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Author Topic: Variant where Spellbook fills up during the game  (Read 3309 times)

diceman

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Variant where Spellbook fills up during the game
« on: November 05, 2013, 12:47:55 AM »
Hello everyone, new to this forum, new to MAGE WARS (recently got hooked on the German Version, which has been released on the Boardgame-Fair in Essen).
Here's a variant I thought of, haven't had the opportunity to test it yet, though, so I'm eager to hear what you guys think of it.
The idea is, that you don't start with your whole Spellbook available from the start, but it'll fill up during the course of the game. For this idea we'll need a new stat, I'll call it "Intelligence", which in the beginning for each Mage is 5 (keep track of it with a couple of dice).

- Intelligence determines, how many cards there may be in your spellbook.
- So, in the beginning, each Mage shuffles his Spellbook-deck and draws 5 cards. As an initial action you may discard 1,2,3 or all cards and draw new ones. Shuffle the deck anew, put these 5 cards in your Spellbook.
- Make your turns.
- In the end, right before the Initiative-Marker switches players, Intelligence goes up +1 for both Mages.
- Now, as a new initial Phase, both Mages fill up their Spellbook according to the new Intelligence-value, so now both start the new round with 6 cards in their spellbook, and so on.
Besides, this could also be a good way to introduce the game to new Players, since on your first try you'll get easily overwhelmed by all the options available.

Now there's a couple of variants you can introduce to this style of gameplay:

- At the end of a round Intelligence doesn't go up +1, but the player with the Initiative rolls a 6-sided Attack-Die:
- Blank: Intelligence stays / 1: Intelligence +1 / 2: Intelligence +2
- Critical Hits count as a simple 1 or 2
- Roll counts for both Players.

Or, if you'd like a bit of Competitive Risk and Randomness, try this one:

- At the end of a round, the Player with the Initiative rolls a 6-sided die.
- Blank: Intelligence stays for both players / Normal Hit: Intelligence increases accordingly for both Players / Critical Hit: Value only counts for the Player with the Initiative, the other Player gets one less (2 = 1 or 1 = 0).


Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Variant where Spellbook fills up during the game
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2013, 01:13:14 PM »
This sounds really cool! If you're trying to deal with analysis paralysis for newer players who have just graduated from apprentice mode, having this kind of variant could be helpful. However, I don't think five cards is enough to form an initial strategy. Also, the randomness of shuffling every round makes it harder to develop a strategic imagination for this game. In fact, I think it skews the game in favor of mages whose strategies often include more copies of their key cards, and awfully against mages like the Forcemaster who use few creatures and depend on several important cards that you can't reasonably put more than one or two copies of in her spellbook. You might never draw a card with the Epic trait when you need it if you're shuffling every round.

With all this in mind, here are my suggestions of how this could work:

Maybe intelligence (I'm going to call it "memory" now) should start at eight cards instead of five. As previously stated, I don't think shuffling is a good idea. Instead, I think each "deck" should have an order to it decided before the game. At the start of each round, a player could rearrange a number of cards on top of their spellbook equal to their memory minus the number of cards currently in their spellbook. They would do this by picking up those cards then placing each of them either on the top or bottom of the deck.

I don't think discarding is a good idea. The Necromancer would have an unfair advantage, and there would be a large chance of players running out of cards before the game can reach a resolution. Even if you were to make a separate removed from game pile for cards that were switched out so as not to overpower the Necromancer, that could still cause the problem of self-milling. People would realize this and become very hesitant to use such a mechanic. I see no reason to permanently remove the exchanged cards from the game.

Memory decides what spells are available for the mage to cast. If one mage has more strategies available than their opponent than they could get a huge lead just from being able to set up sooner. Or they might get analysis paralysis from having their memory stat get to high too quickly because of too many lucky memory rolls. I really think memory should increase at the same rate for both mages without a roll of the die. And it should increase for both mages each round, not just the one with initiative. Each round, both mages should draw cards until the cards in their spellbook equal their memory. Don't forget that each round is shared between both players. Having initiative isn't the same as it being "your turn". It just means you get to act before your opponent in each phase of the the round.


I think it might also be a good idea to include the option for memory lag—a rule that, if players decide to implement it, would make it so that memory would only increase once every X # of rounds.

What do you think?
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sIKE

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Re: Variant where Spellbook fills up during the game
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2013, 01:34:13 PM »
As Imaginator will attest these ideas are not my cup of tea, the game itself is hard enough to learn as it is. I am still getting fine points and details wrong after playing for a year. With that said, here are a couple of points.

You play two cards (sometimes three or four with a Wand + Spellbinding and/or Wizard Tower + Attack Spell). So you could run out of cards very quickly or at least just have total crap remaining in your spellbook. You might start out with a spellbook with 10-15 cards in it and add two per round there after. 

But you then might as well just use apprentice spellbooks then.
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Variant where Spellbook fills up during the game
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2013, 02:04:03 PM »
Hi Diceman, welcome to the forum! It is actually a warm friendly place but unfortunately what you speak of is heresy,

You've bought the game. It's a great fun game. Whatever you and your regular opponents like to play and have fun playing is great.

You have to realise this is the Mage Wars forum, full of diehard purists (you may get a more flexible response on BGG). Mention Variants or House Rules (like IndyPendant's prior thread in this section) and you won't get a positive response. The rulebook (with its holes) is a sacred cow here and even when you list anti-intuitiveness or ambiguity in the rules that you highlight via House Rules (as I did, some are being addressed), this creative service you do for the game goes down like the proverbial lead balloon.

