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Author Topic: Mage Wars Portability Project  (Read 13303 times)

ACG

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Mage Wars Portability Project
« on: December 08, 2013, 04:58:26 PM »
I'm not sure if this really counts as "Alternative Play" (no rule changes), but I couldn't figure out where else to put it, so I'll put it here for now.

One of the major problems with Mage Wars is how not portable it is. The objective of this thread is to provide replacements for game components, with the ultimate objective being to fit the entire game (or a portable and playable subset of the game) into as few deck boxes as possible (small deck boxes; think UltraPro). This will be mostly accomplished by converting as many things as possible into 2.5"x3.5" cards and finding alternative ways to represent aspects of the game state. This is not intended to replace the game components, but rather to provide an alternative for players who find themselves traveling and want to bring the game along with them in as little space as possible.

Game Board
This is the easiest to replace. The mage wars board is basically a modified tic-tac-toe board. Here are ways to simulate it:

Draw a board with chalk/markers/pencil/pretty much anything else.

Say what you will, this works and is extremely easy and quick to do.

Mark zone intersections.



These cards represent zone intersections. Just place 6 of them in a grid (or 20, if you absolutely need to define the arena outer boundaries), with as much space between them as you would like. The lines between the four-pointed stars become the zone borders. Also lets you build custom or multiplayer boards. The fancy purple-starred card replaces the initiative and compass tokens - just point it at the player with initiative, and use its compass when you need to determine directions at random.

Note that you don't have to use these cards - literally anything will do for a zone intersection. I have played Mage Wars on a board made out of peanuts and tangerines (true story!). Post-its also work nicely.

Mage Status Boards

Use Status Cards



Note that this life card is scaled to 5-per-row and color coded by severity of your injuries. But where, you ask, is the place for zero on either of these cards? Simple: just don't put the marker on the track if it is at zero (put it on your mage card or something if you are worried about losing it).

Use a Status Dial

Instructions for making a basic status dial here:
How to make a status dial (easily)
Unfortunately, the current model is still about as bulky as a regular status board, though it does have fewer separate parts. I will see if I can improve upon this. I am considering 3D printing as an option.

Action and Quickcast Markers

These are unnecessary. Take a page out of Magic and turn creatures sideways after they have acted. The facing of the card can be used to keep track of who owns it (and players generally remember which ones they own anyway). You can also keep your objects closer to your side of each zone.

Similarly, the quickcast marker can be represented by turning your Mage card (not the one with your picture, but the one with your abilities) sideways.

I have tried this, and it works well. I no longer use action markers in my own games, and barely notice the difference.

Spellbooks

As many have noted, the books are not necessary; keeping the cards in a deck works fine and takes up less space (also less setup and take-down time for the game). I personally prefer to use decks as a general rule, but in terms of portability they are an obvious choice.

Dice
Not going to mess with these (yet). I can't think of any alternative that would use less space, and they aren't terribly bulky anyway.

Assorted Tokens
Still working on these. Not all should be replaced, but I think there is definitely some scope for reductions here.

Mage Ability Tokens



If your mage's ability is one use per round, you can turn this card over to indicate when the ability has been used. If its ability is a pet-type ability, slide this card underneath its target. This works because all mages have at most one ability that requires a single special token (not considering warlord's vet tokens).

Mana and Damage Markers

Miniature dials can function to display health and mana very efficiently; each creature needs only one or two such dials. Examples:



These require a bit more assembly than the other solutions here, but the materials are very cheap. This thread contains more information and resources for constructing these dials.

Imaginator proposes use of change such as pennies, dimes, etc. as damage/mana markers. He also proposes a "penny mage" optional variant for this. Depending on the type of change you use, this could potentially cut down on space a bit by reducing component sizes.

Stackable Conditions

These are replacements for stackable conditions. Print them doublesided and put them under the creature so that the desired part of the card sticks out:



Initiative and Compass Rose Markers

The following special zone intersection replaces the initiative and compass rose markers. Just point the initiative arrows at the player that currently holds the initiative.



Rulebook and Codex
The best way to carry these is in your brain. I am still thinking about a replacement codex, though.


Comments and suggestions welcome.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 05:56:08 AM by ACG »

aquestrion

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 06:29:56 PM »
Blank dice with printed label/stickers would replace conditions/mana/damage markers and tokens

jacksmack

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 04:21:21 AM »
I cant wait to get this printed and tested.

Im 90% that i wont ever use the original status boards (even when playing at home) after these gets printed.

And there is a huge chance i wont use the normal board as well. I imagine it will be possible to expand the 1 or 2 crowded zones (there is always 1 or 2 crowded zones in a game) and make the neighour zones small while still keeping the grid structure somewhat logical.
I can really see this being a nice improvement. I often see creatures being placed 3/4 of the card outside the zone where it actually are suppost to be.

