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Messages - Adam Wells

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League / Tournament Play / Re: Mage Wars in Saint Louis, MO
« on: April 26, 2013, 11:15:17 PM »
Game Nite is starting Organized Play TOMORROW (7/27/2013) at 1PM!

8330 Watson Road

Strategy and Tactics / Re: Aggro, Combo, Control & Hybrid Archtypes
« on: February 27, 2013, 04:13:55 PM »
I'm actually a fan of the idea of moving away from TCG-Style classifications.  I think they're limiting, and don't get close to describing what's going on with a spellbook.  Honestly? I'd lump the entire game into the 'toolbox' style of decks and call it a day.

One of the big things i've noticed in Mage Wars is that you have to consider a lot of what-ifs when building a spellbook.  We've pointed out a bunch of them already in this thread: What if my swarm of puppies gets hit by an AOE? What if my one big creature gets hit with a Purge Magic? What if X happens to my Y?

So, i think considering the entire spellbook is a bad idea.  There's going to be a lot of points (My number is usually 25-35) dedicated to toolbox situations - countering specific strategies that you see often.

To that end, I think if we must have classification, we need to start with the Mages, then split them into their various strategies.  I actually want to call them 'Specializations' since that seems to be a very accurate representation of what's going on; you have one big focus for your mage, and then the tools to protect them.

So, the 'basic' Beast Master strategies to me are Pack Lord, Master Tamer, and Shape Shifter.  I consider the basic spell book a mix between Pack Lord and Master Tamer.

Pack Lord builds focus on many small creatures to make multiple attacks in a round via Lair and the Beast Master’s quick summon ability.  He uses more creatures than enchantments, and likes using arena-wide benefitting conjurations.
Master Tamer builds focus on making one to two legendary creatures absolutely devastating to your opponent, then running up and smashing them. He stays away from spawnpoints since he only needs one or two creatures to make his plan work, and has a massive number of enchantments.

Shape Shifter builds focus on the Beast Master himself, using incantations, ferrets, and enchantments to turn himself into an avatar of nature’s wrath.  While it does require your mage to go onto the front lines, he can deal some serious damage while doing so, and take some hits if he’s set up right.
This can be repeated for each of the other mages, but I slipped and busted up my arm, so this is just an example of the beastmaster, and a kind of thematic way to talk about the different strategies.

General Discussion / Re: Who has received their expansion? Thoughts?
« on: February 25, 2013, 04:55:01 PM »
I think the exact words used by the FLGS owner when he recieved the box was 'could kill a small child'.

Anyway, the set is astoundingly good, well worth the price tag!  We get a very cool creature-heavy caster that's a great alternative to the beastmaster, and a hilarious to use and play forcemage that keeps your opponent guessing!

Also, WTF Catapults and Outposts!? AWESOME! :D  that was probably the best and biggest surprise of this box, so i can't wait to see what other crazy tricks Arcane Wonders has up their sleeves.

One thing i have to note: Don't be a Warlord against a Warlock.  Everything you have is flammable.

Alternative Play / Re: Any official variants to speed up a game?
« on: February 25, 2013, 04:42:48 PM »
Okay, so that last post came off as REALLY abrasive, and kind of killed what was turning out to be a really productive thread.  Sorry about that!

Anyway, let me give an improved version of the above post.

What I think slows down this game is concern about creatures.  After trying a few different options to investigate the problem - including a Creature-only beastmaster book and a no-creature Wizard book, both actually Silly fun! - i've come to the conclusion that creatures are serious tar pits in this game, as are walls.  Both require the mage to dedicate serious resources to remove in terms of turns, spells, and mana.  So how do we get around that?

Sorta-quoth the rulebook: "The game ends when one mage's damage exceeds their maximum life."

Sorta quoth the rulebook again "One mage's damage exceeds their maximum life."

So, how do we speed up Mage Wars as a whole based on that quote?  Easy.

First, we have to recognize that most non-legendary creatures aren't serious threats.  A mage can take several hits from a small unnamed creature and laugh it off. This is based on the fact that only 1/3 of the dice faces guarantee damage, and even then only 1-2 points at a time.  I don't have the math handy, but it takes 5-6 dice to guarantee any damage to stick before we include armor.  Once armor gets involved, it starts getting to unattainable numbers for unnamed creatures, and even some named or legendary creatures!

So, that means all this time spent trashing firebrand imps and the like is basically a waste; let them run at you, slap on some leather gloves and head on your way.  It also means that you can be considerably more aggressive on mage movement, and assign small creatures in your spellbook to tarpit duty, considering there aren't elusive critters on the other side that ignore hinder.

My advice is to play mean once you have the creatures all tied up.  Take the mage around the edge of the arena, pull out some 0-2 ranged spells and hammer your opponent into dust with a wand or something.  My previous post about the flying dual-wand nightmare of a mage is still totally valid, though.

