Jay T Leone
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I enjoy Mage Knight among all of Vlaada's creations but this expansion fell quite short for me. Not on all accounts but some noteworthy ones...

+ New character has unique builds with soloing and speed
+ Lots of new action cards
+ Decent idea of having the 'dummy player' be interactive with a massive army
+ More variety of units though some have minimal impact (not enough unit types for 'thugs')

- Some new actions/spells seem really poor (i.e. Spell Forge and Cure/Disease)
- Cool art but minimal impact of new basic action cards for original characters
- No new skills except one 'cooperative' skill for each player which is the same as competitive except gives a bonus to other players
- Poor implementation for storage solutions
- Very minor 'revising' of unit stats

And worst of all
- Effectively only 1 scenario added. The epic scenario is the same thing as the blitz. The 3rd scenario is simply the inverse of the 1st scenario with the exception of that the dummy player doesn't move (instead you have to move to his camp). If one looks at the rulebook for the scenario, >75% of the scenario setup/rules are exactly the same (copy paste). All of the scenarios are solo/cooperative. There is not a single new slightly competitive or competitive scenario.

I'm a huge fan of the adventuring and deck building aspects of MK, but I purchased the expansion with the idea that more unique scenarios with interesting concepts. It seems the designers put their creativity in (Another) Galaxy Truckers are relying upon the players to do the work for Mage Knight. This expansion feels more like a miniature add-on instead of something that adds refreshing, game-changing value (ex: Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes and Galaxy Trucker: Another Big Expansion).
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Daniel Nedeljkovic
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How many actual scenarios were added in the expansion?
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Jay T Leone
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Floating World wrote:
How many actual scenarios were added in the expansion?


Officially 3.
1) Find the city 'epic'
2) Blitz of 1
3) Attack the camp

1 and 2 are the same just with different turns (as in regular rulebook). 3 is almost like a flipped 1.
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Charlie Theel
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Floating World wrote:
How many actual scenarios were added in the expansion?


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Jon W
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Overall, I have a much higher opinion of it than you do, but you raise fair points. I'm not sure what else could have been done in terms of the new basic action cards: it undeniably differentiates the characters more (than not doing it at all). The new/updated actions/spells all seem reasonable. EDIT: Oh, and the new enemy tokens are the best part of the package!

I agree that another couple of "normal" skills per character would have been nice, but then you have to add/replace skill-description cards, so maybe it was deemed too much fuss/cost for too little gain. And storage is obnoxious unless you want to drag out two boxes. On your largest point, it's hard to disagree that given the opportunity, another scenario or two (esp. competitive) would have been nice.
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Mark Kwasny
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There are 3 scenarios, though one is simply the Blitz version of the "Epic" scenario. However, I disagree that the other two are similar. The Epic has Volkare shadowing the player, at times opening new tiles on his own, and the player has to keep an eye on what Volkare is doing to make sure Volkare does not uncover and enter the city first. Meanwhile, Volkare is slowly recruiting new units. So the player has to balance exploring new tiles, building up his strength, and considering guerrilla attacks on Volkare to whittle him down while he is still weaker.

The Quest has Volkare starting in his camp, then marching toward the portal. His army will not grow, so the player has a little more leeway. He can take a little more time to build up but ultimately has to decide whether to risk all on one final battle, or again launch a series of smaller attacks over a day or two.

I would argue that both are very different and enjoyable experiences.
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David desJardins
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My opinions:

Spell Forge is a decent AA. Cure/Disease is quite a good spell. I think the balance of new cards is good. The new units add considerable variety (although Delphana Masters are OP).

The new basic actions make a significant difference. Crystal Joy can have a big effect in 2p games (e.g., running out the clock and playing 1 card/turn for 1 crystal/turn, or 2 if you're on a mine). Instinct is significantly better than Improvisation, but not broken. Overall, a significant improvement.

New enemies are a big change, you might not like the lack of predictability in what you're going to be up against, but they definitely affect the game.

