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Subject: 3-player game rss

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Indalecio
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Helsingborg
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We had our first 3-players game yesterday and I wanted to share our first impressions of the game. We were expecting a fourth player but as he never showed up we decided to go for a triangle game. And we did enjoy it! The game took slightly over 3 hours, including the rules explanations.

We had the core set, both spell tomes, the expansion, the extra markers and the extra spellbooks. I had prepared the 6 spellbooks using the base lists provided in the game (full lists though, not apprentice mode) and had all cards to make them all. I have to say that apprentice spellbooks would have definitely led us to run out of cards very quickly so I don't recommend using these lists unless you are planning on stopping the initiation game after some point.
We picked our mages, so we had the Wizard (me), the Warlock and the Warlord. We used the original 4x3 map and my opponents started on opposite corners of the upper border as I started at the bottom in one of the middle squares:

XOOX
OOOO
OXOO

Although most central zones were quite busy over the course of the game (although we only had one zone holding more than 6 cards at a time, which was a minor issue for fitting all cards within it), it felt like 4x3 was more than enough for our 3-players game and I don't think extending the battle arena would have given us more options in fact. Blood needs to be shed at some point otherwise the game drags too much in time. It's not like we were using conjurations a lot, and creatures needed to land near the action anyway. The Mage needs to be in-range for casting attack and incantation spells.

We decided however to go for a base life total of 24 for the lowest life character (Wizard) and added the difference from the original life totals for the other mages. I´m glad we did this because the game would have been damn too long otherwise.

The Wizard went on an aggressive strategy. After I landed two mana crystals, I went for creatures and equipments, dropped the Darkfenne Hydra early in the game and it did quite some damage, but went down eventually as all enemy creatures ganged up on her. The Gorgon archer was an all-star as it dealt a total amount of 6 weak tokens and got to kill quite a few creatures. Regenerate was really powerful on her. The Wizard's shield was really good to absorb attacks. I had a strange mana curve though, as I had access to loads of mana during the first half of the game, but really struggled to cast spells in the second half. Both opponents focused on destroying my channeling conjurations as well. Eventually all of my creatures went down and I set up an escape plan using Teleport a lot (to teleport away enemy mages/creatures to the other mages so they would attack each other instead of me, it paid off) and enchantment sending attacks back to the attacker. I did not flee and stood in fact in one of the middle zone, but focused on pushing away my opposition. The Poison cloud was kind of underwhelming as creatures would easily move away from the zone. I did a lot of attack spells but all zone attacks had to be done as full actions so that I kind of lacked the ability to play these powerful 0-0 zone spells on the zones having 5-6 enemy creatures. The Wall of Fire from the Warlock blocked my sight to him so I kind of dedicated my efforts towards dragging the Warlord to him instead and just deal with the remaining creatures around me. I went down first but not without dealing loads of damage as the Warlord had 4 life left at the time I died. Shortly after, the Warlock was killed.

The Warlock opted for quite a defensive strategy, perhaps enforced by the fact we had his Lash of Fire destroyed early in the game. He stayed in his zone until the Poisonous Cloud forced him to move away. He kept on casting creatures mainly and enhanced them with the Blood Reaper mark. The Warlock had quite a hard time doing anything else than casting creatures and equipments (Battle Forge helping) as his own Wall of Fire blocked his sight for casting attack spells, and curse enchantments were sort of underhelming as we methodically removed them one by one or negated the effect with Regenerate traits. Once the Warlord's champion (Sir something, with two 6+ defenses) reached him (the Wizard teleported him to the Warlock) a fierce combat started and a few demons went down. The Warlock eventually died after failing to deal the final 4 damage required to kill the Warlord using an attack spell. The Dark Pact Slayer was really dangerous and burn conditions were raining all over the place. We believe the Wizard's incantation spell removing 8 dices of mana from the Warlock had some impact on the tide of the game since the big demon which I don't recall the name (Andralamech or something) was intended to be cast when this happened and could not be cast afterwards due to lack of mana.

The Warlord was casting the most creatures but lacked the raw power (a few Goblin Slingers, the conjuration granting +1 Ranged and a few Orc Butchers, which are all fine but very "vanilla" compared to what the Wizard and the Warlock had on the board) until the legendary knight creature (Sir something...) was cast, and he turned out to be the best creature by far on the table at this point. The Warlord had tons of nice equipments attached to him, his hammer in particular. He did bind a Melee +2 incantation spell which in conjunction with his hammer (sweeping, 4 attack), and his melee +1 made him a real threat in combat. The issue was obviously that attacking preventing him from casting more spells. A Barracks was dropped eventually near the end of the game. but had little impact. He won at the end by a close shot, since the Warlock missed his shot so that the legendary knight just had to lay 2 damages on the Warlord to take the prize.

We really had a great time, but not everything was perfect, so I´m going to highlight some of the issues we had:

1- I guess we could drop the time from 3 to 2 houus by skipping the rules part and being quicker in the planning phase but that's still a lot of time.

2- Too much confusion about the quickcast and quick action terminology, It took me the whole game to make these points clear. That came as a surprise, since in my mind the distinction is sort of obvious, but despite my explanations we had problems as people planned for casting spells AND performing quick actions as part of the same action. Using quick actions as a full action was also very confusing. The solution I think would have been to rename the "quickcast" marker to "extra cast" marker, so that you avoid the confusion between quick cast and quick action. Again, this stuff makes sense when you read the rules, but in practice the wordings are too close. Same could be said aboutthe Warlock and Warlord by the way, but that didn't haven any impact on the game.

