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Author Topic: Is mage wars losing popularity?  (Read 57859 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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Is mage wars losing popularity?
« on: January 25, 2015, 08:22:46 AM »
I'm starting to get the impression that mage wars is losing popularity. This thread on reddit was particularly disheartening:

http://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/2jft95/mage_wars_disappointment/

Almost none of the posts disagreed with the claims in the op, in particular:

-That the priestess is the most powerful mage in a core set only metagame.
-that mage wars involves significantly MORE luck than CCGs like Magic the Gathering.
-that Mage wars decks are all generic due to being able to put any card in your spellbook

Are these misconceptions common? The person who posted originally said they were an experienced gamer and that they had skipped both apprentice mode and the preconstructed spellbooks and tried to build their own right from the start.

And I've been having more difficulty in getting people interested in trying mage wars for the first time than I used to. The impression I'm getting (although it might be wrong) is that most people have heard of mage wars but don't want to try it.

Thoughts?
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Schwenkgott

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 08:55:03 AM »
I would not think too much about this. What we have there is a guy, that plays with the same guy over and over without getting deep inside in the game or learning advanced strategies from better players. After what he wrote in his posting, I imagine their games like building up the army for 5 rounds and then meeting in the middle of the arena.
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Laddinfance

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 10:20:27 AM »
I think in the thread, that poster hit on something important. He was conditioned to find dice more random than card draw. It's totally a matter of perspective. I have a strong background in Miniatures games, and so it infuriates me when I can't play the strategy I want (as in I didn't draw it), whereas I'm uses to having a figure roll poorly occasionally. I also think that people remember the negative times far more often than the positive ones.

In the end, Mage Wars is a game that rewards your efforts to delve into it. This gentleman, and several others, are happier with shorter games and there is nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, you should be playing the game that puts a fire in your belly, know what I mean?

Lord0fWinter

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2015, 10:26:23 AM »
I think the main issue for most people is not having others to play with/not being able to get people into the game. The game is intimidating at first glance.

I think most of his points are more of an opinion than fact.
-Yeah you can get screwed on dice rolls but the cards you play and when you play them are much more important to victory. Dice roll probability evens out over time (even though sometimes it doesn't seem that way).

-Spellbooks are definitely not generic in my experience. Just cause you can put the same cards in a book doesn't mean that every Mage will use them the same way/same strategies with said cards.

-Games usually only last 2+ hours when learning the rules, unless both players are turtling, which is what I assume they were doing. & if they both do that, of course the Priestess is going to win b/c she has the best economy game of the Mages in the core set.

What we need is a shorter, simpler version of the game that won't intimidate people. And we're getting that in Academy so I think we'll be okay.
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ACG

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2015, 12:59:10 PM »
Yeah, random card draw is a LOT more luck-based than die rolls. Also more prone to confirmation bias; if you make a spectacularly bad roll, it will likely stick in your memory, whereas you might not see your failure to draw the card you need as similarly bad luck (since it is just the absence of a good event, rather than a failure to succeed). Since dice have numerical values, they do average out, whereas cards (with all sorts of non-numerical values) do not.

silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2015, 02:54:14 PM »
It's still growing pretty steady in my area. We just added some more players to our local group. Academy is really going to help with making it simpler to present I agree. I wouldn't put too much stock in a Reddit post.
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Wise fool

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2015, 04:08:00 PM »
I don't think luck is a determining factor in Mage Wars.  When I first started playing I got my clock cleaned very consistently.  I'm sure if I started playing on Octagon, I'd experience the same thing on a whole new level.  It's not like we're playing Yahtzee here.

silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2015, 04:50:26 PM »
I don't think luck is a determining factor in Mage Wars.  When I first started playing I got my clock cleaned very consistently.  I'm sure if I started playing on Octagon, I'd experience the same thing on a whole new level.  It's not like we're playing Yahtzee here.

It's not a gigantic factor but it can play a part. I will say I've been "dice screwed" less now that I have Akiro's Favor in all my books  ;D
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Lukard

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2015, 07:30:23 PM »
I am with Lord0fWinter, Academy will help a lot. In my area there are many people who feel intimidated and would opt for less lengthy games.

(...)
What we need is a shorter, simpler version of the game that won't intimidate people. And we're getting that in Academy so I think we'll be okay.
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sdougla2

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2015, 08:04:29 PM »
My sense from that reddit thread is that the OP played against someone that was bad at the game using a strategy that he didn't find interesting until he gave up on the game rather than exploring more interesting strategies.

The claim that top decking into a win is okay but rolling poorly on dice is an unacceptable element in a game was really grating. One of the things I appreciate about Mage Wars is avoiding random card draws. The dice, while certainly a factor, do not have nearly as large an impact on the overall outcome of a game of Mage Wars as card draws do in MtG or Hearthstone. I can appreciate the argument that someone prefers random opportunities to random outcomes, but Mage Wars has low enough variance in its random outcomes that I don't see why they have such a problem with it.

The other thing I notice, is that most of the people that responded are not experienced players because they mostly agreed that the game should take 2+ hours. I've played hardcore attrition games that took less time than that.
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gerni

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2015, 06:31:10 AM »
Well, there are strategies which certainly are more dependent on dice rolls than others and games can therefore be decided by rolls (imagine an "all in" style like e.g. Rushmaster, rolling blanks on two boulders). But that is part of the strategy and you have to be aware of the probability to fail with this kind of play.

