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Author Topic: Academy thoughts after first play  (Read 3176 times)

iNano78

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Academy thoughts after first play
« on: August 09, 2015, 09:03:19 PM »
Just finished our first play of Academy. Took about 50 min including reading through all the cards, using recommended spell books, ending in the 6th round. The impression was that while the game is simpler and quicker (no planning phase, no conjurations, no opening/closing quick cast sub-phases, fewer cards, less mana, less life), it's no less complex - partly because so many cards have several lines of text or involve tokens.  No reprinting means more complicated versions of the friendly enchantments, and even the creatures feel like more complicated (albeit often weaker/cheaper) versions of their straightforward Arena counterparts. Compare new Steelclaw family to papa Grizzly, or Witchwood Hound to Bitterwood Fox. They aren't particularly hard to understand (I opened with a Lightning Raptor + FD Giant Size, and later was swinging with 6 or 7 dice with a charged up bird with extra Dissipate token vs Shrink'd Hounds and Minor Essence Drain'd Fairy) but we had more counters going than in a typical game of Arena with all the Dissipate markers, Guard markers (arguably more powerful/necessary in Academy than Arena), damage tokens, Stagger tokens, +1 damage (for the Beastmaster's new knife - token not included), Charge markers, etc. Quick overall, but less streamlined or simplified than we were expecting. Also my opponent noted she missed the planning phase (her favourite part and something she thought was unique and crucial to Mage Wars) - and I pointed out that "Academy Advanced" might be playing Academy rules but adding a planning phase where you choose and limit yourself to the 2 spells you can play.

Oh, and we noticed an error - or at least something misleading - with 2 cards that caused my opponent to cheat accidentally. Both Badger Frenzy and Panther Stealth have card art depicting a Warlock Mage enchanted with a ghostly apparition (similar to Bear Strength, etc)... which is odd since neither can legally enchant a Mage! Both can only target Minor living creatures, and since a Mage is level 4 or higher, the image showing it enchanting a Mage is quite misleading.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 10:16:06 PM by iNano78 »
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Laddinfance

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Re: Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2015, 12:02:08 AM »
The creature on Panther Stealth and Badger Frenzy is as yet unreleased. He's not a Warlock. I can however understand the possible confusion.

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Re: Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2015, 12:15:17 AM »
The flavor text on Badger Frenzy references wood elves, so I assume we'll be getting some of those at some point.
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iNano78

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Re: Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2015, 06:20:40 AM »
The creature on Panther Stealth and Badger Frenzy is as yet unreleased. He's not a Warlock. I can however understand the possible confusion.

Not a Warlock, eh? The Priestess is depicted on a few cards, so we assumed the slim,young, goth-like white haired guy dressed in black leathers with metal highlights brandishing a barbed spear with blood smeared all over him found sneaking around on several Enchantment cards must be the Warlock, as opposed to a minor creature.  Is the Academy Warlock shown in any of the cards from the first Academy set? ... Oh, looks like the Warlock might be the guy on Gator Toughness with the demon skull around his neck...

As for the goth guy being a wood elf, the Beastmaster is a wood elf and he's more like a hipster wearing all natural vintage clothes, while the guy on Panther Stealth / Badger Frenzy is anything but. His weapons and armour aren't "natural," he has a black-and-silver theme going on, and he seems to have s bit of a lust for blood - but maybe that's just the badger coming through.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 06:41:59 AM by iNano78 »
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Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2015, 06:38:58 AM »
No planning phase? Somehow I missed that. I suppose this means the players have to think more on their feet, rather than having a special phase for it. At the same time, it means that you can choose your spells exactly when you cast them, rather than planning them first and being locked in. Being able to change your planned spell outside of the planning phase in arena would be a decently powerful effect and would probably cost something like 4 or 5 mana as a free action, and it might need other limits or costs on it. And academy Mages can do it for free! So now I'm wondering what is it about academy that allows it to work without the planning phase when it is so unfeasible for arena?
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iNano78

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Re: Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2015, 06:53:42 AM »
No planning phase? Somehow I missed that. I suppose this means the players have to think more on their feet, rather than having a special phase for it. At the same time, it means that you can choose your spells exactly when you cast them, rather than planning them first and being locked in. Being able to change your planned spell outside of the planning phase in arena would be a decently powerful effect and would probably cost something like 4 or 5 mana as a free action, and it might need other limits or costs on it. And academy Mages can do it for free! So now I'm wondering what is it about academy that allows it to work without the planning phase when it is so unfeasible for arena?

