Monday, June 30, 2014

Mage Wars, Mastering the Mana!

Mage Wars, Mastering the Mana! 
2 Players, 45 to 90 minutes, Deep Gameplay
By Ray Snyder

Mage Wars is a game of Battling Wizards that is an evolution in gaming, combining the styles of a collectable card game and a tabletop battle games to create something new and wonderful. The short version is that it’s like a card game that plays on a map and you get to pick the cards you want to play each round. You can play Creatures, attack spells, Equipment or even Conjure buildings, walls, and war machines. Your mage and creatures move around the map attacking and being attacked, as you try to defeat the opposing Mage.

You build a spell book of cards, based on the Mage you’re playing and your strategies of choice. The game supplies the spell books, card binders that hold 4 cards to a page in clear plastic sleeves and you have a budget of spell points to spend to buy cards. Each card has a price based on it’s level and the school of magic if belongs too. There are currently 12 different mages that all operate differently but all have access to most of  the spells in the game, but the spells from their school of magic are the cheapest.

The only luck of the game is in the Dice rolls and you can build strategies that rely heavily or lightly on dice. Quick aggressive game play often tries to throw lots of dice, while a slower less luck-oriented strategy will see the opponent enchanted with curses and poisons that slowly but surely pave the road to victory.

Mage Wars is a deep game that can take some time to learn all the nuances off, but the core game play is simple and straightforward, It has incredible replayability, even using the same two spell books over and over, because the players can and will learn from the previous games and try different tactics or try to predict your opponent’s plays and play the perfect response. When you know the opposing mage is going to do something, and can pick the counter from your spell book, it’s great, but it can also be a wasted turn or worse if he picked something you didn’t expect. It’s very compelling and when your start learning all the tricks your mage can do and how cards work together. It’s one of the best two player games out there.

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