Also realise that Mage Wars is the antithesis of a German Eurogame (you mentioned Spiele). Theme drives it, not mechanics. It's actually deceptively deep. So abstract mechanics like "your Intelligence is represented by hand size" is not what the existing fan base are used to . It's not about abstract ideas but tangible concepts you can easily visualise like a skirmish roleplay game with a battle map, an immersive illusion. And it's very good at satisfying the neglected appetite in the gaming market for this type of game.

As for your idea, it's similar to something I adopted to transition Magic players into the game, also posted in this section.

http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=13054.msg23263#msg23263

Dismissing idea generation leads to stagnation, whether free speech in society or modifying a game to suit. Evolution needs innovation.

If you have fun playing your variant, then good for you, Diceman!

(Btw, as a UK player who likes clever mechanics of Eurogames, Mage Wars is very intuitive to learn with a deceptively high skill quotient.)
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 02:26:07 PM by DeckBuilder »
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diceman

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Re: Variant where Spellbook fills up during the game
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2013, 02:46:52 PM »
Uh no, there's been a misunderstanding here with what I meant with "shuffling". You don't shuffle your deck every turn! What I meant was:
You only shuffle your deck once, before you start the game. After that your spellbook just fills up. You play cards, you draw cards to fill up the spaces in your book - more each round. In the first round you have 5 cards in your spellbook, the second round you start with 6 cards in your book, and so on. So of course, depending on how many cards you've played each round, players may draw a varying amount of cards. Sometimes 2, sometimes 4 or even 5. Cards that you've already drawn but have not been played yet, stay in your book for later use. Haven't had a serious match yet, though, using a customized spellbook, but looking forward to do just that.
Hope I made myself clear.

Peace. ;)

Moonglow

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Re: Variant where Spellbook fills up during the game
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2013, 10:25:29 PM »
Seems a bit harsh deckbuilder - I think there's a modest response to most variant proposals on MW forums.  Its just that most of the variants aren't really addressing a problem.    Most seem more an attempt to make the game more like a different game (usually Magic). 

Even from your evolutionary proposal innovation or variance usually survives when it produces a competitive advantage.  Its less clear with many of the variants proposed for many games (I follow them on BGG too) whether they're actually providing any level of improvement or advantage.

I play a number of house rules (some of which are designer endorsed) for games where they are specifically addressing an issue with the game.  What's an issue? usually one that's emerged consistently over time, rather than one person saying 'hey this game is broken, lets play it like this...'. 

I'd guess this is harder the better the game is, and Mage Wars seems a fairly well refined/honed game.  There is one thread with someones home rules that did seem well received, but it was framed in the context of addressing a list of minor gripes/issues with the game.

I think most of the 'hey lets play Mage Wars like its Magic' proposals get the flack they do because many MW fans like the game for its differences to Magic.  In particular, the spell book selection with all your spells available is a key aspect of the planning and strategic tension in the game.  Proposing to play it like Magic with some variant of draw from a deck of cards (which this basically is) loses much of the heart of the MW design.  Sure its a simple thing, but its fundamental enough that its one of the key points noted in nearly every review of the game.

Anyway, don't mean to be a ranter, just my observations on why variant threads get the reaction they do.  Specially when they start with 'new to game x, but...' statements ;)   



You have to realise this is the Mage Wars forum, full of diehard purists (you may get a more flexible response on BGG). Mention Variants or House Rules (like IndyPendant's prior thread in this section) and you won't get a positive response. The rulebook (with its holes) is a sacred cow here and even when you list anti-intuitiveness or ambiguity in the rules that you highlight via House Rules (as I did, some are being addressed), this creative service you do for the game goes down like the proverbial lead balloon.

Dismissing idea generation leads to stagnation, whether free speech in society or modifying a game to suit. Evolution needs innovation.

Sailor Vulcan

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Variant where Spellbook fills up during the game
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2013, 11:58:42 PM »
I honestly think your idea has potential for easing the transition for many new players. You just need to get rid of the unnecessary mechanics that only work well in other games (especially TCGs), like shuffling and being able to use more cards during "your own turn". I think having only part of your spellbook accessible and increasing the amount of it accessible over the course of the game is a great way to reduce analysis paralysis while still helping to transition them to the full game.

Another idea I thought of is that you could have the out-of-spellbook "deck" be divided into piles based on spell type at the start of the game. Then every X rounds one could "draw" a certain number of cards from each pile equal to their intelligence (although I really think it should be called "memory") plus two from any of their piles. Then for each draw they could decide whether to put it on top or bottom of its pile or into the spellbook. Once the number of cards in the spellbook equals two plus the intelligence times six, a player can begin exchanging cards from their spellbook into the bottom of their respective piles, and then drawing a card off the top of any pile for each one. In this manner they would cycle cards until they're satisfied with the current contents of their spellbook. In this version, intelligence would start at 1 and increase every X rounds.

While the changes probably are mostly cosmetic, psychological tricks like this leave a huge impact on our perceptions. I'm thinking that it actually would feel like a variant format to an extent, and that it really would seem like you have less cards to work with when in reality you can choose any you want by cycling through the piles.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 12:00:40 AM by Imaginator »
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