Think of it more like "you can always do what you want in Academy."  Aside from Enchantments, there's no bluffing. One zone means you can't get pushed or teleported out of range of what you had planned, and you can always immediately respond directly to what your opponent did this round - assuming you haven't activated your Mage yet (e.g. opposing Mage puts on a belt with Armor +1 AND Regen 1; you activate your Mage and cast Crumble on the belt). Your spell book can be thought of as a ~30 card hand of cards, rather than a deck. In terms of value, Mordok's Tome would be irrelevant in Academy... but since this is the default for both mages, everyone is on the same playing field, so to speak. You could play Arena the same way and it would change the game but still be "fair" - and likewise we presume you could add a Planning Phase to Academy and it would make the game more strategic (more bluffing/guessing, less easy to respond to your opponent) but wouldn't break anything.
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Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2015, 07:05:48 AM »
I'm planning to buy this at some point after its full release. I'd like to introduce it to my playgroup with the planning phase since it's more strategic and the game they're used to has a planning phase. Plus, this way the rest of the round can proceed smoothly instead of being bogged down by thinking. But if the regular game has no planning phase, then what sort of problems might I expect if I introduce it with the planning phase?
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 07:07:26 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2015, 08:15:31 AM »
At first I was skeptical on no planning phase. It means you can react perfectly every action. When I started playing, we would find ourselves planning anyway. But as I played more games I found it better to not have a planning phase. With lower channeling and much lower spellbook points to create a book, it's hard to counter all of your opponents strategies and do damage to them. Academy does a good job of teaching a new player when to bring out a dispel, or attack. What I like about academy is that it is a nice training tool intense situations in arena.
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Re: Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2015, 08:22:27 AM »
What we overlook at first was that quick cast can be done only before or after friendly creature activation :) That is a nice change too :)
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iNano78

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Re: Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2015, 09:32:35 AM »
What we overlook at first was that quick cast can be done only before or after friendly creature activation :) That is a nice change too :)

My wife found this to be generally more powerful than in Arena rules.  For instance, say we both have the same number of creatures (or I have more).  I end my non-initiative turn with Mage action + Quick Cast, then start my next turn with initiative I use my Quick Cast + Mage action... and my opponent has no chance to respond between all 4 of those spells/actions.  In Arena, my opponent would at least get a Quick Cast option before my first full action.  When I did something like this, she said "Are you sure I don't get a window to respond to any of that? That seems... broken..." 
(But after the match, we discussed some similar situations that can arise in Arena and she said it just took getting used to and probably wasn't that big of a change)

Example:
At the end of round 2, I summoned a creature and put a FD enchantment on it using my Quick Cast.  Reset/Upkeep happened, and to start round 3 I cast and revealed Shrink (with extra Dissipate token) on her Guard creature (making him a Pest, along with the functional equivalent of 2 Weak tokens), revealed my FD enchantment on my fresh active creature (Giant Size = Attack +2 and some extra life... oh, and put an extra Dissipate token on it), and attacked her Mage directly with that creature... and she didn't have a chance to react since before I summoned that creature + cast and revealed 2 enchantments + attacked with it against a target that had been protected by a Guard!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 09:39:20 AM by iNano78 »
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Re: Academy thoughts after first play
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2015, 09:59:51 AM »
Wow, I just re-read the rules and you are correct on the quickcast marker.  I originally thought that the reason for no planning phase was due to the fact that you had to use your quickcast marker as a separate action that couldn't be chained with another action.

That is extremely powerful in a one zone game.  I think it makes much better sense to have either

1) planning phase and chainable quick cast
2) no planning phase and quick cast as a complete separate action.
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