This originally appeared on Josh’s Blog on December 18th, 2014
For years table top games have been a guilty pleasure of mine. The artistry that goes into the pieces. The ability to play anywhere you have a flat surface… or not if you enjoy using books and items as cliffs. Table top games are in my opinion board games on crack. A chance to leave the confines of a structured play through and explore strategy at it’s core. A game of chess that is more true to combat strategy than the game with limited pieces.
When I say table top games, 2-3 games should stereotypically pop into everyone’s minds. Starting with the most predominant, WarHammer. This table top game has been in existence since around 1983. A true testament to the genre itself. This game allows players to assume the role of different factions of space marines and battle it out with friends in campaigns that can last days if not weeks. More to the creative side of this game, players have the ability to paint/customize their soldiers when they buy them. This allows players to immerse themselves in their army as they invest real time bringing the figurines to life. The only downside of the game (which really isn’t a downside at all) is the cards that record stats. There is a lot of information to remember. Enter a game that takes the stat cards away and provides something a little more friendly to non die hard fans, Mage Knight.
Mage Knight takes the table top adventure to a new level. Players can go out and purchase packs of figurines, some random booster packs of three, single serving random figurines, or even pre built 9 man armies. Each has it’s own stat dial on the bottom of the figurine. This allows players to play a table top game a little faster than what they would have normally, but also allows for ease of health and power tracking. With each hit, the figurines stats change giving a semi realistic combat advantage of attacking first. The other subtle part that Mage Knight added to the genre, was the random figurine factor. Whether you play the game or not, some people out there will just want to collect the figurines by themselves. Making them random adds a sense of gambling adventure into the equation. This is a perfect combination for making sales on a product. A gamer will never know what piece they are getting in a random pack. They could buy five of them and end up with one rare (if they’re really lucky) or just five duds and still want to come back for more. Hard to argue this sales gimmick. Even for the people who just like the figurines, there are plenty of options to buy them separately, especially the tanks! The tanks are just giant sized figurines that have multiple dials and have a large amount of life. Although they are more expensive, with the artistic paintwork done and the huge stat increase, you really get what you pay for.
I myself am guilty of purchasing large amounts of Mage Knight figurines just trying to get the rare ones ( I was lucky enough on my first booster pack to get one). After that I was hooked. The game itself is a blast to play. You can turn an ordinary dinner table into a heat of the moment battlefield in no time. Using napkin holders for a height advantage, or even the salt shaker as cover, Table Top games have a true place among the great genres of games.
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