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Subject: Magic Realm Best Complicated/Long Fantasy Game? rss

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Hi Guys!

I just discovered this forum a week ago and can't believe how many games I've been missing out on. I'm in game heaven. I've never even heard of most of the games on the "hot games" list! My wallet is now $300 or so lighter and I have to think of an excuse to tell my wife when the games show updevil

My question is; I've been scouring the game reviews. I want a detailed, complex, envolved, long, rewarding fantasy/D&D type board game that is playable with only two people. Is Magic Realm the best choice? From everything I've read it sounds perfect. Or is there a better choice out there? 7 Ages also sounds good but I'd prefer a fantasy setting.

Should I start searching Ebay for a copy of Magic Realm or do you guys have any other suggestions?

Thanks a bunch!

Boog
 
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Hello Boog,

What is your budget for the game?

If you really want to invest in the best fantasy table top wargame, there is no finer game than Chronopia.


http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/8049
 
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Steve Hope
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If you want the closest thing to an RPG experience without playing an RPG, Magic Realm is probably your best choice. Neat system, epic play, my only problem with it is that the combat system feels a little preordained. But given the amount of work you put into the game, it's probably just as well that it minimizes the luck.

Other ideas:

Return of the Heroes (I've not played this)
Runebound (same)
Talisman (I have...bleah)
Barbarian Prince (solo, from Microgames or someone...I always liked it)

Farther afield, there are several other games where the players play individuals seeking fame/glory/character development in an RPG-type setting:

Tales of the Arabian Nights
The Hammer of Thor
Search for the Emperor's Treasure
King of the Mountain
Wizards (IMO the best of a very mixed bunch here, though I don't remember Tales very well and it seems quite well-regarded on the Geek).

I'm sure there are several others, but I think your initial conclusion is right. It may depend on how many people you will play with--Magic Realm scales very, very well from 1 to 8 or so.

And Titan, perhaps my favorite game of all time, inserts the player into the game as a unit and he grows in power over time as his legions triumph over their enemies.
 
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Kayl
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If your RPG background was filled with miniatures and lots of combat, one of the minis games mentioned may serve you well.

I, personally, found Return of the Heroes a *huge* disappointment. Although the parts were what many call pretty (not usually a selling point for me), I found the play painfully simple and too unvaried to have much replay value. Of course, YMMV.

Titan is a slug/dice-fest. I played with six people and hated it. The theme felt thin to me. It has player elimination, huge down time and a lot of memorization (made harder by the first two issues). I imagine it would be better with fewer people. I don't see this as a gateway game for FRPers.

Magic Realm is pretty large in scope and often described as "someone converted a FRPG to a boardgame." Often followed with "Why'd they do that?" It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out but expect to spend a lot of time doing it. A combination of Yoder's "In Plain English" and McKnight's rules should get you up and running but you'll have to print them out and read them. Just to stress what I mean: let me quote page **42** of Yoder's "In Plain English": "Congratulations! You are now ready to play the game!" But only a very dumbed down version (no natives, no magic). Did I mention it takes 45 minutes to set up assuming reasonable competence and reasonable organization? (Yes, you can shave that down.)
 
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Brad Miller
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No he doesn't want a fantasy table top wargame, he wants a detailed, comlex, rewarding, fantasy D&D type game. Magic Realm IS all of those things.
 
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Thomas Eastside, Esq.
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Quote:
My question is; I've been scouring the game reviews. I want a detailed, complex, envolved, long, rewarding fantasy/D&D type board game that is playable with only two people. Is Magic Realm the best choice?


Yes. I cannot think of a better game that matches this description. However, the rulebook is quite imposing, but with a bit of study and work, you can work it out.
 
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Crypt Keeper
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The MR page here at BGG has some great files and links. There's a small faction of MR fanatics here that keep the page well tended.
 
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Steve Noneyobusiness
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Some games you might want to take a look at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/699

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1758

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1634

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/17804

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/6366

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/17226
 
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Dave Peters
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My 10 year old son and I play Magic Realm regularly. It's quite easy to play once the rules have been internalized somewhat. I'd recommend it. What's more, Robin Warren's Realmspeak Java version might give you a leg up on learning it: http://magicrealm.dewkid.com/rspeak/realmspeak.htm
 
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Axel Toelke
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While I would say that Magic Realm probably is *THE* boardgame FRPG, I have second thoughts about recommending it for recurrent two player games. The point where MR differs substantially from all the other dungeon crawlers and FRPGs is player interaction. MR really begins to shine with four or more people, as people band up or use the resources and denizens of the realm to confront one another.

The problem with other FRPGs is mainly that they often feel like group solitaire (Runebound comes to mind).

The rules will seem daunting at first, but there is the excellent 3rd edition rules and Yoder's plain English intro that you should seek out here on the Geek.

If you are looking for some inspiration of other (possibly easier entry) titles in the genre have a look at this GeekList:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

Have fun!
 
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Jay Richardson
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Magic Realm is simply unique in the field of fantasy boardgames. All of the other fantasy games suggested so far are much simpler and much faster to play. There's nothing wrong with simple, fast games, of course... but they cannot offer the richness of detail, depth of play, and near infinite replayability of Magic Realm.

If you are willing to invest the time and effort to master a huge and amazingly complex set of rules, Magic Realm is unlikely to disappoint you.

I like to refer to it as fantasy gaming's answer to Advanced Squad Leader... both games are among the most complex games ever designed, and both can immerse their players into their respective worlds in a way few other games can approach.

Boogalou wrote:
Or is there a better choice out there? 7 Ages also sounds good but I'd prefer a fantasy setting.

