In another of our board game spotlights, Zatu Games turns its substantial highbeams onto Mage Knight, the 2011 game from designer Vlaada Chvátil and publisher Wizkids.
The core tenet of all creativity is this: combining two pre-existing nouns will always result in something infinitely better than either. A ‘bat-man’ is better than a bat or a man; a ‘cat-woman’ undeniably improves upon both cats and women; a ‘cod-piece’ provides better genital coverage than either ‘a tasty fish’ or ‘a portion of a non-descript object’; and, in this case, a ‘mage-knight’ has sweeter threads than a knight and better thighs than a mage.
Based on the miniatures wargame of the same name, Mage Knight is a fantasy adventure for one to four players. Each player takes on the role of one of four characters: Arythea, which sounds like congenital heart disease; Goldyx, presumably like the Oscars but for male porn stars; Norowas, the sign you put up to stop people boating on your lake; and Tavok, which is undoubtedly a series of letters.
Gameplay itself gives players a lot of freedom. Their ultimate goal is to conquer large cities on the map, a section of the Mage Knight universe ruled over by the Atlantean Empire, but in their quest to do so they may explore, deck build, recruit followers, battle creatures, forge alliances and even take each other down.
Each character has their own starting deck, granting them distinct abilities and making each excel at certain aspects of the game. Norowas, for example, is better at recruiting followers to aid him in battle, while Goldyx has the most versatility in terms of magic use.
The game can be played in a number of ways, too. A single player can dive in for their own adventure RPG experience; a team can work together in a co-op game to achieve their goals; or players can pit themselves against one another, forging alliances or battling as they see fit.
To give a more detailed outline of the rules here would be like trying to fit the Holy Book onto a cocktail napkin: time consuming and a distraction from drinking. Suffice to say, Mage Knight is a big, immersive game with a long play time.
Wizkids was founded in the year 2000 and is most known for its collectable miniatures and for pioneering the Combat Dial System now used by many fantasy RPGs. They often turn existing IPs into top quality board games, and the Mage Knight board game is no exception.
Vlaada Chvátil is a board game and video game designer from the Czech Republic. He has been designing board games since 1997, and is well known for his unique style of rulebook, one that divides the game mechanics into ‘learning scenarios’ leading up to the full game.
We reviewed his most recent release, Codenames Pictures, earlier this month.
Like the sound of Mage Knight? Order it from Zatu Games!