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Subject: Any Game Recommendations for an Obsessed Mage Knight? rss

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Miles Archer
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Over the last month Mage Knight has become the prized jewel of my game collection. Now that I can say, without reservations, that Mage Knight is my favorite game, what other games should I be looking into?

The closest things I have to adventure games in my collection are: Tales of the Arabian Nights (Which I thought I would love, but I actively dislike.)and Merchants & Marauders (Which I like, but probably more for its theme than its mechanics.)

I really like Space Alert, Dungeon Petz, Alien Frontiers, Battlestar Galactica, and Small World. I'm rather lukewarm on Agricola, Carcassonne, and Settlers - these are games which I hold in high regard and admire, but have a hard time really enjoying.

I'm in the weird position where I feel like I belong in the Ameritrash camp for how much I like games with powerful themes and adventures, but I am pretty certain I would hate Arkham Horror. My favorite parts of Mage Knight include being able to explore, choosing my own path through the game, powering up, and preparing for that big battle at the end.

Is Runebound worth checking out? Should I be excited for the new Descent? What are your favorite adventure games?

Thanks a ton, have a great one guys!

P.S.
I had a dream last night that I was playing something akin to Merchants & Marauders but with all the mechanics of Mage Knight. I had to stumble out of bed, at like 4am, to write this down. The Post-It note reads: MageKnight, Merchants & Marauders, Ships as Units. It doesn't even make sense, but a man can dream, can't he? arrrh

 
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Luke
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You might really like Wrath of Ashardalon.

It's the second game in the D&D Adventure board game system.

It has many of the qualities you've described, like exploring, powering up and preparing for a boss fight. Of the three games in the series, I believe this one best represents the strengths of the series and best matches the game you're looking for.

It's generally going to be shorter than Mage Knight, but multiple sessions can be linked together into a campaign.

There is a lot of activity in the mod community for it on the forums here as well.

There are plenty of good reviews there as well. I've put many, many hours into it as a solo player but also with my group.

Check out some reviews, you'll probably like it.

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Adam Vajcovec
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If you're willing to go much heavier you might check out Magic Realm. This thread has some comparisons of the two.

archermiles wrote:
MageKnight, Merchants & Marauders, Ships as Units. It doesn't even make sense, but a man can dream, can't he? arrrh

Makes sense to me, and sounds awesome! Please make that game!
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Matt Connellan
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From the games you put that you like, four of them are by Vlaada Chvatil, and no games you put that you dislike are by him, so I'd go ahead and say that you'd love Through the Ages and Galaxy Trucker.
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Double Plus Undead
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archermiles wrote:
I'm in the weird position where I feel like I belong in the Ameritrash camp for how much I like games with powerful themes and adventures, but I am pretty certain I would hate Arkham Horror.


Why do you say that? Arkham Horror is fantastic, and truly immersive. The rules are intimidating, but if you could figure out Mage Knight, you shouldn't have any problem. Epic, thrilling gameplay. Of course, if you're already a fan of Lovecraft, it's even better.

I simply can't recommend AH too much.

Quote:

Is Runebound worth checking out?


Definitely yes. A lot lighter than Mage Knight, but very fun. There's a bajillion expansions for it, too.
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Vivienne Raper
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pirate_chef wrote:
archermiles wrote:
I'm in the weird position where I feel like I belong in the Ameritrash camp for how much I like games with powerful themes and adventures, but I am pretty certain I would hate Arkham Horror.


Why do you say that? Arkham Horror is fantastic, and truly immersive. The rules are intimidating, but if you could figure out Mage Knight, you shouldn't have any problem. Epic, thrilling gameplay. Of course, if you're already a fan of Lovecraft, it's even better.

I simply can't recommend AH too much. o.


For us, at least, Mage Knight 'fired' Arkham Horror. When we want a several-hour epic game, we choose Mage Knight. But AH is a good game.

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Pol Michiels
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veemonroe wrote:

For us, at least, Mage Knight 'fired' Arkham Horror. When we want a several-hour epic game, we choose Mage Knight. But AH is a good game.



I'd suggest at least a "try before you buy" of Arkham Horror if you do go that way. I was less than enthusiastic about the 3 plays of it I've had.

Have you considered Eclipse? It has exploration, powering up, and dice for that Ameritrash touch.
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Chris J Davis
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As a counterpoint warning: Arkham Horror is a completely random dice-fest which makes it almost the complete opposite game to Mage Knight. I still kinda enjoy it, but there are almost no meaningful decisions to be made - it's pretty much just "let's roll dice and see what happens".
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Daniel Corban
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It would seem that our taste in games is extremely similar. Over the years, I have progressed from being pure eurosnoot to wanting more thematic and adventuresome games.

