August 18, 2017, 11:37:26 AM

Author Topic: Domination as start point for beginners?  (Read 474 times)

Kitarja

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Domination as start point for beginners?
« on: May 03, 2017, 08:46:52 AM »
Hello, I haven't played since some time, but I finally got some friends interested in the game and am thinking about to introduce them to Mage Wars with a team Domination game. Do you think this is possible, or is this too much? All are familiar with long and heavy games, but haven't played Mage Wars before.

Also I might need some help from you for spellbook suggestions. As I haven't played some time, I'm not as familiar with the spells anymore as a few years ago. Can you recommend good starting books that work in Domination? Do I need to include some spells from Domination to each of the mages spellbooks or could I just use the starting books of the different mages?

A lot of questions, hope someone can help me, would love to get back into the game :)

Zuberi

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2017, 09:20:52 AM »
The main problem with bringing in new players is overwhelming them. The ability to pick any spell in your spellbook requires you to KNOW what you have and what it all does. If you introduce them to the game in a full game of Arena or Domination with a full spell book, you're going to see them flipping through their spell book for extremely long periods of time, scratching their heads and wondering what is going on and what they should do.

I recommend using Apprentice Books. You can sit all four of you down to a single board, split it down the middle, and play two different Apprentice games side by side.

If you really want the team game, you can expand the Arena to 3x3 and combine Apprentice Mode with the team rules found in the Domination rulebook. Have teammates start in the same corner, opposite from the other team.

jacksmack

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2017, 10:03:36 AM »
zub +1


the last thing i would do when introducing this game would be to run a 2vs2.

Mystery

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2017, 10:15:17 AM »
I have good experience to have rather well devoloped books that give you a clear direction (blasting banker, heavy curses, fox swarm etc) and briefly explain the idea behind the deck instead of using the regular books which are not specialized and give to many options, while the developed books rather give answers for certain situations but follow a general theme/strat most of the time.

But of course depends on your player base.

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2017, 10:17:20 AM »
I have good experience to have rather well devoloped books that give you a clear direction (blasting banker, heavy curses, fox swarm etc) and briefly explain the idea behind the deck instead of using the regular books which are not specialized and give to many options, while the developed books rather give answers for certain situations but follow a general theme/strat most of the time.

But of course depends on your player base.
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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2017, 11:50:53 AM »
Why can't you just run two 1v1 demos at the same time? Place some sort of divider between each half of the full Arena and walk the players through each round at the same time. If this seems confusing you can think of it as a single four player free for all game with an invincible triple wall cutting the board in half and the game ends when half of the players have been eliminated. :P


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Kitarja

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2017, 04:26:53 AM »
Thanks for your answers :) hmm thought it would be a cool idea to start off with a team game, especially because you don't know all the spells. In a team game you can chat with your mate, ask him what he thinks about specific cards etc, so I thought that could help get over the burden of learning the cards and in addition I really like the idea of the domination mode.

I thought about the Apprentice mode, but I really dislike it. The few times I played it, it just wasn't great. But I might think about using apprentice with the team rules or maybe give it another go, have to think more about it ;) but I would definitely perfer to start with full Arena mages and think my friends can handle it, we're used to long games, where people take their time for their turn, so flipping through the book and thinking about all the options won't be a problem I think.

Is there a specific reason you all think that a team game is not a great start? I have only played domination once so far, but that was lots of fun and it might end up being my preferred way to play the game, be it free for all or teams. Being able to play well with more than 2 players at once is a big bonus in my opinion. Sure two separate games are possible, but I think less fun than one big game ;)

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2017, 05:08:16 AM »
My main concern isn't with the team game or the domination format. It's with throwing them in the deep end with a full spellbook. It's not just a matter of it being a long game. In fact, Domination rules will keep it from going too long. It's that the vast majority of the time they WON'T BE PLAYING. They'll be scratching their head figuring out what's going on and what they should do. It doesn't matter if they can handle the length and complexity of the game. The cards aren't that hard to figure out. But no matter how smart your friends are, it takes time to digest what you've put in front of them.

Studying isn't very fun for most people. It's even less fun when you've put them in a sink or swim scenario with stakes such as victory or defeat. Especially when other people are depending on them on a team. And that's mostly what they'll be doing. Studying and trying to figure things out.

Apprentice mode is great not because it's a great game variant. It's not. But it's great because it lets you PLAY while you LEARN by cutting down on how much you need to digest. You have very few cards to worry about and learn. None of them do very complex things, relatively speaking. You don't have enough room to maneuver in and worry too much about positional tactics. And the life is so low that the game will end relatively quickly. So, yes it kind of sucks to play. The mages aren't super balanced and it doesn't allow for too much strategy. But it's great to TEACH.

But you know your friends better than us. If they like puzzling over a book and don't mind the down time, then I don't really have any other reason to worry about throwing the full game at them.

Kitarja

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2017, 09:26:35 AM »
Thanks again for that long reply :) Got your point now, my main problem with the apprentice mode is, even though it's nice for teaching, each time I played that variant I couldn't really enjoy the game, because it quickly felt unbalanced and that just took the fun away for me. And playing a game that is not fun, well is not fun. But that might just be me, as I generally don't like stripped down versions of complex games.