I don't see any point in using anything other than baggies or plastic containers for storage anyway, so that's a non-issue.

I would have liked to have some competitive scenarios, but we don't really need the designer or publisher for that, we can just make up our own. The big disappointment is so much of the content is targeted at solo/cooperative play, I have basically zero interest in cooperative play, and not much more than zero in solo, but unquestionably there are a lot of people playing the game that way and I can't fault the designer/publisher for trying to appeal to them.

I'd personally like to have more skills per character, but some people like the limited number of skills so they can plan ahead for what they are likely to get.

Overall it seems quite successful.
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Filip Murmak
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jtrleone wrote:
I'm a huge fan of the adventuring and deck building aspects of MK, but I purchased the expansion with the idea that more unique scenarios with interesting concepts. It seems the designers put their creativity in (Another) Galaxy Truckers are relying upon the players to do the work for Mage Knight. This expansion feels more like a miniature add-on instead of something that adds refreshing, game-changing value (ex: Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes and Galaxy Trucker: Another Big Expansion).


I'm a bit sad to see that anybody could say this, knowing that Vlaada has put such a vast amount of work into this expansion (way more than any other expansion he's done before).

The original game is very diverse scenario wise, unlike say Eclipse which is so well acclaimed but offer only little replay value in terms of game goals or scenario objectives. The main goal for the expansion was to bring more solo/coop ones as the diversity was lacking there. We all had a great fun playtesting the new ones and personaly I keep finding them challenging over and over. We knew there will be some controversy around this decision but it was made on purpouse. Two well playtested scenarios with really huge challenge factor are imho more valuable than bringing lots of mediocre ones just to bring up numbers. In fact we had two more scenarios ready but Vlaada didn't want them to be included as they were not as playtested as he imagined.

And as for the card ballance, well within such complex game it's hard to be objective. I personaly find Cure/Disease to be badass in certain situations. Like this one time when I trashed Volkare's army with (among others) Shield of the Fallen King + (don't remember which one anymore) Ring artifact + Disease + Poses (applied on one of the big number draconum)... And same goes to crystal generating abilities. I for one like to have big stack of crystals lying in my inventory and can really appreciate such card as the Spell Forge. But I can see why you can find it nearly useless. Diffent playstyles mean different opinions.
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Marc Mistiaen
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karel_danek wrote:
The original game is very diverse scenario wise, unlike say Eclipse which is so well acclaimed but offer only little replay value in terms of game goals or scenario objectives.


Taking pot shots at another popular game really undermines the otherwise good points you make.
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Daniel Nedeljkovic
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Corwin1980 wrote:
karel_danek wrote:
The original game is very diverse scenario wise, unlike say Eclipse which is so well acclaimed but offer only little replay value in terms of game goals or scenario objectives.


Taking pot shots at another popular game really undermines the otherwise good points you make.


I don't think he intended to take pot shots, just give an example of a game everybody knows. But ( he failed to mention that Eclipse might not need scenarios as Mage Knight potentially does.
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Filip Murmak
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Corwin1980 wrote:
karel_danek wrote:
The original game is very diverse scenario wise, unlike say Eclipse which is so well acclaimed but offer only little replay value in terms of game goals or scenario objectives.


Taking pot shots at another popular game really undermines the otherwise good points you make.


In fact Eclipse is in my Top 10. It was simply a comparison of two highly acclaimed games, one of them having only 1 scenario and nobody objects.
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Filip Murmak
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Floating World wrote:
Corwin1980 wrote:
karel_danek wrote:
The original game is very diverse scenario wise, unlike say Eclipse which is so well acclaimed but offer only little replay value in terms of game goals or scenario objectives.


Taking pot shots at another popular game really undermines the otherwise good points you make.


I don't think he intended to take pot shots, just give an example of a game everybody knows. But ( he failed to mention that Eclipse might not need scenarios as Mage Knight potentially does.


