Magic Realm

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Magic Realm

Post  SamVS on Sat 26 Nov 2016, 15:25





Last edited by Sam on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 22:44; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  SamVS on Sat 26 Nov 2016, 15:25

Reasons I want to play Magic Realms:


  • This is a game released in 1979 (before even the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons), yet still has an active fanbase. All the "Last Posts" for topics on the first page of the Magic Realm General forum on Board Game Geek are from this year - pretty good sign, seeing as not even some well known classics like Acquire or El Grande (just the first two I checked) pull that off.

  • When Avalon Hill used a 10-point scale to show the complexity of their games, Magic Realm got a 9. For perspective, Avalon Hill's six hour long civilisation building game, Civilisation, was rated as a 3. I know, just because a game is long doesn't mean it is complex, and they are different sorts of games -- the games we play at the club we value for their elegance rather than raw complexity, and it's not until you start looking at RPGs and Wargames that you get into what Avalon Hill is describing as complex (Advanced Squad Leader and Advanced Third Reich are two of Avalon Hill's 10s), but a) it still sounds mad that everything less complex than Civilization, from Sushi Go to Agricola, maybe base Eclipse, falls into numbers 1 to 3 of the 10 point scale, and b) I still find the idea of this absurdly complex check-the-rulebook-every-turn epic fantasy game kind of intriguing.

  • It's an epic character-building strategy game, if that's the way to describe it (some people would say RPG, though I'm reluctant to use the term when it describes something quite different when you think of Pen and Paper RPGs), with no levelling up, and ways to win that don't involve fighting monsters, both of which I think are really exciting (not even many videogame "RPGs" attempt to pull this off).

  • It sounds hard as nails.


What brought my attention to it was The Tao of Gaming writing about his experiences learning the game (starting here), and what really go me exited was the following post on BGG comparing Magic Realm to Pen and Paper RPGs and CRPGs:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1323202/critical-look-magic-realm-and-roleplaying

There is a way to play this game without buying the box: the RealmSpeak application, which allows to you to play over the internet. I'm going to play around with it and see what it's all about. If anyone else is mad enough to want to give this thing a shot, let me know.

Here's the 3rd Edition of the rulebook (an unofficial, fan-made revision, though recommended by the fanbase because the two official editions were so hard to understand): http://www.thewinternet.com/magicrealm/mr-31-complete.pdf

Yes, 122 pages. Yes.


Last edited by Sam on Sat 26 Nov 2016, 21:53; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Sat 26 Nov 2016, 17:23

Well, that looks extremely crazy. Of course I'm interested.
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Sat 26 Nov 2016, 17:33

Though I am tempted to suggest that we get a cheap copy off eBay for the full experience. Not one of the unpunched $150 ones though!
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  SamVS on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 12:51

Yeah, that would definitely be cool Razz  Let's see if we can get at least one other interested player. Or hopefully two. BGG says best with 3-4... though also that you can play with up to 16.
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  Lizzy on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 13:04

I'd be up for trying this. Sounds like a more complicated Mage Knight

I also vote for playing on a real board though
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 13:47

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Re: Magic Realm

Post  Lizzy on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 15:06

Happy to put some money in for it Paul
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 15:10

I suppose the good thing is that, should we hate it, we should be able to sell it on with little net loss...
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 15:27

Some weirdo called 'paulyg' has put a bid on this :-D
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  SamVS on Wed 30 Nov 2016, 16:06

Awesome Very Happy

Hope you get it. I'd be happy to split costs with you (it was my silly idea to begin with, I'll take responsibility Razz).

13 other players wanted!
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  Kes on Sun 04 Dec 2016, 11:00

In
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 09:10

Won the auction!
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  Lizzy on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 11:27

Whoop! Let me know what I owe you tomorrow. So when we gonna play?
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 11:42

Lizzy wrote:Whoop! Let me know what I owe you tomorrow. So when we gonna play?
Totalled 56GBP including postage, so if the 4 of us are happy to chip in then 14GBP each?

Could try it on the 20th? Or organise a special session some time over xmas / new year?

He's sent it out already so I should be able to bring it for us to have a look at next week.
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  Lizzy on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 12:09

Cool. I can do the 20th, if we can fit a game in an evening?

Not sure when I'm getting back after Christmas, but I'll have some free time around New Year for sure. Somehow I doubt Kes will though.
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 12:12

Lizzy wrote:Cool. I can do the 20th, if we can fit a game in an evening?

Not sure when I'm getting back after Christmas, but I'll have some free time around New Year for sure. Somehow I doubt Kes will though.
Quoted playing time on BGG is 4 hours, so perhaps not. I guess we can take a look when it comes and see how long we think it will take. Not sure if there are options for shorter games or how it varies with player count.
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  Samuel_C on Sun 11 Dec 2016, 19:04

Looks really interesting, I'm definitely interested in giving it a go if you want another player! Happy to chip in to the cost too.
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  SamVS on Sun 11 Dec 2016, 22:14

Great, glad to have another interested player Smile I think we're going to try and arrange something in the new year, though I don't know how many players is sensible for a first game. Why may have to draw straws.