Guess I will give them the choice, if they want to have an introductory game or want to start with the full game. I'm pretty sure 1 or 2 of them don't mind puzzling over their books and studying everything there is in one go, but I'm not sure if that's true for all.

Let's say we play one or two rounds of Apprentice mode to get a feeling for the game and then play a game of Domination afterwards or the next time we meet. Can we play with the starting books of the mages or should I slightly adjust the books for Domination? I took some notes from iNano's post on Multiplayer Domination, but didn't have time so far to take a deeper look into his domination spell books and I'm not sure those would be good for beginners.

Zuberi

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2017, 09:47:45 AM »
I think going into Domination after one or two introductory games would be awesome. The starter books will work fine, and will simply be adding onto what they've been using in Apprentice mode, which is handy. These books aren't great for Domination, or for Arena for that matter, being very generalized, but they will definitely suffice. If you wanted to throw custom books at them after the Apprentice games though, I think that's fine too. Potentially even better.

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2017, 10:01:22 AM »
Thanks again for that long reply :) Got your point now, my main problem with the apprentice mode is, even though it's nice for teaching, each time I played that variant I couldn't really enjoy the game, because it quickly felt unbalanced and that just took the fun away for me. And playing a game that is not fun, well is not fun. But that might just be me, as I generally don't like stripped down versions of complex games.

Guess I will give them the choice, if they want to have an introductory game or want to start with the full game. I'm pretty sure 1 or 2 of them don't mind puzzling over their books and studying everything there is in one go, but I'm not sure if that's true for all.

Let's say we play one or two rounds of Apprentice mode to get a feeling for the game and then play a game of Domination afterwards or the next time we meet. Can we play with the starting books of the mages or should I slightly adjust the books for Domination? I took some notes from iNano's post on Multiplayer Domination, but didn't have time so far to take a deeper look into his domination spell books and I'm not sure those would be good for beginners.

That might still be too big a jump. Domination has a more complex ruleset than standard Arena. I recently taught someone how to play academy and I had to help them overcome analysis paralysis even then even while I was going easy on them, and the person I was playing against wasn't stupid. Most people are used to games where they only have a hand of 5-7 cards, not 30 or more. TBH I think the learning curve for Mage Wars Arena is too steep to start out with the full game. Period. I know that apprentice mode doesn't really give you much of a feel for Arena gameplay much like Academy doesn't, but Arena gameplay is too much for one's first Mage Wars game. Even after one has moved on to the full game there are a lot of mechanics and keywords to learn that are best learned gradually rather than all at once. That's why it's often a good idea to play with just core set and one or two expansions when you're playing with beginners.

TBH I wish there was an official version of apprentice mode with customizable spellbooks, alternate ability cards and different spells of its own, something between academy and Arena in terms of size and difficulty to learn. Like, where Academy mages are undergraduate student mages and Arena mages are professional mages, the mages in this format would be graduate student mages.

Unfortunately I don't see them doing this any time soon because it would reinforce the perception of non-Mage Wars players that Academy is just Arena lite. Since new players will basically see these three games in order of increasing complexity and difficulty and size and they'll assume that Academy and alt-apprentice mode are just stepping stones on the ladder to Arena rather than each being their own thing. Maybe once Academy is better established and everyone knows it's not Arena-lite, they'll have more success introducing an alt-apprentice mode game.

Ideally there would be a bunch of different versions of Mage Wars, some which are easier to learn and some which are harder, and new players would start out in one of the easier versions and if they want to try one of the harder versions later then they can. Basically a web rather than a ladder.
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Kitarja

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Re: Domination as start point for beginners?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2017, 07:25:47 PM »
Ok so I took some time this evening thinking about apprentice mode and have started to prepare some decks. I will create my own apprentice mode I think, as the apprentice books that come with the game are by far too imbalanced. Each mage will get a book with 60 spellpoints, has 8 health points less, there won't be any conjurations (or only a few exceptions) as usual and mages can use their abilities. This way there are less cards to choose from, but it's hopefully more balanced and prepares a little better for the full game.

I'm still unsure if I want to run two separate games or a free for all or team game, might depend on if we're 4 or 5 people. If we're 5 I can let the others play 2 games and help them without interrupting my play. If we're 4 I'm thinking about running a free for all game, 2v2 or all 3 against me on a 3x3 map, whatever the others prefer ;) but I think it's easier for me to help and answer questions if I know what happens and there is only one game.

In addition, I hope I'll have the time tomorrow to also create some full arena books, based on the smaller versions, so that we can play a domination game if we want after the introduction. I still think 1 or 2 introduction games will be totally sufficient for everyone. We just played/learned Sid Meier's Civilization last weekend, where every player had 30 technologies or so to choose from and lots of other stuff to keep track of and that went pretty well. The important part is that someone (in this case me) knows the rules and we don't need to look up too much in the rulebook. Let's see how it goes :)