Well scenarios or variable game objectives would make Eclipse even better in my eyes. Again personal taste
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Michael
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I am actually quite happy with the new components. They add variety, i.e. they serve their purpose. (Sure, the art is not top notch with some cards, but certainly not an eye sore.)

My big issue with the expansion is that the new scenarios are designed around cooperative play versus the character Volkare. Granted: the time pressure mechanism of the base game for solo and coop play was artificial. But to my mind so is that of Volkare moving around. While it puts some meat on those artificial bones and even has some thematic flavour, it still feels like a sketchy afterthought. Volkare moves around the board like a cloud of doom, and the players avoid/race him. But you have to stay clear of him, because an early attack on him or by him is just utterly devastating on the character. Despite the fact that the dummy player is now on the board, interaction with it is delayed until the end game, at which point is unleashes its utter brutality.

My big problem with the Volkare scewnarios is the fact that I find the bunch of rules that govern players attacking at the same time (cooperatively or competitively) the poorest part of the base game. The whole "attending the fight fully or not" reeks of a bleak mechanics hack and sticks out like a sore thumb from an otherwise solid thematic concept. Attacking another player is simply wasteful for both players with less than modest prospects for gain, and the potential for frustration that is already there when planning one's own turn is multiplied when two players combat one another. And the "cooperative" idea is to make the scenario goal impossible to attain for one player alone, then allow the players to divide up the enemies and play their hands simultaneously. And this is the part of the base game that the whole Volkare thing was tacked on. The Volkare scenarios don't take off, because the player interaction/cooperation mechanic was already the worst part of the game.

I guess I'll continue to use Volkare as surprise replacement for a city in competitive play, but that's as far as it goes.
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David desJardins
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grey_wolf wrote:
Attacking another player is simply wasteful for both players with less than modest prospects for gain, and the potential for frustration that is already there when planning one's own turn is multiplied when two players combat one another.


Obviously, PvP combat doesn't make any sense in cooperative scenarios. And, with more than 2 players in competitive scenarios, it's rarely used. But in the 2-player competitive scenarios (or 4-player team scenarios) it adds a lot. Maybe it's frustrating when your opponent successfully attacks you, but conversely it's rewarding and enjoyable when you successfully attack your opponent, or, conversely, successfully defend yourself.
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Michael Pustilnik
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I found Jay's mixed review to be well written. The only point he made that I strongly disagreed with was about Spell Forge. Spell Forge is a solid AA. I haven't yet played with Cure/Disease.

Overall, I like the expansion. The new solo scenarios with General Volkare are loads of fun, and very, very challenging. I especially like the different levels of difficulty for Volkare's Return and Volkare's Quest.

The new AA's, spells, and artifacts add a great deal of variety for someone who plays the game a lot. The new monsters are my favorite addition. Familliars are very, very, nasty for a purple monster.

What the expansion lacked most of all was new competitive scenarios (or very competitive scenarios) for 2-4 players. Mage Knight is great for solo play, but even better for 2-players. I feel that at least two new scenarios suited for competitive 2-player play should have been included.
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Michael
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Obviously, PvP combat doesn't make any sense in cooperative scenarios. And, with more than 2 players in competitive scenarios, it's rarely used. But in the 2-player competitive scenarios (or 4-player team scenarios) it adds a lot. Maybe it's frustrating when your opponent successfully attacks you, but conversely it's rewarding and enjoyable when you successfully attack your opponent, or, conversely, successfully defend yourself.

The remark about frustration was pure speculation. In our games, we have never used PvP. We haven't forbidden it, but it just never seemed worth it to any of us. What I do know about PvP is what the rules state, which already left me cold/disposed against, and what was shown in some video tutorial, which didn't sway my opinion in the slightest.

I don't doubt at all that PvP can cause some high and low emotions. My question is: how does the reward compare to what one could accomplish in a regular move?

