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Subject: Game Complexity: Mage Knight vs. War of the Ring? rss

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Jared Campbell
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Hi everyone,

I'm looking into Mage Knight and have played War of the Ring. I keep reading/watching reviews about how rule intensive and time consuming Mage Knight is and am wondering how it compares to War of the Ring in that regard. Any info anyone can offer would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Byron Campbell
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I haven't played War of the Ring, but I found the complexity of Mage Knight Board Game to be greatly exaggerated. I was able to follow the Walkthrough and understand pretty much everything that was going on without any problems, and if you have one of the newer printings, the end of the walkthrough will tell you which additional parts of the rulebook you'll need to reference. In terms of time, I'd say it took me 2-3 hours for my first solo game, and that was with reading various parts of the rulebook as I played (as the game instructs you to). It was actually over a lot sooner than I wanted it to be.

Maybe it's just how my brain works, so YMMV. I actually had a harder time grasping the rules of Munchkin.
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Nathan Hortness
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Like Byron, I haven't played War of the Ring but Mage Knight isn't that difficult to learn and it certainly isn't difficult to play. Each turn requires a lot of thought, planning, optimization, etc though so the risk of AP is pretty high, especially in your first couple of games.

I highly recommend watching the 'Box of Delights' videos to speed up the learning process.

http://boardgamegeek.com/video/17400/mage-knight-board-game/...

http://boardgamegeek.com/video/17911/mage-knight-board-game/...

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Shane Larsen
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I'll be the first to say that I think people who say the game was easy to learn are exaggerating its simplicity.

No game has required more mental energy and time to learn the basic rules for me than Mage Knight Board Game. I'm a fan of Vlaada's work, so I trudged through. My first solo walkthrough was a painful entire afternoon and into the evening. I had to take a break half-way through because of how slow things seemed to be moving (and I was starving!). Once you do figure it out, every turn is like a game in itself--super brain burning and by far THE MOST AP-inducing game I know.

I found the most challenging part of the game was discerning the little differences between each type of the locations on the map--and looking them up is a bit of a pain since they're all on cards and could be on either side of any given card. And the second-most taxing and time-consuming element of the game is the complex battle system. You may spend 5 minutes working out a series of card plays and combos, just to realize you were one attack value short of succeeding in the attack, so you take it all back, and begin the turn anew, considering a different path to take and figure out with your cards.

Don't get me wrong, the game is a masterpiece. But it comes with serious dedication to learning how it all comes together, and a tedious set of rules that are, IMO, poorly laid out.

No matter how "easy" the rules to a certain game are for someone, I think it's always better to err on the side of caution. For example, I had a pretty easy time figuring out Ghost Stories and Troyes, but I've read in many threads how people hate both rulebooks. So even though I found it easy to learn those games, I wouldn't tell someone else they're easy. I try to be as objective as possible about my experience and relaying others' experience.

FWIW, I found the rules to War of the Ring to be among the tougher games I've learned too. If I were putting them on a scale where 10 was the hardest game I've ever learned and 1 was the easiest, it would look like this:

WotR: 7
MKBG: 9

I hope this helps.
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Lacombe
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If you ever learn Magic Realm, your scale will need to go to 11, Shane.
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Shane Larsen
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NateStraight wrote:
If you ever learn Magic Realm, your scale will need to go to 11, Shane.


I'll keep that in mind...and probably never learn it.
 
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Nathan Hortness
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thedacker wrote:
I'll be the first to say that I think people who say the game was easy to learn are exaggerating its simplicity.


Well Maybe. I think I learned Ticket to Ride in about 2 minutes so by comparison Mage Knight is pretty difficult.

By my scale:

Ticket to Ride 0.002
Game of Thrones 0.01
Mage Knight 0.09
.
.
.
Fluid Mechanics 9.5
Magic Realm 11
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Byron Campbell
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thedacker wrote:
I'll be the first to say that I think people who say the game was easy to learn are exaggerating its simplicity.