DeckBuilder

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 06:08:50 AM »
Awesome. Also why not shared mana and life boards to either side with different markers from other games (like same size cubes in Lords of Waterdeep). To ensure no mistakes made via greater transparency and awareness of oppoonent's resources.

Keep up the great work, ACG!
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Sailor Vulcan

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Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 12:00:43 PM »
Amazing! I would love to use these!

I think the zone intersections should be square-shaped, not rectangular. It might not make much difference, but it might be easier to make the zones line up properly in some variant formats if the zone border cards are just as long as they are short. Like if you want to have triangular zones by overlapping the zone borders, or something like that.

Of course, you could also make the zone border cards only have one line on them, then put them in transparent card sleeves. Then draw lines in permanent marker on the card sleeves, in different ways depending on the shape and arrangement of the zones. So there would be some zone border cards with horizontal lines and some with vertical, and some card sleeves with vertical lines on then and some with horizontal. Then you can have bigger card sleeves with diagonals and curved lines and such.

Perhaps pens could be used for the outer walls of the arena?
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 06:25:36 PM by Imaginator »
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ACG

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 04:47:24 PM »
Blank dice with printed label/stickers would replace conditions/mana/damage markers and tokens

Yes, they would. I suspect that they would be more bulky, though, and I would prefer to represent things with cards whenever possible.

Also why not shared mana and life boards to either side with different markers from other games (like same size cubes in Lords of Waterdeep). To ensure no mistakes made via greater transparency and awareness of opponent's resources.

You mean like an extra status track? A good idea, but my objective is to reduce the number of components. I don't think tracking the opponent's resources is that difficult; you can always ask them. I'll think about this.

I think the zone intersections should be square-shaped, not rectangular. It might not make much difference, but it might be easier to make the zones line up properly in some variant formats if the zone border cards are just as long as they are short. Like if you want to have triangular zones by overlapping the zone borders, or something like that.

The reason I am making them rectangular is that I want them to fit on the same size cards as Mage Wars cards so that they can fit nicely into the same size card boxes. I can also make some square versions, though; I'll get those up at some point.

Of course, you could also make the zone border cards only have one line on them, then put them in transparent card sleeves. Then draw lines in permanent marker on the card sleeves, in different ways depending on the shape and arrangement of the zones. So there would be some zone border cards with horizontal lines and some with vertical, and some card sleeves with vertical lines on then and some with horizontal. Then you can have bigger card sleeves with diagonals and curved lines and such.

Perhaps pens could be used for the outer walls of the arena?

Good idea for alternate board types. My primary concern right now is making the standard game portable, so I'll focus on that. Regarding pens, those would work, but I don't think they're necessary.

I found an alternate image host, so here are some replacements for stackable status conditions. Print them doublesided, and I think they should be a net reduction in volume over the cardboard tokens. Just slide them under creatures as though they were enchantments, with the appropriate part showing.















Here's a way to replace the initiative and compass rose markers. It's a zone intersection, but with additional information. Just turn it so that the arrow points at whichever player currently has the initiative.


Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2013, 03:22:29 PM »
Has anyone tried using post it notes with lines written on them in pen for the zone borders? I personally think cards would of course be better, since they're reusable. Cards don't get bent out of shape if you leave them in a bag full of other Mage Wars stuff, but Post-it-notes are still quite portable, and you can just bring some pens with you for drawing the lines on the six post it notes as well as making the outer walls.

Also, I think I've come up with a use for the useless American Penny: Keeping track of your Mage's Damage! Each Penny would be worth 1 point of damage. :)
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ACG

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2013, 12:12:15 AM »
Has anyone tried using post it notes with lines written on them in pen for the zone borders? I personally think cards would of course be better, since they're reusable. Cards don't get bent out of shape if you leave them in a bag full of other Mage Wars stuff, but Post-it-notes are still quite portable, and you can just bring some pens with you for drawing the lines on the six post it notes as well as making the outer walls.

An excellent suggestion. Now that I think of it, post-its would replace most of the components:
- Arena
- All Condition/Other Markers

It would probably take less time to write a word on a post-it than it does to find the appropriate marker (one aspect of the Mage Wars condition markers that bothers me is how they are not uniform, making organizing them impossible). I will probably make use of this post-it suggestion.

Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2013, 01:51:43 PM »
Yeah. I'm not too fond of overusing post it notes. They're not as visually appealing and they waste trees. I would definitely prefer cards. I think I would use post its mainly for when I don't have cards or when I want to try some differently shaped zones.
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ACG

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 06:05:34 AM »
Update: I updated the first post by cleaning up the format and adding links to some relevant other threads. Also, I think I have found the replacement for damage/mana tokens. I tested my ceramic magnets against a paper clip, and it turns out they are strong enough to hold in place. Here is the basic idea:

1. Attach a paper clip to the side of a creature's card when it comes into play, with the short side on the top of the card.