Time is short in this game, and the aim is to gain fame and increase one's ablities. The amount of fame to be gained in PvP seems rather low compared to what could be gained by attacking monsters, especially in the mid- and endgame. What remains is the prospect of stealing an artifact. While that might be tempting on occasion, and inflicting the necessary 5 points of damage is definitely doable with a good hand, it still begs the question whether more useful things could not be accomplished with the same hand of cards.

Perhaps raising the stakes would turn this around for me. How about 10 fame flat for the winner of PvP combat +5 for each level the victor is lower than the opponent. That way, the end game would see quite a few showdown stabs at easy fame. OK, the early game would suffer from fast level ups without combatting enemies on the board... Perhaps that could be avoided by using a fame multiplier of 0 for the first day and of 2 for the third day...?

Whatever, I still think that the PvP rules reek of an after the fact editorial modification aimed at diluting the (blatantly obvious) fact that the game is multi player solitaire.

Just check some of the phrasing in the PvP rules:
* Unlike assigning damage in regular combat, the attacker chooses how to assign damage.
* Contrary to a regular combat, the attacker has to have as much damage as is the Armor of the chosen target to wound it.
Uniform and smooth this ain't.
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David desJardins
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grey_wolf wrote:
Time is short in this game, and the aim is to gain fame and increase one's ablities.


The aim in the competitive scenarios is to score more than your opponent(s). That's why PvP is useful. If you didn't get any benefit from slowing down your opponent, then it would rarely be useful at all (which is why it doesn't get used much in 3+ player games; slowing down one opponent just helps the others get farther ahead). But in a 2-player game, the benefit of slowing down your opponent can be much greater.

Quote:
What remains is the prospect of stealing an artifact.


Why aren't you counting wounds in your opponent's deck? Or pushing them where they don't want to be? Or forcing them to use their units and cards and mana to defend themselves, rather than to make progress of their own? All of those are things that help you win.

Quote:
Whatever, I still think that the PvP rules reek of an after the fact editorial modification


So what? Obviously the designer had to figure out how to include PvP combat in a system primarily/originally designed for PvE. That doesn't imply anything about how well it works. You have to try it to see that.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
The aim in the competitive scenarios is to score more than your opponent(s). That's why PvP is useful. If you didn't get any benefit from slowing down your opponent, then it would rarely be useful at all (which is why it doesn't get used much in 3+ player games; slowing down one opponent just helps the others get farther ahead). But in a 2-player game, the benefit of slowing down your opponent can be much greater.

Sure, but if you attack you are also slowing yourself down, right?

DaviddesJ wrote:
Quote:
What remains is the prospect of stealing an artifact.

Why aren't you counting wounds in your opponent's deck? Or pushing them where they don't want to be? Or forcing them to use their units and cards and mana to defend themselves, rather than to make progress of their own? All of those are things that help you win.

But when I look at your hand of cards and an opponent's minuature relatively close to me, I'll have no idea what the outcome will be (in contrast to many non-opponent interactions, except for summonings). I might be able to put wounds in the opponent's deck, but he might be able to put wounds in mine. He might have to use units or get them wounded, but so might I. Same for pushes. To me, the only calculable gain seems to be the possibility to obtain that juicy atrtifact that I know the opponent owns.

Of course, I could be stuck next (or relatively close) to the opponent with some move and a lot of attack cards. The reverse logic tells me that it's a bad idea to venture into the vicinity of the opponent in the first place. Hence, I'll stay clear.

DaviddesJ wrote:
Quote:
Whatever, I still think that the PvP rules reek of an after the fact editorial modification

So what? Obviously the designer had to figure out how to include PvP combat in a system primarily/originally designed for PvE. That doesn't imply anything about how well it works. You have to try it to see that.

