Schmabletop Reviews: Mage Knight
So far on our Schmabletop Reviews we’ve been gentle with you. Easing you into the experience of playing board games, giving you ideas for things you and your non-board game friends could pick up and play with very little experience in the board gaming world. Not anymore.
Today, we’re going to talk about Mage Knight: The Board Game. Why? Because Mage Knight is like the best RPGs in a box. You level up, you get new spells and equipment, you manage your resources and party, you choose which spells to take into a given scenario, it has a day and night cycle, you liberate cities, you fight in dungeons and slay dragons. Doesn’t that sound amazing? If it doesn’t, you can go straight to hell, because it is. And doesn’t it sound complicated? It sure does! Fortunately, this is a game that you and your friends can easily pick-up if you have one experienced player with you. Not everyone needs to know the game back and forth to play it, so don’t let the complication factor intimidate you, it’s well worth the experience.
Mage Knight is for one to four (five with the expansion) players. They choose one of the four different heroes to represent themselves in their game, and each one plays differently and has different spells and strengths. After each player has selected a hero, you have to decide which scenario to play. Think of the scenarios as campaigns in an RPG, just super condensed, with a wide variety of goals and challenges that range from exploring the map, to liberating a city, to killing all the other players. Did I not mention that? Mage Knight isn’t just a stellar RPG, it’s a co-op or competitive RPG depending on how you want to play it. That means the game doesn’t just appeal to co-op or competitive players, but both. And you know what? There are scenarios where they’re both co-op and competitive! Ha! This game is so damn cool.
Once you’ve chosen heroes and scenario, the game proper starts. You move across a hexagonal map system and explore or fight or harvest resources. The particulars of how this all works is very much outside the scope of this review, but needless to say there’s a lot of things going on here. As mentioned above your heroes level up, and you get to select different abilities for how they will end up progressing. Not only do you get to choose your character, you can level that character up in completely unique ways each time you play, depending on how the scenario you play.
Did I mention that you can harvest resources? That’s right, you capture mines and exploit them for their magical energies, which leads to you having epic PVP battles over a damn mine because you need those
energon crystals. Or maybe you won’t make it there in time because it’s night and you’re traveling across a mountain like an idiot, so it takes you three extra turns to move there.
I don’t even.
This game is complicated, but wonderful. If you’ve ever play
ed a Skyrim or Dragon Age or something and said to yourself “I wish this was a board game I could play with my friends” this game is for you. And if you didn’t say that at some point in your life, the hell is wrong with you?
Go get Mage Knight: The Board Game. Right now.