Best Learning Parties

Best Learning Parties

These have been culled from discussions on the Magic Realm List. Please feel free to add more...

Steve McKnight:

I have had excellent Magic Realm games with three people. The advantage of a small number of character is that there are lots of treasure sites to go around. Players tend to develop a sense of ownership over treasure sites that they have laboriously searched for and located. In games with more than four characters there is a tendency for characters to show up uninvited at newly-discovered sites and, as some sort of corollary to Murphy's Law, the newcomers always seem to get the lion's share of the treasures. This leads to hard feelings and sometimes to open warfare.

In three-character games there is a whole board to explore, and players can pursue their own strategies relatively unimpeded. Characters may well team up for particular tasks - eliminating the Rogues or ridding a tile of Goblins are two examples - but the draw of all that open space tends to mitigate against bonded two-somes. Groups larger than two or three are usually inefficient even in games with more characters - the trade-off between safety and enough Victory Points to go around seems to peak at two characters.

If you are playing with hired natives, the warrior character are, in principle, strong enough to go it alone or with hirelings, but the big bashers - particularly the White Knight - will find their quality of life (and often their quantity of life) greatly improved by having a nimble sidekick like the Pilgrim or Woods Girl. The medium warriors - Amazon, Captain, Black Knight - while theoretically capable of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps to get the weapons and hirelings they need, are easier to play if they have help - pick up a friendly Dwarf throw him in the rucksack! The Elf, Swordsman, and the Sorceror with Melt into Mist are quite capable of operating alone, and the Druid with Peace with Nature, of course, is actually impeded by companions. The characters that desperately need allies are the Pilgrim and the Wizard. Unarmored and slow-footed, their survival chances in the realm by themselves are not encouraging. Beginners should avoid playing the Witch, Witch King, or Magician.

A lot depends on what kind of board you build yourselves. If the board is relatively easy - valleys with the dwellings in the center and the caves and mountains on the outer edge - it's safer to explore alone. On the other hand, it's perfectly possible to build yourself a Realm that you have to cross over High Pass and discover the secret passage in Caverns to get away from the Inn. On these boards the Lost City with five red chits seems magnetically drawn to Caverns and even expert players won't survive without teaming up.

So many choices! So many ways to play! It's a great Realm out there. Explore your own strategies and have fun.

Andrew Gould:

Try the White Knight and the Pilgrim, although this combo works a lot better when you can Hire. Start both characters at the Chapel and Hire a knight of the Order each. Even better if you can buy the Morning Star for the White Knight. That's a combination that rocks. If you can afford to spend a week on Trade and Hire phases, the White Knight can get the Morning Star *and* a Knight hireling on a Boon. The Pilgrim takes the Exorcise spell to deal with the few monsters that the White Knight can't. Beware of the Bats. This combo will minimise the magic that you have to use - if you find the Altar, Shrine or Statue, Alert the Pilgrim's magic chit so that you cast your Exorcise spell before the demon's Power of the Pit attack.

Alternatively, the Berserker and the Sorceror seem to work pretty well together. The Sorceror should take Fiery Blast and Lightning Bolt and have plenty of chits enchanted at the beginning of the game. Anything that the spell fails to take out can be killed by the Berserker.

A third choice - the Wizard and the Dwarf. Dwarf follows Wizard for mobility, and takes out the monsters. Wizard casts Fiery Blast and See Hidden Signs, Dwarf Ducks and smashes things with his axe.

Your "loner" should probably take the Elf or the Swordsman - possibly the Druid, although I'm a little skeptical about the common wisdom that the Druid should wander off on his own.

The choice to stick together or go it alone is one that only the player can make at the time. Most games I've played we have if not worked together, at least not worked against each other. Some characters such as the Wizard are much weaker when alone and should always be taken as part of a team. Other characters such as the Elf are specifically designed to be anti-party. It's your choice. My experience is that it is much easier to survive the Realm if you have friends. :)

Richard Hamblen Excerpt from the article "THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR":

A player's second consideration [after reflecting on their character's basic strategy] should be for the cooperation, antagonism or indifference of the other players in the game. Characters who travel together and cooperate in combat and other activities greatly increase their ability to survive, search, trade and hire successfully. A whole group can profit from a leader's abilities and discoveries if they all FOLLOW him (so they move faster when following the Amazon. use paths and passages when following the Wizard and hide better when following the Druid or Elf), although the group should search as individuals. Unfortunately, greed and fear are powerful motives for one character to attack another so characters must be careful of the company they keep. This is a consideration that leads many characters to operate on their own. In particular, characters who are weak in combat (the Witch, Druid or Dwarf) have reason to fear a strong character (the Elf, Black Knight or Witch King). The stronger character, in turn, has reason to fear that weaker characters will combine against him. A balance of power within the group helps, but this balance can fluctuate wildly or vanish as the characters are weakened or strengthened during play. In addition, certain characters' powers are most effective when alone (the Druid's PEACE WITH NATURE) or at a particular location where others may not care to go (the Dwarf in the CAVES, the Woods Girl in the DEEP WOODS), which encourages these characters to go off alone. The net result is that the Druid, Dwarf, Elf, Witch, Woods Girl and Witch King often find themselves operating alone for one reason or another.

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