I have never officially played without PvP. It just always seemed to be a terrible idea to get close enough to an opponent betting on a good attack hand for the following turn. So it never happened. I still don't see the gain versus the gain of roaming the board in order to become more powerful. Which led me to wonder why the rule is included in the first place.
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Jay T Leone
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Excellent, I like how the thread is divulging other inherent issues with the game. Perhaps I'm too much of a novice with ~10 plays under my belt, but I find that PvP has its purposes very seldomly.

Unless a player overexerts themselves with wounds in hands or insufficient # of draws from an empty draw pile, attacking a stronger player just feels like a bad idea. The rewards for PvP (minor amount of reputation, slow down leader) are not strong enough since the risk of being injured also plays into effect. Plus it has a kingmaker effect of whomever isn't in the PvP can jump ahead.

I agree: Volkaire is challenging and interesting, but when I see 'more scenarios' advertised, I thought there would be at least 1 competitive new concept.
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David desJardins
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grey_wolf wrote:
But when I look at your hand of cards and an opponent's minuature relatively close to me, I'll have no idea what the outcome will be.


But I do. That's an example of how skill and experience matter.

Quote:
I have never officially played without PvP. It just always seemed to be a terrible idea to get close enough to an opponent betting on a good attack hand for the following turn. So it never happened. I still don't see the gain versus the gain of roaming the board in order to become more powerful. Which led me to wonder why the rule is included in the first place.


It's very useful in 2-player games. Believe it or not. Did you read the thread where I played 71 Attack in PvP?
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David desJardins
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jtrleone wrote:
Plus it has a kingmaker effect of whomever isn't in the PvP can jump ahead.


If there are only 2 players in the game, then there's no one who isn't in the PvP.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
grey_wolf wrote:
But when I look at your hand of cards and an opponent's minuature relatively close to me, I'll have no idea what the outcome will be.

But I do. That's an example of how skill and experience matter.

It's very useful in 2-player games. Believe it or not. Did you read the thread where I played 71 Attack in PvP?

In advance: I don't doubt that your experience outweighs mine, because I haven't played MK that often. I have had several interesting plays, however, with the occasional nice hand playing out perfectly. So I can definitely appreciate your session report.

Your opponent had just invoked a bunch of dangerous monsters, taken some wounds (at least 2 as far as I understand it, leaving him with a hand of at most 5 useful cards - as some of them could be wounds drawn from the deck), and at least one of his units was used. You were in peak health, had the means to get to him with two cards and then hammer him with the two amazing items (Sword of Justice and Horn of Wrath) and some nice cards you had on your hand, not to forget your units. As a result, you hammered him into oblivion in a skillful execution of cards. And because he attended fully (and was KOed), you could have repeated this indefinintely, but had he not attended fully, he would have received an even worse beating.

I think that the given situation before your attack would have been quite obvious even to me. I presume that after this episode your friend Mike never again did anything as draining as an invocation while conveniently standing next to you, right? But the reason you could cause this havoc was the fact that (i) you had a rather nice attack hand, (ii) your opponent was close, and (iii) he had just weakened his position considerably. I suppose that while one can try to optimize one's hand for (a PvP) attack to some degree, the situation of being able to reach an opponent without having to play too many cards AND having this kind of knowledge about his hand will not often present itself. Important factors will usually lie outside of the scope of your skill - at least to a considerable degree. So it is down to a good deal of chance: who has a good enough draw for a damaging PvP attack when the two players are more or less close? And even then it could backfire badly.

Your game session boils down to: Mike made a blatant mistake (draining himself with you nearby), and you seized the opportunity to invoke an instant game over. I would not see this as a problem if MK were a light fast paced and relatively short game. But it is about spending hours building a good deck in order to climb the fame ladder faster and faster - faster than the opponent. The "oh by the way: there's also the possibility of me battering you each turn until the end of the game" feels very anti-climactic and, as a rule of the game, tacked on and alien.

