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By Carlos Barron
Five Reasons To Enter The Arena
I like to think of myself as an honest and straightforward kind of guy. To that end, I don’t like suggesting things without giving the whole picture. So, I’ll be straight with you, Mage Wars is not a perfect game, but it is pretty damn close. In an industry that is rife with games about dueling mages, Mage Wars stands out because it does the best job of capturing the feel of playing different philosophies while maintaining a good amount of balance. I typically describe the game as the love child between Magic:The Gathering and D&D 4e. By which I mean it inherited the best parts of both of those games. So you should play it. Right now. But if that’s not enough to convince you, here are five reasons to pick up a copy or to give our store copy a go.
Reason the First: The Flavor!
As I’ve already mentioned, this game does a great job of making you feel like the mage you are playing. The core set comes with four mages, each with a very distinct theme and play style. The game shines in this department, partially by making some spells and abilities exclusive to specific mages and partially by including such a massive selection of cards. Combine all this with some well named cards, and mechanics that lend themselves to a narrative and in no time flat you’ll find yourself engrossed in the outcome of each match.
Reason the Second: Intuitive Mechanics
If you’ve been around the boardgame or card game scene, then you’ll get a good grasp on the rules of the game within the first few minutes of playing. Granted, some rules or key phrases lend themselves to being misunderstood, but the rules codex makes everything clear enough that confusion and grey area calls rarely come up. The cards are clear, and the rules are easy to understand, which means you spend more time actually playing the game then trying to understand it.
Reason the Third: Customizable NOT Collectible
For those who have been caught up in the money sink known as collectible card games, this is a big plus. You can tweak your spellbooks in a huge number of ways just with the core game. If you want more copies of these cards, you can pick up the extra tomes and get just that. If you’re looking for a different mage, pick up any of the five mage expansions which will also give you new cards to choose from. It’s your choice. You can win just as easily using only core game cards as any of the expansion cards or additional mages. In other words, your investment is no where near as large as other games which require you to constantly buy more cards to stay competitive.
Reason the Fourth: Production Value
I won’t lie and say that all of the art and flavor text is perfect. Some of the cards look like they used vague concept art, and some of the flavor text is cringe worthy. But the vast majority of the cards look great, and you get a lot of them in the core game and with each of the expansions. Every box also has a sheet of spiffy looking tokens, and two spellbook binders which are incredibly eye catching. You really get what you pay for.
Reason the Fifth: FGVHDVVVVVVV!
Okay, I just really love this game and I’m going to gush about it for a bit here, forgive me. It’s awesome! I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent playing, and planning for my matches, and how many awesome or hilarious sequences have come about during play. One game I played the Forcemaster and was surrounded by no less than six creatures, half of which were legendary summons, and BOOM! I not only took a bunch of them out with my Galvatar I also ended up winning that game. Then there was the time my buddy bypassed my walls with a flying Steel-Claw Grizzly only to have it land in a teleport trap so it couldn’t actually reach me and HA! Take that Chris! Your little teddy bear can’t touch me. OH! And then there was the time when I one man armied my Warlock, and equipped him with two Bear’s Strength enchantments which means I literally had the strength of a bear that had the strength of two bears! OH! OH! And then there’s all the times I equip my Wizard with duel wands and just teleport all over the field and spam Thunderbolt while my Gorgon Archer picks off the enemy creatures or gives the enemy mage stacks and stacks of the Weak condition. Oh, and just- wow, just get this game already. Or swing by on Monday nights and give it a test run, I’d be more than happy to demo it for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Paladin to go build.