My Thoughts on Tournaments

Having participated in the gen con apprentice tournaments, i can say that the 50-minute time limit is perfect for that mode.  However, I think its not that great for actual, 120 point book play.

I'm stealing some ideas from other game systems for this, but I think the variable clock idea from Hordes/Warmachine may be an option to persue.  Matches there last X + Y amount of time.  X is a set number based on the tournament size, while Y is a roll of 2d6 additional minutes.  The clock is kept secret, known only to the TO, so players can't bank on having a set amount of time and must work quickly to ensure they're able to complete the game in time.  Books down (no more actions) when time runs out, even if you are mid-action.

The other option is chess clocks (i prefer Death Clock).  In-game, it would be represented by an enchantment cast on the mage that kills them after X amount of time.  For us in the real world, each player has 1 hour on a chess clock for the game.  When your time runs out, your mage instantly dies.  Phases alternate, so the initiative player would complete channeling, hit the clock, then his opponent, and back and forth through the phases and actions and make decisions. This means each player has the option to use their time as they see fit.  Stalling and slow play are not acceptable here, as they literally kill you.  I like this option the most of the two, but it would require some work from Arcane Wonders on how exactly the details work.  IE quick cast phases and mandatory enchantments.

Alternative Play / Re: Any official variants to speed up a game?
« on: February 22, 2013, 01:22:35 PM »
Hi! This post was jerky!  See the next post for my actual, valid response!

[strike]I have an official variant that may help!

Play more aggressive books!  I don't know why everyone wants to be so defensive in this game or spend so much time defending their creatures. it kind of confuses me.  I mean, there's a lot of strategies that make me -want- to go 'LOL SMASH UR FACE BRAH!'

Slap 2x Elemental Wand (Fireball), Hawk wings and Cheetah speed on a wizard, and go nuts.[/strike]

Alternative Play / Re: Alternative board shapes and sizes.
« on: February 22, 2013, 01:18:59 PM »
I just can't get behind the two boards or 5x4 thing...  They just make me want to go play Arkham Horror from a time perspective.

Granted, i love the fact that if you put four mages on one board, everything goes nuts from turn 1.

Alternative Play / Re: Alternative board shapes and sizes.
« on: February 21, 2013, 12:01:44 AM »
I'm a bit of a map nut, and have already experimented with this.  Truth be told, the current layout (4x3) fits comfortably on a standard folding table, with just enough room for all the on-board craziness that occurs.

While I like where you're going with this, i have a few observations.

The 4x4 grid may seem like a great option for multiplayer as it adds a little more breather room, but it goes against the whole reason the game is demonstrated on 3x2 and played on a 4x3 board: There's no running away in mage wars! Ranges cap out at 2 in most cases, meaning that a 4x4 board would only encourage turtle strategies.  While those can be interesting (The Warlord jumps immediately to mind!) the whole point of the small arena size is to force player interaction early and often.

Hexes + Mage Wars = Disaster! I've personally experimented with a 4x3 hex layout, and it doesn't seem the rules tolerate that much.  One of the big concepts of the game is quadratic (4-direction) movement and adjacancy, so adding more just makes some spells insane, like Fireball, and some abilities almost useless like Outposts.

What i'd like to suggest is changing the arena by adding forced walls.  Toss in a few static Stone Walls at the start of the game at random, and see what happens.

Alternative Play / Warlord vs Forcemage Apprentice Books
« on: February 20, 2013, 11:53:36 PM »
I know it just came out today, but i was hoping to get some help developing some Apprentice Level spellbooks for Warlord vs Forcemage.  Just in the FLGS today, the new expansion generated a bunch of interest in the two new mages, and I was hoping to have a way to make lists so i can demo with them in the near (Saturday!) future.

Any suggestions? I've noticed the following rules apply to the apprentice books as vast generalities.

You want to avoid ability-specific equipment for example, the Curse of Fear.
Avoid Spellbind effects and Familiars.
Avoid Non-attaching Conjurations (IE Tanglevine is okay, Wall of Pikes isn't.)
Avoid Legendary and Epic spells and Creatures.
Tend towards Enchantments with simple, concise effects (Block, Bear's Strength, Force Hold).
Keep all spells Thematic (No healing for Warlocks!)

With those (general) guidelines in mind, can we pare down the sample books for Forcemaster and Warlord to their apprentice versions?  Devs, any input? I feel like this was a massive oversight, and my only complaint about the new expansion.

League / Tournament Play / Mage Wars in Saint Louis, MO
« on: February 11, 2013, 04:35:10 PM »
UPDATE: Our benevolent masters at Game Nite in South County and Manticore Games in O'Fallon, MO both have Organized Play kits!  Please contact those stores to get involved!  Game Nite is planning on Thursday Nights alongside board game meetup!

I'm looking for someone to play Mage Wars with in the Saint Louis area, usually on Thursday nights at Game Nite.

Also, if you're in St. Louis, you should probably be part of : since its relatively important.  Sorry if that's not allowed, thought I'd mention it here.

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