Paul asked about shorter games. I would say we can go a bit free-form, at least for the first few tries. It's more adventuring than strict, balanced strategy. Players should be able to retire from the game any time without spoiling things, for instance. Plus, to begin with I imagine nobody is going to win, characters are probably going to die often, and we'll just be getting our head around the rules, so game length, victory conditions and scoring will be more or less moot. Instead of playing out all 28 rounds we could just do 14, or play for one or two hours, finish that round and see who did best.

As for rules, it's recommend to stick with the basics, and ignore magic and hiring natives in the first game(s) - they alone take up about half the rulebook. I think I could teach the basics in 20 minutes. I would gloss over quite a bit, just give enough info to choose actions and not make any obviously fatal mistakes. Then go into detail on combat and trading and items and whatever else when it comes up. First time set-up, however, might be a good 30 minutes.

If anyone does want to play on the 20th for a couple of hours, I'm up for it.



If anyone wants to learn the rules before we play... it's a fucker. I'm happy to just teach it as best I can, because I think it's big commitment to try and get your head around the rules with no direct guidance and without the game in front of you. I've found a ton of resources, though, so I'll leave them here for reference, and for the masochistic.

The 3rd edition rule-book:

http://www.thewinternet.com/magicrealm/mr-31-complete.pdf

As mentioned before, it's unofficial but nobody plays the game any other way. The intro gives a pretty interesting explanation on why a fan-made 3rd edition rulebook was needed in the first play. Give the intro a read, but before you try and learn the game from this book keep in mind that it is a is war-game style rules reference manual, not really designed for learners.

Magic Realm in Plain English (MRIPE):

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/9357/mripepdf

These are the same 3rd edition rules but written in a format that is easier to read for new players. This is what I would read first. It's still pretty massive, but the basic rules only take up about a third of it. I still had trouble with a couple rules, though, and had to turn to the full rulebook or RealmSpeak to suss out how things were supposed to go.

RealmSpeak:

http://realmspeak.dewkid.com/

This is an amazing learning resource, used correctly. There's no way you can learn the game from it alone -- it might guide you enough for you to make some moves, but you won't have any idea what is going on mechanically as it just assumes you already know. However, it won't make rules mistakes and it's nicely organized, and you'll get some in-game practice, so you will get to grips with the game much quicker if you use it. Plus, if something happens that you didn't expect it's a sign you've missed or misunderstood something, and you can then figure out what it is and easily correct yourself.

A video tutorial:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpFqG90ad74&t=1s⁠⁠⁠⁠

This is pretty much MRIPE read out over a video of the relevant components. I found it helpful to begin with, to identify the pieces, but not so much help figuring out the more complex mechanics, and the series is longer than Avatar.

The Learning Book:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/79698/magic-realm-tutorial-project

I absolutely love this. It is an introductory series of tutorials for the characters to teach you how the game works in practice, and how to not suck. Each chapter is almost a little story based on the games mechanics, and each I've read points out some cool interaction that I didn't know was possible, which really makes me appreciate the scope of the game. I would say get an idea of the basics of the game before you read this, but in some ways it does a better job of explaining than any of the other resources so you might want to try reading this first and just have the 3rd edition rule-book handy for clarifications.



So, anyway, I've played a bunch of this solo on RealmSpeak, and it's addictive. It's a lot like a roguelike. I can see how that could end up being not so great in person. I can see how it might be a very slow game, especially with a lot of combat (which is weird and convoluted). And so much of the game is based on rolls -- it's very easy to have a shit turn failing a bunch of search roles, for example. Not a problem if you're playing on your own with a computer to deal with the calculations, but if you're waiting for three other people to do their turn and a long combat before you can have another shot... I've burned games for less.

On the other hand, the breadth of interactions is really impressive, pretty much every action requires some tactical thought (even just moving from one clearing to another), there are a lot of exciting risk vs reward decisions to make, I think the multiplayer aspects have a lot of potential (to be determined), and when you get into it your games really do feel like little adventures, even if most of those adventures are shit ones when you die to a pack of goblins in the first week.


Last edited by Sam on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 12:30; edited 10 times in total
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  SamVS on Sun 11 Dec 2016, 22:15

In school I submitted history essays shorter than that post.
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  SamVS on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 10:12

Magic Realm Probability for Beginners

http://www.nand.it/mr/mr_prob.pdf

This explains the probabilities of the game's unusual dice rolling rules.

Magic Realm Strategy for Beginners

Goes over which characters are easiest to use and some broad strategies for them. This excludes magic use but does talk about hired natives and which characters play well cooperatively. I haven't read too much of this because I don't want to spoil the game for myself, but a few of the tips for the Amazon made me think about the game in a different way.

Then there is this lovely fan-made redesign of the components:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/257164/redesign-mr-fans-do-i-deserve-it

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Re: Magic Realm

Post  Kes on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 12:27

Sam's getting his money's worth
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 12:33

Kes wrote:Sam's getting his money's worth
I wouldn't be that surprised if he comes to tomorrow evening's session dressed as the wizard guy from the box cover ;-)
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  Kes on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 13:07

A quick repaint and I can come as the dragon
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Re: Magic Realm

Post  paulyg on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 15:36

That re-design looks very lovely. Just followed the link to... a 31 page forum thread! Man, what am I getting myself into here???
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Re: Magic Realm

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