For you, I can safely recommend against Arkham Horror, Runebound, and Descent. I don't know what kind of person it takes to really enjoy Arkham Horror, but they are few and far between. Runebound is actually a decent game, but has insane downtime (10+ minutes between turns) and broken PVP. Descent sounds good in theory, but in reality, it is a team-based min-max game where the DM gets to sit around while the players agonize over how to spend movement points in the best fashion. "Gamey" would be my best description of Descent.

If you have at least three other players, I'd strongly recommend World of Warcraft: The Boardgame. It plays similarly to Mage Knight and is a great team game.
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Chris J Davis
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dcorban wrote:
It would seem that our taste in games is extremely similar. Over the years, I have progressed from being pure eurosnoot to wanting more thematic and adventuresome games.

For you, I can safely recommend against Arkham Horror, Runebound, and Descent. I don't know what kind of person it takes to really enjoy Arkham Horror, but they are few and far between. Runebound is actually a decent game, but has insane downtime (10+ minutes between turns) and broken PVP. Descent sounds good in theory, but in reality, it is a team-based min-max game where the DM gets to sit around while the players agonize over how to spend movement points in the best fashion. "Gamey" would be my best description of Descent.

If you have at least three other players, I'd strongly recommend World of Warcraft: The Boardgame. It plays similarly to Mage Knight and is a great team game.


I can't see how you can say RB has insane downtime, but then be okay with WoW.

I agree with pretty much everything you say, though.
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Matthew Kameron
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Hi

Seems to me like you enjoy games where the position you are in at a point in time is very different to any other position you've previously been in.

In the games you don't like, while there is a lot of strategy in some, the situations you are placed in are very similar. Even in Agricola, while there is a lot of strategy, you often end up in positions which are similar but only subtly different to previous games.

In the games you do like, they seem to have a lot of variability. Particularly the co-op ones.

I agree with the person who advised the other two games by the same designer. I'm also a fanboy of his and all his games have, to me, a spark of something special.

I agree with the person who recommended WOW, in principle, although I've not played it (i've only played the not-so-good WOW quest or whatever it was called)

I don't agree with the Magic Realm recommendation - I truly think that Mage Knight is a beautiful reimplementation of Magic Realm that took out all the confusing stuff and made it fun. But don't take my word for it - there's a Java implementation of Magic Realm you can play solo and its kinda fun. And it speeds up the rate at which you can work out the rules, but is still way confusing.

My own opinion is to try out games that AREN'T the same as Mage Knight. All the reviews say that there's no other game like it (excepting Magic Realm). So I am personally content with Mage Knight.

The following games have some of the characteristics that I have speculated you would enjoy:

- Tigris and Euphrates. Awesome abstract game where every games looks entirely different to the previous game. Lots of decisions based on what you have now, but intertwined within a bigger picture (e.g. like Mage Knight). VERY different to your other games, though, so in my opinion a beautiful addition to your set.

- Race for the Galaxy. Its playtime is 20-40 mins if you know the game well regardless of number of players (2-4). And its FUN and filled with lots of cool decisions. There's theme but its not engrossing.

- Innovation and/or Glory to Rome. Both are by the same guy and both are crazy chaotic games, where no two games are alike. I prefer innovation which is more streamlined than Glory but I think Glory is generally more popular. A catch is that some people won't like them if they don't like games in which you need to quickly adapt to quickly changing situations.

- Thunderstone (Advance). It and Dominion are basically the two popular "pure" deck building games. They're similar but Thunderstone feels more themed and more "fun".


I think that all the Descent type games are failures. I don't think you feel immersed in a theme at all and it ends up being a dry and repetitive killing monsters with some mostly trivial tactics. I know some people like them but personally I feel that they just miss the mark. And they don't appeal AT ALL to non-gamers, which isn't great if you want to facilitate a diverse playing group.
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Daniel Corban
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Because in WoW, there is no "downtime". The time the other team is taking their turn, my team is planning our turn. It is rare that one team is sitting around waiting for the other. If both teams are planning turns in advance, then the game goes smoothly.

I understand that WoW is one of those games where people have experienced huge downtime. That is due to the players, not the game. Slow and distracted players are slow and distracted players in any game. If your players can handle Mage Knight, then WoW is on the same level.
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Double Plus Undead
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bleached_lizard wrote:
As a counterpoint warning: Arkham Horror is a completely random dice-fest which makes it almost the complete opposite game to Mage Knight. I still kinda enjoy it, but there are almost no meaningful decisions to be made - it's pretty much just "let's roll dice and see what happens".

I guess AH's combat is a little more random than MK, but calling it a "completely random dice-fest" is a major over-statement. In AH, combat is determined by the weapons you have, and the roll you get on the dice, as well as your character's Fight stat (which can be slightly adjusted each turn, depending on your Focus stat). In MK, combat depends upon which cards you've drawn, which mana is showing on the mana dice, which units you have readied, etc.

