the day or up against dragons you can’t beat. The journey is as much of the experience as the battle.

I really love this aspect of the game. So many games trivialize travelling from point “a” to point “b”. I love the fact that I can’t just rely on some good dice roles to get me where I need to go. Getting through the desert to the castle is as much of the game as fighting the monsters. Is it not more thematic that I can be forced to waste a unit to travel that I was hoping to reserve for battle? Look to the classic novels and movies that force sacrifice during the journey/travel and before the climactic moment. You don’t go into battle with the units you want, you go into battle with the units you have. Awesome!

Cheers.
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Josko Tosic
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Travelling through this review was not as painful as travelling through a desert (both in this game and reality). Thanks for sharing your feelings. You certainly deserve a delicious dessert!
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David Debien
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johtara wrote:
Travelling through this review was not as painful as travelling through a desert (both in this game and reality). Thanks for sharing your feelings. You certainly deserve a delicious dessert!


Can you clarify if that was a day move or a night move through the desert you were comparing it to?
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aaron belmer
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Webster Groves
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Brilliant last paragraph, i concur. Great review!
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Shawn Macleod
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johtara wrote:
Travelling through this review was not as painful as travelling through a desert (both in this game and reality). Thanks for sharing your feelings. You certainly deserve a delicious dessert!


Ha! Like I said, sitting in the airport with Mage Knight on the mind. Apologies for the lengthy review.
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Salim Khoury
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Give Grace, Always.
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Nice job, you caused me to finally pull the trigger and buy the game as part of my Summer goal to play with my 17 year old son...saddle up!
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Ik ben een kleine boefje
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2006/2011 (Amsterdam - Maastricht - Apeldoorn - Den Haag -Delft) Vijf jaar dat ik ga nooit vergeten.
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Excellent review, I completly agree with it.
 
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