No TV and No Beer make Tao …
It turns out that “something something” is play Mage Knight. While waiting for a replacement part I discovered that my old, regular sized TV from half a lifetime ago is nigh-unwatchable, so I just had Mage Knight set up on the table.
A half-dozen solitaire/co-op games later, and I’ve finally beaten Volkare on the non-basic level (Save the city on lowest difficulty, but medium speed). I still haven’t beaten Volkare before he gets to the portal on medium speed. Anyway, we finally got our TV back last night, so I’m going to put MK away for a few days, until the urge strikes again. But, to exercise that demon, some random thoughts after thirty-five games in under two months.
- As a Mage Knight, have the mentality of a French Army officer pre-WWI — Attaque à outrance. When in doubt, attack if you can beat most of the enemies of that color. Knowing what you can’t beat is important. I really hate Volkare’s paralyzing attack, normally I just plan on taking his wounds, but one time in six I have to deal with him.
- That being said, a turn spent gaining a few crystals or recruiting units or moving to a glade towards your next target is not wasted.
- Synergize — Pay attention to what you can do when you take your new advanced action cards/skills/units. This will be repeated over and over as more specific advice. The first step is getting the mentality right. Raw power will get you far, but only so far. This is what I’m mulling over in my current games.
- Your deck can only do so much each round. Which means if you have to take out multiple big ticket items (a few cities, or Volkare’s army) you need to split them across several rounds. To be sure, artifacts and spells can do massive destruction, but typically you can’t use them twice in a round. I started winning the Solo Conquest when I (among other things) started my first assault earlier, even if it means eating a few more wounds. I’m losing to Volkare (on a faster level) because I haven’t upped my speed even more. Here’s my least favorite loss “Oops, my deck can’t produce the 18 physical attack I need in my remaining cards” on night 3.
- You can thin your deck too much. This mainly happens if you grab decompose as your first advanced action. But be wary training away your attack cards for some cool non-attack advanced action.
- You can have too many spells. The mana becomes problematic. That being said, Goldyx often has the mana (Crystal Joy is a monstrous card), and Athyra’s ability to discard wounds/cards for mana mitigates. I intitially made a point of taking over keeps, which increases hand size (and stacks) but mage towers may be a better investment. After you have your first skill or two, you’ll have a good idea how many spells you want to run (or rather, the spell density you want in your deck).
- You can’t have too many crystals, apart from the three per color limit. A Day 1 deck loaded with crystals can be just as fearsome as a Day 2 deck limited to one die from the pool.
- Concentrate + Swiftness (for a ranged five attack) is the best turn one combo, but a gargoyle or crypt worm don’t care.
- Don’t forget to raid a village. Burning monastaries gets all the press.
- The TaoLing does well by running to a nearby tomb on Day 1 & conquering it. The artifact/spell is nice, but if he draws a battle skill or a battle hand, he just reenters it next turn for the 4-6 fame of pummeling a new monster.
Camping on a maze can also work, particularly if you have a free movement skill. (No can do … against the rules).
- When cooping against Volkare you may sometimes need to have one person attack/defend against everything instead of two people. The non-defender is responsible for ending the round. We narrowly won against him that way (by calling the end of the round and going first, we could ensure one turn of hand tuning before the final attack, not to mention refreshing units).
- Declining combat against Volkare and eating 2-4 wounds is always an option, and usually a good one. In particular, walking next to him (but not in the direction he’s likely to saunter) isn’t nearly as dangerous as I first thought, particularly if a bunch of red cards have already shown. Not a great place to be, but not horrible. In general, a few wounds in a deck are a nuisance, but having a hand of only wounds is disaster. Eating 2-4 wounds may require a standard rest, but that’s acceptable.
- Random Hand boosting (via camping in/near a city/keep, or motivation) is nice. Hand boosting prior to an Assault or Defense is great.
- I agree with the rumblings (supported by David desJardins) that a first turn mulligan or rule to ensure you can move a bit on Day 1 is useful.
Update — Upping the Solo Conquest cities to 8/11 (from 5/8) is also a nice challenge. Won that the first time on the final turn when I had exactly enough attack (no left over cards) for the final unit.