7 Ages differs from Magic Realm so much in terms of subject matter that I can't see any way to meaningfully compare them. Magic Realm was created to compete against (and surpass) the original pencil-and-paper Dungeons and Dragons RPG; 7 Ages has no role-playing elements at all as far as I know. I am, however, looking forward to trying 7 Ages out someday.

Steve Hope wrote:
...my only problem with it is that the combat system feels a little preordained.

Yes, the basic combat system can be quite chess-like in your ability to predict the outcome of battles. If (or when) you get tired of this, the Optional Rules include an alternative combat system which is much less predictable, somewhat more realistic, and much more deadly. But many players prefer the basic system specifically because of its predictability.

Boogalou wrote:
Should I start searching Ebay for a copy of Magic Realm...

In addition to buying a copy on eBay, you can also do it the hard way by downloading all of the art, printing it out, and hand-making your own copy. Several people have done this; there are photos on the Magic Realm page showing their results.

You could also use the Java version to try it out, but the program assumes that you already know how to play the game... so you'll still need a copy of the rulebook and can expect a struggle to figure out what's going on. Note also that the Java version does not yet recreate the complete game (but it is being updated regularly).

In any case, the many articles on the Magic Realm page are a good place to learn more about the game and get a feel for what it is like. I would especially recommend the strategy articles (which are all written with beginner players in mind) and the session reports.
 
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Andrew Young
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VASSAL has a Magic Realm module for playing online- we are playing by email right now. On Day 4 after several months of going back and forth. I just killed my first serpent (Heavy not Tremendous). There is a group in the Boston area of MR fanatics- I've yet to play FTF but I am dying for it. VASSAL has been grat though b/c it has gone slower and enabled me to learn the rules over time as opposed to all at once.

Though, I don't know all the rules yet.

meeple
 
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J. Green
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Hi!
I'm a fan of RPG type boardgames too, and if you're interested in Magic Realm, I suggest you go to the BGG MR page and download and read or print "Magic Realm in Plain English" from the files on that page. It's about 120 pages, and is a full rewrite of the 2nd and 3rd ed. rules, and it's probably the best shot you have at making the thing playable and understandable in a reasonable amount of time. Expect to spend about as much time reading and studying the rules beforehand as you would a college course.

That said, it's the closest thing to an RPG you can get...and my next suggestion is, why not just play an RPG? the new d20 system is so much simpler, has an amazing variety of new content from a variety of publishers in every theme imaginable, and isn't hard to find or out of print. I understand your initial urge to find an epic, immersive RPG experience in a box, and there are several geeklists dealing with just such a topic (Magic Realm is on most of them, so look at the geeklist section of the MR page as well).

One that I would recommend if you can find it is Tales of the Arabian Nights, which is a boardgame with four different games in the box and a paragraph book giving you a choose your own adventure experience, although it's not so much combat and very table-heavy.

From what I hear, Warhammer Quest is really the best RPG in a box with campaign style rules from game to game. However, I also think the upcoming World of Warcraft boardgame looks good, and I'd be willing to bet that Descent will have plenty of expansions to make it more like an RPG.

Good luck!
 
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Wow! What a nice thread to wake up to this morning

Thanks so much everyone for taking the time to write so many detailed responses. Really appreciate it guys!

I'm totally sold on Magic Realm now. I've always loved games with huge rule books.

And thanks for the many suggestions on other games. I've added several more games to my "Must have list."

Now I'm off to hunt down a copy of Magic Realm.

Thanks again guys!


 
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Thanks Chad! I'm gonna have to check that out.
 
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There are currently two PBEM games in progress:

http://www.tarotmoon.com/DEVMR2/Index.html

is a 'development game' where all characters start at 1rst level (1rst row of chits). nearly 3 weeks in (at about 1 game day per real time week), a few characters are at 2nd level.

http://users.rcn.com/dwfiv/yellow/index.html

is nearing the end of a 2 month campaign.

Other archived games are:

http://users.rcn.com/dwfiv/magenta/index.html
by the same GM of Yellow-using the Book of Quests variant

The original BIMR game GMed by Steve McKnight
http://www.thewinternet.com/bimr/

BIMR 4 and BIMR5 are also archived, but the links elude me at the moment.

These have copious examples (good and bad) of combats (simple and not) and strategies employed by players. It's a good way to follow a character through a game and see what does/does not work.

There is also a listserve run by Bruno Wolff at:
http://wolff.to/mr/

Lots of MRers standing by to answer/discuss/debate rules questions.
Please join in-MR is truly a game like no other
 
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Jay Richardson
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Caleb N. Diffell wrote:
If one wanted to buy the game on eBay, the edition of choice should be the 2nd edition, correct? As I understand it, the 3rd edition rules are just that - rules, not a complete edition of the game. Were there a great deal of component changes between the 1st and 2nd editions necessitating the 2nd if one wants to use the 3rd edition rules?

The ONLY difference between the 1st and 2nd edition games is the rulebook, so it doesn't really matter which edition you purchase. The 3rd edition rules, which are freely available on-line, will work with any edition of the game... as will "Magic Realm in Plain English" and all of the other player aids.

There were component errata that were corrected in later printings, but most of these are minor. A complete list of component errata can be found on the Magic Realm Parts Shoppe page (see the Magic Realm announcements for the link).
 
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Jay Richardson
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John Green wrote:
...and there are several geeklists dealing with just such a topic (Magic Realm is on most of them, so look at the geeklist section of the MR page as well).

At the moment, Magic Realm appears on 221 geeklists, but in many cases the game is just listed but there is no discussion of it.

If you want to review all of the geeklists that do discuss Magic Realm in some detail (both pro and con), click on the "mr" geeklist tag when you see it, or just use this link:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=viewtagged...
 
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