Like I said, it's probably a question of learning styles and how things click for different people. I honestly didn't find Mage Knight difficult to learn, but that's mainly because I thought the rules were written in a clear, friendly and direct manner. It all clicked with me right away.

TC, if you have the time, I suggest looking at the Walkthrough rulebook online. Try reading, at a relaxed pace, Section V, "One Turn." If it seems confusing to you, then you have your answer (although, as Shane pointed out, there are video guides to help you and the game is worth learning whether or not it clicks for you).
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Karan R
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WotR has a many small but simple rulesets for different mechanisms for what happens on the board
The part that takes time is to check if action X has any rules associated with it
I've read through MK walkthrough and found it sort of boring...have yet to do a playthrough
 
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Jared Campbell
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Decided to pick up Mage Knight and give it a shot. Played through part of a solo scenario last night, and found it very enjoyable. Thanks again!
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Moe45673
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Congrats! Mage Knight is indeed a masterpiece. However, I also found it too tough to learn and sold it as a result. I found the time spent learning that game would be better spent towards playing other games, including Vlaada's true masterpiece Through the Ages.

thedacker wrote:

No matter how "easy" the rules to a certain game are for someone, I think it's always better to err on the side of caution. For example, I had a pretty easy time figuring out Ghost Stories and Troyes, but I've read in many threads how people hate both rulebooks. So even though I found it easy to learn those games, I wouldn't tell someone else they're easy. I try to be as objective as possible about my experience and relaying others' experience.


I've never played Ghost Stories but it's funny how similar we are. I found Troyes to be simple and intuitive as well. Troyes is one of the few games I learned so as to be able to play it online. I hate reading rules to games I don't own and I also hate reading rules online. I printed out the Troyes rulebook and read it (in B&W) so as to be able to play it on BGA and am glad I did! I'm buying it on Sunday and am confident in my purchase as to what I am getting. I also found Vinhos to be intuitive and not overly complex, though many complain otherwise.

In short, I don't understand how some people say Mage Knight is simple and don't understand how they say Troyes is difficult, especially when I'd say Troyes is easier to understand than Agricola (which many recommend as a not too difficult game). The rulebook for Agricola is definitely a bigger slog to get through. Definitely another testament to how we're all different in our strengths

But I digress. If you can handle Mage Knight, enjoy it!
 
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Chris Miller
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I'm curious if those that had a lot of difficulty learning the game tried to read the rule book or did they play through the intro scenario with the rules walk through?

Reading that book straight out is maddening, however I found the walk through got me into the game and understanding things at a good pace.
 
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Moe45673
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I tried to setup the walkthrough and play through it. One maddening thing that kept throwing me off was the cross-referencing, eg the dummy player for solo play.

And then it says "For the dummy player, you only need x and y" so you remove those from the bag and then later on realize you also need its skill tokens for levelling up. Stuff like this really throws me out of any groove I get into
 
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Chris Miller
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I had issues learning to intro scenario solo too, because of adding in the dummy player with rules that are not included in the walk through.

It's probably easier to just play solo without the dummy player and learn the system first.
 
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Moe45673
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MillertimeRC wrote:
I had issues learning to intro scenario solo too, because of adding in the dummy player with rules that are not included in the walk through.

It's probably easier to just play solo without the dummy player and learn the system first.


Excellent suggestion. Wish I'd had it 8 months ago!
 
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Nathan Hortness
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Moe45673 wrote:
MillertimeRC wrote:
I had issues learning to intro scenario solo too, because of adding in the dummy player with rules that are not included in the walk through.

It's probably easier to just play solo without the dummy player and learn the system first.


Excellent suggestion. Wish I'd had it 8 months ago!


Under the scenario description for the 'First Reconnaissance'(walkthrough) in the rulebook it states:

"...if you just want to become familiar with the mechanics,
you may also ignore the Dummy player in your first game, and
enjoy the experience with one hero and no pressure."
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