Mage Knight Board Game Review
In this review we will be looking at Mage Knight. It was released in 2011 byt WizKids and designed by Vlaada Chvátil. The game is for 1-4 players and lasts between 1-4 hours depending on the scenario.
You are a Mage Knight who has sworn your allegiance to the mysterious Council of Void. They have dispatched you to the land of Atlantean to conquer. As you roam through the land you will come across towns, monasteries and dungeons to explore.
Each decision you make will affect your reputation. Will your reputation be good or bad? The choice is yours but not always as easy a choice as it seems.
Let’s first take a look at what Mage Knight is about.
Table of Contents
- What is Mage Knight About?
- How Well is Mage Knight Made?
- Is Mage Knight a Good Game?
- Is Mage Knight Ultimate Edition Worth It?
- Is Mage Knight Hard?
- Can Mage Knight Be Played Solo?
- Is Mage Knight a Campaign?
- Is Mage Knight a Legacy Game?
- Does Mage Knight Use Dice?
What is Mage Knight About?
Mage Knight is the classic dungeon crawler board game. There are many aspects to this game that make it awesome. As an example there is a deck building element. As the game progresses it will enable your Mage Knight character to become stronger and more powerful.
32 years ago there was a catastrophe that wrecked the land and . Now in disarray with many Orcs and other adversaries roaming the land.
As Mage Knights you are sent to invade Atlantean by the ominous Council of the Void. You are totally loyal to them and so set off to do their bidding. Able to fight and cast spells the Mage Knight is feared. You rove across the land fighting, exploring and pillaging. Any treasure you find is yours. Your actions determine if that reputation will be positive or negative. Make sure you choose your path wisely.
At the beginning of each game you always start in the same position on the same tile. As you move out into the land of Atlantean you draw tiles and place them to expand your view. So that slowly the landscape opens up in front of you.
As you progress you will also level up and strengthen your player with new strength, powers and spells.
You are free to roam around the land and explore as you wish. As you do you will come across many different locations. Places such as Towns, Mage Towers, and Monasteries. You can interact with locals and recruit Units to help you on your quest.
There are also roaming enemies that you will come across. Sometimes you will not see what they are until you are in battle so be prepared.
You can select from Scenarios when setting up the game and each scenario will provide a level of difficulty. It also defines the end game and will clearly state that. An example is the First Reconnaissance scenario only needs a player to discover a city. Once that happens the end of the game is triggered. Each player will then take one more turn.
Mage Knight can be cooperative or competitive and you can decide which kind of game by choosing the right Scenario. There are also Scenarios specially for solo play.
How Well is Mage Knight Made?
Mage Knight’s build quality is OK. Even in the Ultimate Edition the quality was not particularly improved. There was an artwork refresh in the Ultimate Edition which is an improvement.
The card used for the tiles and various tokens is not the thickest but it is adequate.
I would definitely consider using sleeving for the cards to protect them and provide longevity.
The game comes with miniature characters which are again adequate. They are painted nicely and are pretty cool looking.
So, overall the build quality is adequate and looks OK. However, I wouldn’t let that put you off this game. It more than makes up for it in the gameplay.
Here is the contents of Mage Knight:
- 240 Cards
- 8 Intricately Painted Miniatures
- 196 Tokens
- 20 Map Tiles
- 54 Mana Crystals
- 7 Mana Dice
- 2 Game Mats
- 2 Rulebooks
Is Mage Knight a Good Game?
Mage Knight is a fantastic game of epic proportions. There is so much choice in it and so many different things that can happen. There is a lot of variety in this game.
The mechanics are top notch and you will love exploring through the land of Atlantean with each outing being different from the last.
This is not a game for the casual player as it is complex to learn and there is a steep learning curve. However, stick with it and you will love this game.
The game is also one of the best solo games out there. So if you often find yourself itching for a fight and can’t find anyone to join you then this game is for you.
Is Mage Knight Ultimate Edition Worth It?
This all depends on you and what you are looking for in the game. If you have not played the game before and are not sure if you will buy any expansions then perhaps forking out over $100 dollars is not a good idea.
It would be best to check the game out first. Perhaps drop in at your local game cafe and see if they have a copy you can and your friends can play first.
There are a couple of really good reasons why the Mage Knight Ultimate Edition is a good idea.