Perhaps in a 2 player scenario "Last Mage Knight standing", requiring a final confrontation (or else both players would lose) with both players gearing up for such a final confrontation, this combat would figure as the anticipated climax. But the by-the-way manner of your overwhelming victory in the session report and, consequently, the possibility of such an almost coincidental victory through PvP combat seems rather unsatisfying to me. It is exactly the potential of a good hand plus circumstances allowing PvP to be utterly devastating that would have me stay clear of other players in a 2 player game if PvP rules are employed. But I'd (still) much rather play without them in the first place.

But out of curiosity: after that session, how often did PvP occur? Was the benefit usually as striking as in this case?
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grey_wolf wrote:
Your game session boils down to: Mike made a blatant mistake (draining himself with you nearby), and you seized the opportunity to invoke an instant game over.


No, not at all. I think he made more or less the right move in the position, he was unfortunate that I had a favorable hand for attacking. He was somewhat behind before this exchange, he wouldn't have done better by not going for the invocation. Note that I drained a huge fraction of my resources; if I inflicted a serious but not crippling blow the tradeoff could be a big win for him.

Quote:
But out of curiosity: after that session, how often did PvP occur? Was the benefit usually as striking as in this case?


I've played a bunch of two-player games with Mike, with a variety of different scenarios. At least half of them have significant PvP combat. Often it is a winning strategy and often it isn't. Quite often there are battles early in the game, rather than toward the end like this. Those can be just as decisive (either in a positive or negative sense).

You don't have to like this kind of game. Everyone likes different kinds of games. But to say, "PvP is uninteresting because I'm not good at predicting what will happen," or, "The only reason to engage in PvP is to steal an artifact," I think you're really missing a lot of the point.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
No, not at all. I think he made more or less the right move in the position, he was unfortunate that I had a favorable hand for attacking. He was somewhat behind before this exchange, he wouldn't have done better by not going for the invocation. Note that I drained a huge fraction of my resources; if I inflicted a serious but not crippling blow the tradeoff could be a big win for him.

That is, in a way, exactly my point. The entire game is largely about optimal deckbuilding within a pretty obviously determined frame of circumstances (for even if newly revealed inhabitants of a keep or mage tower turn out to be nastier than anticipated, one can abort the intended assault; only inhabitants of dungeons and conjured brown enemies add an element of chance - and that can usually be avoided if desired). The game as a whole is thus not at all about taking risks, but about analysing or gut-assessing one's hand in relation to a set of givens. Even taking wounds is not a matter of chance but an anticipated and accepted counterpoint to some gain.

PvP is basically taking chances, and - as your report demonstrates - huge chances at that. (Imagine that in the session you'd have merely had good cards for a solid 30 attack and would have concluded that it's good enough for a small PvP attack, only to find out that despite of the wounds taken your opponent would have smitten you with something like the combo you had in that session. That is quite possible.) And to me that seems to be too much like an element of reckless "all in" brovado added to a slow-paced deck building mechanic that is set out in a colourful solitair kind of a setting.

I also don't see how the game can continue to be fun for a player who got loaded down with more than his hand size of wounds due to PvP (not only but especially if it happens early in the game). That player has to sit out slow recovery while watching the opponent(s) assault, recruit and climb the level ladder. In a 2 player game there's obiously the possibility to concede the game... But the rule is not a 2P rule, it's the general PvP rule for all competitive scenarios. I see from your report that it can add quite some hilarity and oomph to a 2p game. But if something similar happened some 3 hours into in a 4P game that is to last another 2 or 3 hours, it effectively results in player elimination (or better player comatization). And with that many players, the board is much denser packed with players' pieces, making PvP attacks much mure likely. That is another reason why I think that it is not a good rule beside the one that it neither fits the style the rest of the game plays and -in order to work- has to work differently than the usual attack rules. And that was mostly my point: The PvP rules don't sit well with the rest of the game.

Quote:
I've played a bunch of two-player games with Mike, with a variety of different scenarios. At least half of them have significant PvP combat. Often it is a winning strategy and often it isn't. Quite often there are battles early in the game, rather than toward the end like this. Those can be just as decisive (either in a positive or negative sense).

