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Subject: Mage Knight: fun, but painfully slow? rss

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Vancouver Gamer
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Hi all - my first post to BGG.

I'm loving Mage Knight, even in solo mode!

My playthroughs (and associated issues in each) have included:

Scouting mission attempt 1
Didn't follow any proper solo customizations and probably made lots of play errors; didn't realize there was a time limit, which led to me finding the game underwhelming (i.e. I missed the point!)
Scouting mission attempt 2
Played through properly with dummy player and round limit, no major issues, but almost certainly made errors; really enjoyed the game a lot more
Regular solo mission attempt 1
Played through properly (more or less) with dummy player, defeated both castles, and really started understanding more of the rules, effective movement patterns and pacing concerns; didn't figure out how to get elite units until after the game was over whistle but really enjoyed the game

I'd just love it if the game moved faster. Here's how I'd summarize time in the scenarios I've done so far:

setup/teardown: 30 minutes
Rulebook reviews and lookups: 1h
Turn playthroughs: 2.5h
Juggling parts between turns and rounds: 15 min

I often find myself half-spacing out looking at my cards and the enemy units, trying to puzzle out some crazy movement/victory combination. It's almost like analysis paralysis, but eventually my brain pulls together a strategy (through the process of elimination). However, I think my friends would kill me if we played as a group and I spaced out for 15 minutes at a time... I'd feel the same way if they did it too... maybe I'm only fit to play solo?

I also get a bit stunned thinking "what should I do?". Early in the game it's easy (kill orcs) but becomes harder after the first couple of levels. I also have woundophobia and don't like to engage on a fight unless I can come away wound-free (or know there's a healing card in the wings or a glade).

Anyway, like I said, it's a great game - does anyone have suggestions for how to "smarten up"?
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Michele Esmanech
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Re: Mage Knight: fun, but painfully slow
Metaphor_ wrote:
Hi all - my first post to BGG.

I'm loving Mage Knight, even in solo mode!

My playthroughs (and associated issues in each) have included:

Scouting mission attempt 1
Didn't follow any proper solo customizations and probably made lots of play errors; didn't realize there was a time limit, which led to me finding the game underwhelming (i.e. I missed the point!)
Scouting mission attempt 2
Played through properly with dummy player and round limit, no major issues, but almost certainly made errors; really enjoyed the game a lot more
Regular solo mission attempt 1
Played through properly (more or less) with dummy player, defeated both castles, and really started understanding more of the rules, effective movement patterns and pacing concerns; didn't figure out how to get elite units until after the game was over whistle but really enjoyed the game

I'd just love it if the game moved faster. Here's how I'd summarize time in the scenarios I've done so far:

setup/teardown: 30 minutes
Rulebook reviews and lookups: 1h
Turn playthroughs: 2.5h
Juggling parts between turns and rounds: 15 min

I often find myself half-spacing out looking at my cards and the enemy units, trying to puzzle out some crazy movement/victory combination. It's almost like analysis paralysis, but eventually my brain pulls together a strategy (through the process of elimination). However, I think my friends would kill me if we played as a group and I spaced out for 15 minutes at a time... I'd feel the same way if they did it too... maybe I'm only fit to play solo?

I also get a bit stunned thinking "what should I do?". Early in the game it's easy (kill orcs) but becomes harder after the first couple of levels. I also have woundophobia and don't like to engage on a fight unless I can come away wound-free (or know there's a healing card in the wings or a glade).

Anyway, like I said, it's a great game - does anyone have suggestions for how to "smarten up"?


AP is part of the game itself: its puzzl-y feel brings a lot of AP, so be warned when playing multiplayer.

Take wounds!! Especially if you play Arythea!
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Stefan Kaiser
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Ikim wrote:


Take wounds!! Especially if you play Arythea!

This.
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Alex Brown
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I've played solo around twenty times. Over those plays I have gotten much, much faster.

Apart from the obvious, that is knowing the rules better, understanding the pace of the dummy player, and being aware of the deck, I'd say the biggest thing not many people talk about is experience with knowing the range of enemies you will face in a particular encounter.

Generally, I think of enemy groupings. Fortified enemies present have particular strengths and weaknesses, adventure sites present particular strengths and weaknesses, and rampaging enemies present particular strengths and weaknesses.

Obviously there are subcategories there too, but with this many games under my belt I can plan for the worst-case scenario, or decide whether it's Medusa or Bust when going for an early leap in character power.