3- Why can't "Hydro" just be called "Water"? Some traits seem counterintuitive or hard to grasp. "Burnproof" and "Lightning immunity" are the same thing only for different elements. Why not calling one of them "Lightning proof", or the other "Fire immunity"?

4- Spell types "command", "curses" are hard to locate in an easy way. We kept forgetting about activating our abilities related to spell types or sub-types. I understand there needs to be card types, but it turns up to be a lot. Most types don't do anything in the game for instance, so it feels like this game has dormant functionality all over the place which we feel the need to understand as new players but are in fact never used.

5- The flying trait is a bit overcomplicated in our opinion, or at least the rules make it complex to understand. My opponents thought the creature was on the ground after an attack but it's not, in fact all the codex is saying is that flying creatures stay on the ground until the attack is finished, allowing counterstrikes and damage barriers, theh fly up again. This was very complex to explain. The ability to shoot at them with ranged attacks from the same zone was intuitive though.

6- Pest, Flying, Elusive etc as far as "hindered" is concerned... We get that creatures might be held for some time by Tanglevine, or cannot free themselves as they want from combat, but that's a LOT of different traits to describe the actions you can do. We had difficulties analyzing these interactions.

7- Although we played aggressively, our spellbooks were clearly running out of cards very quickly, had we played 4-5 more turns I think we would have played all creatures and played every attack spell in the books. That's a concern for how reliable longer multiplayer games may be.

8- We felt the need to mark that conjuration A was owned by Player B etc, without the markers it made it difficult to analyze the board state in the blink of an eye.

We realize some of these issues are due to the fact we are new players, obviously. After this experience we are asking ourselves about the map size if we were to add a fourth player. While I can think of extending the map to 4x4, I really don't understand the motivation behind playing on 4x5 or 4x6 boards.

Hope this makes it a decent session report!
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Kārlis Jēriņš
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Yttrenolv wrote:
"Burnproof" and "Lightning immunity" are the same thing only for different elements.


They're not, actually. Lightning Immunity means that the creature takes no damage from lightning-based attacks and cannot even be selected as a target for such. Burnproof has nothing to do with not taking damage from fire attacks; it just means that the creature can't get a Burn marker.
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Guilherme xD
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We play with the setup:

X
OO
OOO
XOOX

and works prety well ( just need 1 square more in the main board, and 3 squares are not used )
 
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Roger Reisinger
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I appreciate that you took the time to share your game but as I was reading your report all I was thinking was, you just dont get it.

Magewars was designed to be a complex game of card interactions, it is what makes it different than other games of its type. If you reduced the number of cards, abilities, or effects... Your changing the fundamentals of the game itself.

To your 2nd point about the game being too long.... Well, the more complex the game, the longer it takes to play. Magewars is a somewhat complex, and 2 hrs to play I dont think is unnecessarily long, and is quite reasonable. The most downtime I have during a game is choosing spells from round to round, and as you get more experienced this process becomes faster. Also remember that multiplayer is kind of an add on, and the game really functions better as a 1v1.

If your looking for a quicker/ simpler game to play with your friends, maybe try Summoner Wars, and break out Magewars when you want that one on one duel.
 
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Indalecio
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Lowecore, not sure what gave you the impression that we were "reducing the number of cards, abilities, or effects... Your changing the fundamentals of the game itself." As far as I know we played the normal game using the full spellbooks provided in the Rulesbook with the only difference that we started at a lower life total, which I don't think changes anything fundamental. We might be considering the introduction of a house roule as for deciding how a game should be ended if we´re running out of time, but the course of the game should be handled as described in the rules. So that I am not sure what I am "not getting", could you please elaborate on this comment of yours?

Regarding Burnprrof, alright, I feel stupid about this now, thanks for the clarification. We made a couple of mistakes actually (the biggest one being the use of quickcast action between two opponents' action phases) but this said it was our first game so we can easily rectify these next time. We did Guard wrong in the beginning of the game too.

About the triangular map, thanks for the suggestion but if you are concerned about making all distances even between the mages at starting position, I don't think it actually matters much. We´re not playing competitively anyway so being 3 or 4 zones away from each other is no big deal, in our opinion.
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Kārlis Jēriņš
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Actually that triangular position only makes the starting distance problem worse:
A
OO
OOO
BOOC

The distance between A and B is 3, as is the distance between B and C. But the distance between A and C is 6, so that's really likely to be a 2 vs 1 game.

Yttrenolv wrote:
the use of quickcast action between two opponents' action phases

Yeah, I was making that one for quite a long time.
 
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Tom Cannon
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Here is the setup on the standard arena board that we used in our last 3-player game.

OOCO
OAOO
OOBO

This put everyone equidistant from each other and provided some manuever room for each mage.
 
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Tandoori Chicken
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I suspect a 3-player game would work better on a hex grid, that way it would be easy to set up as an equilateral triangle (in terms of range, not just appearance). I have only had the opportunity to play a full game of Mage Wars once so far, but have been doing some solitaire/theory-crafting lately and don't think the change would break the game.
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Nate Kando
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Hex grids ftw.
 
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