But some points the reddit OP mentions i do share (and i played a lot of MW games). If you play for fun in the sense that you play thematic books, without putting too much thoughts into your books and try to optimize - briefly speaking without any competitive ambitions - MW is perfectly fine. Now, if you try build maximized books you'll find a huge number of cards every mage absolutely has to have. For some cards, there are no alternatives, which makes some mages intrinsically inferior compared to others (because the pay more for these cards or have less of them) which can be a source of frustration. Did you ever try to make a cool strategy on a lesser played mage work and then recognized that the other mage is just better in almost every aspect? Happens to me a lot.

It's leading to a small pool of mages being played and a small variety of cards being used and finally in a small variety of strategies. For example, I can safely say that over 90% of our games are finished without more than one or two creatures being killed, since focusing the mage is just more efficient. I think the game would profit - and that is a point the reddit OP also states - from more mage exclusive solutions to common threads/problems (e.g. getting rid of armor, dispelling/countering enchantments, gain/deny mobility).

Therefore, I can understand some points mentioned in the reddit post, but I'm optimistic - I think some points exist because the card pool is simply not big enough yet.
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Tophermay

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2015, 09:10:03 AM »
This game is soooooo meta game dependent even more than many other games I've played. It reminds of magic and dominion in that way. If you play with people who buy $500 decks in magic or only buy 1 -2 actions and all money in dominion it will alter how you play and ultimately how you feel about the game.

In mage wars every game has so many possibilities depending on the skill and strategy of the player. In my experience (45 games) people don't guard enough. This would cause more creature deaths. It also increases the value of spells that give elusive and knockdown. If no one ever guards then creatures , elusive, incapacitate, etc seem to be useless. Once My opponents see how much I guard they start putting elusive and kncokdown in their books and guard more.

Also if your groups doesn't use a lot of dissolves the. Equipment seems more powerful than it is. Etc.   For every strategy there is a counter . (Maybe teleport is an exception although nullify is probably your best)


The problem with all this is that even a hardcore gamer may give up on this game after a few plays without really getting to discover all this awesome play/counter play. I would have given up after about 5 plays if I didn't love the theme so much. I had a lot of the same problems and had so much difficulty learning the rules to this game.  The game seemed very samey and luck dependent as we each pursued the same strategy every game  now I know better but a lot of people are not going to give a game 5 plays of 2+ hours of chance to impress.

sIKE

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2015, 09:35:46 AM »
Quote
I can safely say that over 90% of our games are finished without more than one or two creatures being killed, since focusing the mage is just more efficient.

I know you know this, but it is Mage Wars! I have seen this comment above raised as an issue or  complaint about the game multiple times. I am never sure what/how players want AW to change things when the goal of 100% of the games is to kill the opposing Mage. Domination will bring us new conditions, that is one way to handle this, another could be to go over to the Alternate Play section of the forums and look at the many alt play styles some very creative players (ahem Sailor Vulcan being one) have come up with.

With a limited card pool compared to some games that have been around since the 90's there are cards in certain schools that are useful across all of the schools, this is one of the most attractive features of the game to me. I really do not find games where a largish part of the card pool is exclusive to one players avatar. Yes this means some Mages will be have better cards than others for certain game situations. The real effort is in the balance between the Mages and keeping them near each other. There have been threads and thread on this topic that I am not going to rehash here. None the less I think with each expansion AW has narrowed things between most mages. Come out on OCTGN and play there you will see almost all of the Mages played to win there. I am not saying that some are not weaker than the others (like my poor Priest) but even then, when well played, he can win and yes the dice then matter more but it sure beats rolling through a deck waiting to draw that one card that will win me game.

One of the nice things is with MW being a board game + card game and not a straight card game, you can look at the board, much like chess, and see that you are going loose and concede the game, discus was good and bad for both players then setup and start another game.
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V10lentray

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2015, 10:40:51 AM »
while I love the game, I think the biggest hurdle for people is for them to break away from their know money pit, (Magic) and delve into something far more complex but although similar.

And finding a play group is difficult. I've ran demos and a bunch of different stores, yet getting people to stick with it is a challenge.

One guy I know who has the game refuses to play it because he played with a guy once who put a teleport on a mage wand, and bounced all around the arena on him and the game was miserable for him. I've tried to get him to play again with me and get a new feel for the game but the one guy totally ruined it for him.
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gerni

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Re: Is mage wars losing popularity?
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2015, 02:31:38 PM »
Quote
I know you know this, but it is Mage Wars! I have seen this comment above raised as an issue or  complaint about the game multiple times. I am never sure what/how players want AW to change things when the goal of 100% of the games is to kill the opposing Mage.

Well, i wouldn't have a problem with that but it renders things like Veteran or Wounded Prey completly useless since - AHA - you will not kill creatures anyways. You either ignore them, make your enemy pay for them or get a guard and/or defense.

Quote
Come out on OCTGN and play there you will see almost all of the Mages played to win there. I am not saying that some are not weaker than the others (like my poor Priest) but even then, when well played, he can win and yes the dice then matter more but it sure beats rolling through a deck waiting to draw that one card that will win me game.

I play on OCTGN so that's part of the experience i am talking about. I also like rolling dice more than having to depend on drawing a card (in the end it is the same - playing with probability, it is part of deckbuilding). But it is frustrating if you want to make some mages work and in the end they can only win if you roll better or the other player makes mistakes. As negative as this may sound, I enjoy playing the game a lot, but i think criticism (when constructive) should be offered and is a good thing.
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