2. Place a damage/mana dial on top. The short end of the paper clip acts as a pointer to indicate the current status of the dial, and the long end of the paper clip magnetically secures the dial to the card.

I am temporarily cut off from my source of cheap magnets (ACE hardware), so I can't make a prototype yet, but as soon as I do I'll post some pictures. This will cut down on the number of components needed (you only need about 1 damage dial per object that will be damaged, and the dials can be made arbitrarily small) and will look very nice. The basic materials also mean that it should be easy for anybody to construct their own - the trickiest part is finding a source of cheap magnets (again, ACE hardware is a great place to go).

IndyPendant

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2014, 06:14:41 AM »
These are *great*, ACG, thanks!  My art editing skills are abysmal, so can I make a request: could you make cards similar to the Rot/Bleed/etc cards, but for 'companions'.  So:

Pet/Wounded Prey
Blood Reaper/Eternal Servant
Holy Avenger/Treebond

(This way, six cards should be enough for all two-player games.)

And there are certain other effects that might be good to have on cards as well:
Ready/Used (for Defenses in particular, but can also be used for abilities like Wizard/Forcemaster/Invisible Stalker)
Guard
Taunt
Daze/Stun
Cripple/Stuck
Slam/Sleep

For life/mana tokens, I'm thinking of just using small d6's: red for life, purple for mana.  Along with the damage dice and the yellow d12, that would then require just bringing a small box for dice, along with the card boxes.

That should cover everything currently in the game, except Vines.  I'm not sure yet how best to represent those, in this format.  (And yes, I'm deliberately ignoring Veteran tokens.  Those will likely never be needed. ; )
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 06:28:48 AM by IndyPendant »

klaymen

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2014, 09:39:55 AM »
For life/mana tokens, I'm thinking of just using small d6's: red for life, purple for mana.

I should have a package of small red d6s lying around somewhere. I'll try it with my friends on Saturday how it will suit them, but I like the idea in general. Should it be successful, buying a set in another color will be used for mana as well.

aquestrion

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2014, 12:00:14 PM »
I use d 10 s for damage and mana

IndyPendant

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2014, 04:42:01 PM »
One more suggestion: it might be worthwhile to include the removal cost for the conditions, in the middle of the card.  For example:

1 Burn
2 Burns
(Removal: 2)
4 Burns
3 Burns

ACG

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Re: Mage Wars Portability Project
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2014, 01:44:58 AM »
These are *great*, ACG, thanks!  My art editing skills are abysmal, so can I make a request: could you make cards similar to the Rot/Bleed/etc cards, but for 'companions'.  So:

Pet/Wounded Prey
Blood Reaper/Eternal Servant
Holy Avenger/Treebond

(This way, six cards should be enough for all two-player games.)

Well, six cards to replace six tokens is not particularly efficient in terms of space. It might be a reduction, but I think there is room for improvement. Here's a more efficient solution:



Print two copies of this card (one image is the card front, the other is the card back), one for you and one for your opponent. More may be printed if needed. If your mage's ability is one use per round (e.g. wizard or forcemaster), you can turn this card over to indicate when the ability has been used. If its ability is a pet-type ability, slide this card underneath its target. This works because all mages have at most one ability that requires a single special token (not considering warlord's vet tokens).

And there are certain other effects that might be good to have on cards as well:
Ready/Used (for Defenses in particular, but can also be used for abilities like Wizard/Forcemaster/Invisible Stalker)
Guard
Taunt
Daze/Stun
Cripple/Stuck
Slam/Sleep

I'll think about those, although making them into cards does not cut down much on space. I'm still trying to figure out a way to fit more of these on one card.

For life/mana tokens, I'm thinking of just using small d6's: red for life, purple for mana.  Along with the damage dice and the yellow d12, that would then require just bringing a small box for dice, along with the card boxes.

That should cover everything currently in the game, except Vines.  I'm not sure yet how best to represent those, in this format.  (And yes, I'm deliberately ignoring Veteran tokens.  Those will likely never be needed. ; )

I don't like using dice to keep track of stats, though it would work if they are small enough. Just a personal bias, though. If dice are used, they should have at most 6 sides, since anything greater is at substantial risk of rolling.

One more suggestion: it might be worthwhile to include the removal cost for the conditions, in the middle of the card.  For example:

1 Burn
2 Burns
(Removal: 2)
4 Burns
3 Burns

Great idea. I'll add that the next time I update those.