Do you continue the remaining days and nights or do you concede after a bad mauling/slaughter early in the game?

Quote:
You don't have to like this kind of game. Everyone likes different kinds of games. But to say, "PvP is uninteresting because I'm not good at predicting what will happen," or, "The only reason to engage in PvP is to steal an artifact," I think you're really missing a lot of the point.

I didn't say the former. Is it what you read into my admission that you might have played the game way more often than I have. I did state that the outcome of PvP is way, way less predictable than anything else in the game (overkill hands like the one in your session report excepted - I think I would have realized that doing 70+ damage is a devastating thing), and that I think this fact clashes with the way the rest of the game flows.

As far as the latter statement goes, the only direct gain of PvP is obtaining a desired artifact. Anything else merely slows down the oppoonent. But with the attacker also losing an otherwise potentially constructive round, the other results of combat can only be seen as useful in cases in which the attacker knows that he will dominate the combat. While that kind of thing can certainly be seen as useful or even exciting for a one-on-one competitive game, it can effectively result in knocking the opponent out of the game. I still don't see how anything except artifact greed would make you want to attack another player in a 3+ player game.

By the way. It is not the case that I don't like games in which that kind of thing can happen in general. In the late 80s and early 90s, Titan was the game I played most often and with relentless enthusiasm, and it is not only for nostalgic reasons still in my Top 10. (I mention this particular game, because I noticed that you like it, too). Titan is about player versus player combat, and it brings such wonderful things as elimination and frustration with it. But the thing with Titan is that all the other mechanics (i.e. board movement and drafting) are geared towards repeated, direct PvP conflict, with ultimate domination being the explicit goal of the game. Mage Knight, with all its intricate mechanics around drafting, deck building, fame and reputation building, combat and all the small rules are geared towards building up your hand in order to succeed in city conquest. That's why to me PvP seems like an awkward afterthought and the worst part of an otherwise excellent game.
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David desJardins
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grey_wolf wrote:
(Imagine that in the session you'd have merely had good cards for a solid 30 attack and would have concluded that it's good enough for a small PvP attack, only to find out that despite of the wounds taken your opponent would have smitten you with something like the combo you had in that session. That is quite possible.)

No, that's not possible, given how PvP combat works. You're talking about something you don't understand.

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And with that many players, the board is much denser packed with players' pieces, making PvP attacks much mure likely.

First you say that the only reason you can possibly imagine attacking another player in a 4-player game is to steal their artifacts? Then you say that PvP combat is much more likely in 4-player games than in 2-player games because there are more players on the board, notwithstanding that they have little incentive to attack each other? Don't these two statements contradict each other?

2-player (or team) games are a lot different from 3-4 player games in this regard. (Even in the latter, there are more reasons to attack another player than just to steal artifacts. But not many and PvP doesn't play much of a role in the game.) In 2-player (or team) games PvP plays a much bigger (not smaller) role. The incentives for PvP combat make a much bigger difference than how "crowded" the board is!

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Do you continue the remaining days and nights or do you concede after a bad mauling/slaughter early in the game?

In my 2-player games, when someone gets too far ahead, so that the winner is clear, often the other player will concede. That depends on what time it is, how tired we are, lots of factors. Sometimes that happens as the result of PvP and sometimes it happens when there was no PvP at all.

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Mage Knight, with all its intricate mechanics around drafting, deck building, fame and reputation building, combat and all the small rules are geared towards building up your hand in order to succeed in city conquest.

I do not agree. There's a game system but it can be put to lots of different purposes. I don't even mostly play the city conquest scenarios.

You seem like that old guy yelling, "Kids get off my lawn!" You're mad whenever someone enjoys something in a way different than you would enjoy it? But different people like different things. Why is that so terrible? No one is making you play the scenarios you don't like. They do you no harm at all. But you still need to rant about how they ruin the game??
 
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