As a new player I spent too much time avoiding wounds, preparing for specific enemies and traipsing through difficult terrain.

With experience I am managing wounds and reputation that are constantly in flux, managing the odds on a range of enemies against their potential benefit (Spawning Grounds are my favourite!) and always having a foreseeable exit plan so as not to lose whole turns to movement mishaps.

Ultimately, the game is even more interesting, because even though it's still about efficiency, the odds are always informed by everchanging tactical opportunities from abilities, spells, units and artifacts.
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Rich P
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Once you're more familiar with the rules, you won't have to look them up in the rulebook so oftem and you can cut that 1hr off the play time. Similarly with setup and moving components from Round to Round - you'll figure out the most efficient way for you to lay everything out and reduce time there too. The AP induced by the puzzles in the game will reduce as you get more experience of the solutions that work best. You'll see certain scenarios crop up time and time again and soon you'll be able to look at your hand and work out what your chances are of succeeding in a dungeon or what the dangers of assaulting a mage tower could be.

The fastest I've completed a solo full conquest was two hours, including setting up and packing away.
 
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Martin Presley
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Here are some tips I've learned in 15+ games.

My sort of guiding theory behind MK is that it's all about amassing advantages that will get you future advantages. Taking wounds, especially early on, can be crucial if done correctly. For example, you might take 3 Wounds taking a mage tower, but the spell you get lets you beat a dungeon, and the artifact you get from the dungeon lets you burn down a monastery for another artifact, which you use to kill a dragon, and so on and so on. If you look at the long-term rewards, you'll start seeing more places where taking wounds makes sense.

I always try to get at least one card or ability that will let me skip over hexes, especially lakes; this doesn't always come up in a game, but the cards are still good, and when you do need them they can be incredibly clutch.

Pay attention to the dummy, and match pace. It's of course bad for the round to end with cards left over, but it's just as bad in ways for you to end the round, as it likely means you played a lot of cards sideways. If the dummy is going slow, it isn't a bad idea to spend an extra turn on a glen or crystalizing some mana.

I like to explore rapidly, to get gold units out faster. Ideally I want them out on the second day, but but no later than the second night if I'm busy conquering and adventuring. Level III units are a big jump up from level IIs, and really help when it comes time to take cities.

And a tip for setup; I spend a few minutes here or there between chores or other things getting the game ready and shuffling all the decks. That way when the time I set aside to actually play the game comes around, I can launch right into it since it was prepared using the small gaps in time I found earlier.
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hoobajoo wrote:
Here are some tips I've learned in 15+ games.

My sort of guiding theory behind MK is that it's all about amassing advantages that will get you future advantages. Taking wounds, especially early on, can be crucial if done correctly. For example, you might take 3 Wounds taking a mage tower, but the spell you get lets you beat a dungeon, and the artifact you get from the dungeon lets you burn down a monastery for another artifact, which you use to kill a dragon, and so on and so on. If you look at the long-term rewards, you'll start seeing more places where taking wounds makes sense.

I always try to get at least one card or ability that will let me skip over hexes, especially lakes; this doesn't always come up in a game, but the cards are still good, and when you do need them they can be incredibly clutch.

Pay attention to the dummy, and match pace. It's of course bad for the round to end with cards left over, but it's just as bad in ways for you to end the round, as it likely means you played a lot of cards sideways. If the dummy is going slow, it isn't a bad idea to spend an extra turn on a glen or crystalizing some mana.

I like to explore rapidly, to get gold units out faster. Ideally I want them out on the second day, but but no later than the second night if I'm busy conquering and adventuring. Level III units are a big jump up from level IIs, and really help when it comes time to take cities.

And a tip for setup; I spend a few minutes here or there between chores or other things getting the game ready and shuffling all the decks. That way when the time I set aside to actually play the game comes around, I can launch right into it since it was prepared using the small gaps in time I found earlier.


Great reply!! All good advice which I would happily agre with. Listen to this guy!

All the above posts were good too. Great responses you got here. BGG members can be real good sometimes!
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Jim OConnor
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There is an Android App for the dummy player. (There might be one for iphone also, not sure)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sigmazero1...

It helps speed the game up as you don't have to shuffle the dummy deck between rounds.

My between round actions take me about a minute now (I've played 15+ solo games, so I just know what needs to be done now). That will save you about 1.5 hours eventually

I actually can play a solo game in 1.5 hours total now (from setup to tear down). You'll get there eventually

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Vancouver Gamer
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Good tips and thoughts here. Thanks everyone!
 
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