So, both systems have random and non-random elements. But the important thing is: you can't win AH just by rolling dice. It's a co-op game, and you have to plot and strategize with your teammates, or you will die horribly.

No matter how awesome you think a game is, there's always gonna be some guy on the internet who thinks that it's total crap. I'm sure that there's somebody out there who thinks that MK is "totally random" because it depends on card draws and mana dice.
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Arkham Horror has a very different kind of randomness than Mage Knight, though. Just the dice rolling alone means you need to commit to a course of action without knowing whether it will succeed or not. The monsters are generated from a common pool so you might get something virtually indestructible early on that will cut off an important area of the game for a long while. The locations tend to cough up pretty random (and sometimes repetitive) results, the differences in power of the various spells/items/whatever is pretty big compared to the difference in power of the spells, artifacts, and advanced actions in Mage Knight.

I would say that, yeah, there's a bit more randomness in Arkham but the randomness in that game lacks the kind of structure that the randomness in Mage Knight has. Mage Knight plays like a strategy game that generates an adventure. Arkham plays like an rpg with a sometimes incoherent GM.
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Tristan Hall
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alfonzo54 wrote:
Arkham plays like an rpg with a sometimes incoherent GM.


laugh Sounds a lot like my experiences of playing (and running) the Call of Cthulhu RPG.
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Matt
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I don't know what someone would think of Runebound after playing Mage Knight first. There are definitely similiarities, but Mage Knight is so much deeper.

Runebound was the first board game I really got into. I still love it and am glad to keep playing it even though I like Mage Knight more. They are different enough.

Runebound is more about chilling out, relaxing, and enjoying an adventure. Mage Knight is about focusing on an intricate puzzle laid out in front of you in a thematic fashion.
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Scott Yost
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If you like playing MK solo, you might like playing Descent v1 solo. You get to make lots of tactical decisions and there's definitely a sense of powering up, although the endgame is usually more of a letdown than MK is. You have to do more work managing the balance in descent than you do in MK, but it has lots of adventure flavor and tactical fun.
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Miles Archer
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Thanks a lot for all the great recommendations, it's a lot of food for thought. You guys are awesome! thumbsup
 
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And to be clear, Innovation and Glory to Rome are both by Carl Chudyk, not Vlaada Chvatil.
 
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Paul Beakley
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dcorban wrote:
Because in WoW, there is no "downtime".


I'm now thinking your definition of downtime is a lot different than, at least, my own understanding of that term. Not a criticism! Just an observation and realization.
 
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Ithought I would hate Arkham Horror. Then I played it and found I loved it. But yes, try before you buy as I did.
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Arkham Horror is a very polarizing. No matter how much you think you will or won't like it, it's worth playing once before you consider buying it or writing it off completely. I've been surprised both ways by some of my friends' reactions. It's complicated in the same way that MK is complicated: not the rules themselves exactly, but there's just lots of little things that are easy to forget. WRT randomness, there's not that much more randomness than MK, but there is infinitely more uncertainty. MK does its randomization, and then asks you to make a choice. AH forces you to make your choice before it does its randomization. It's a different type of randomness and it will definitely end up feeling much different.

As for recommendations, have you considered Star Trek: Fleet Captains? There's a ton of variability in the game, considering that your draw deck only consists of less than a third of the available cards for your faction, and it's got a randomized hex board, randomized event deck, and randomized asymmetric goals. It hits a lot of your points: you explore a large map, have lots of different options for things to do to win, you get stronger over the course of the game as you play cards and beef up your influence. My only caveat is that I would only really recommend the game for two players. 4 players works well enough I suppose, but it's clearly a hacky variant to what's essentially a 2-player game.

Also, once the second edition of Descent comes out, you might want to take a look at it. Their design goals are explicitly to make it less of a slog and bring the theme to the forefront by removing some of the most baldly gamey aspects. It sounds like it would be closer to something you'd be interested in than the first edition is, but it's really hard to say one way or another until people get the game in hand and start playing the thing.
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I'm pretty much disagreeing with everyone here.

The "problem" is that MK is an adventure game with Euro mechanics. Most Adventure games are in the AT camp (eg. Talisman, Runebound, Tales) which lack the strategy and depth of MK. Meanwhile, most Eurogames lack the immersiveness of most adventure games.

Vlaada *is* unique in that he can somehow combine AT and Euro. Dungeon Petz is one of his games and you said you enjoyed it. Dungeon Lords is his earlier game and apparently has different mechanics.

*My* favorite adventure games are Arkham Horror and World of Warcraft: The Boardgame. My favorite dungeoncrawler is Descent. Since you've played Battlestar Galactica, the rules will not be too complex for you. However, these games lack the depth of Euromechanics. You get to power up and kill stuff tho!
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