If You’re Buying This to Play Solo
If you want to play this game solo. The Lost Legions has a fantastic automated enemy that you will need to fight against.
It makes the already great solo Mage Knight into a really great game to play. As this expansion is retailing for around $46 and the base game is around $80. For roughly the same price you can buy the Ultimate Addition and get the other expansions too. It’s a bit of a no-brainer.
If You Already Know You’ll Want the Expansions
If you have played Mage Knight with friends and love it then it is likely you will be buying the expansions. Buying the Mage Knight Ultimate Edition gives you everything for a really good price. For almost the same amount as the base game plus The Lost Legions you will get all the expansions.
It Reduces Duplicate Components
If you buy each of the expansions then some of the components are duplicated and you don’t need them. This is a bit of a waste and buying the Mage Knight Ultimate Edition means you only have what you need.
The Mage Knight Ultimate Edition is a great option if you know you will play this game a lot. Especially for the solitaire player. I would recommend getting this edition as it will save you money in the long term.
Is Mage Knight Hard?
Yes, Mage Knight is hard to learn. The game has many parts to it that makes it complex. Board Game Geek rates the complexity at 4.33 out of 5 which is even higher than Gloomhaven.
Whilst it is complex there is a 20 page rule book that goes into all the different rules, mechanics and concepts in detail.
There is also an additional Walkthrough book that takes you through the initial scenario. This is the very best place to start and as you play through this things will become much clearer.
It leads you nicely through each of the different aspects of the game. Introducing things in stages that help you build up your knowledge quickly.
The reason Mage Knight is so good is that there are so many different aspects of the game to engage you. You will need to think about many different things in order to complete the scenario.
There are loads of video playthroughs and how to play videos on YouTube that will also help in learning this amazing game. Don’t let the complexity put you off as perseverance will bring you hours of great gameplay.
Can Mage Knight Be Played Solo?
Yes, Mage Knight is a fantastic game to play solo. In fact it is in my 20 best solo board games.
Mage Knight has scenarios that can be played solitaire in the base game. However, there are many fan-made scenarios that you can find and play too. Board Game Geek has a lot of these which can be downloaded from the Solo Scenario Book.
If you are going to play solo a lot then I would recommend getting Mage Knight Ultimate Edition as this comes with the Lost Legions expansion. This expansion has a great automated enemy to fight.
You will find this a great addition to the game. However, you can always buy Mage Knight and the Lost Legions expansion separately if you would prefer.
For those who are unaware that you can play games by yourself and have lots of fun. Read my article Can You Play Board Games By Yourself? which will fill you in on all you need to know.
Is Mage Knight a Campaign?
No, you don’t play a complete campaign like Gloomhaven. Instead you play individual games in the form of scenarios.
Each of these scenarios will be different and enable you to play solo or multiplayer. In multiplayer you can also select scenarios that are cooperative or competitive.
Each scenario can be different lengths, have different setup instructions and will have different end game objectives too.
This really adds to the variety and replayability of the game.
Is Mage Knight a Legacy Game?
No, Mage Knight is not a legacy game. You can play this game and repeat scenarios as much as you like.
Legacy games will add rules, ask you to place stickers or mark cards and pieces. They may even ask you to destroy certain components. This does not happen in Mage Knight.
Does Mage Knight Use Dice?
Mage Knight does use dice as a resource rather than an indication to move or take actions. It is not core to the game but part of the mechanics.
In Mage Knight there is a resource called mana that you can gather and use to strengthen your actions.
The dice have symbols on them to represent night, day and different colored mana. Varying on how many people are playing you will roll a number of dice that are placed in a pool.
A player can then pick one dice per turn to use if they wish.
The game has a night and day element. When the mana dice are rolled then if they turn up a day or night then it must match the daytime. If it does not then it is put aside and not used for that round. If it does match i.e. dice turns up day during the daytime round, then it can be used as a wildcard when picked.
I hope you have enjoyed my Mage Knight board game review and it has answered many of your questions. Mage Knight is a challenging game to learn. Master that and you will be in for hours of fun and exploration. Learning how to use your new powers to defeat whatever is in front of you.
Will you have a good reputation or bad? Will you gain enough treasure to make the risk worth the reward?
If you enjoy dungeon crawlers then this game is definitely worth adding to your collection.