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Mage Knight - Manufacturers: WizKids - Year: 2000
Review by: Nathaniel Dragon - My Photos

Mage KnightI first became interested in this game when I found out that WizKids had taken over the rights for BattleTech after FASA went under. I had heard of this game before and seen a little about it but I didn't have a draw to it. Then WizKids announcement came - BattleTech would become a "Click-Base Collectable Miniatures Game" similar to Mage Knight. That set me on a quest to find out how this game worked - I can't say I'm looking forward to the New Era of BattleTech compared to the classic, but this Mage Knight is fun in its own right.

The basis of this game is that the rules are simple, the figures are collectable, and there isn't any paperwork to play. Practically everything is printed underneath each figure. With the aid of one small booklet of instructions and a two sided card listing special powers, there isn't any other paper to deal with. Another thing about this game is that you don't need a special board to play on - a clear coffee table will due, or add some books or paper as terrain peices. Of course you can get more dramatic and detailed and build yourself a grand battlefield, but that's not necessary to play. Your warrior's movement distance is listed on the base, along with its range of attack, strength, defense, and the amount of damage that it can cause on a successfull attack. When your warrior does take a hit, just rotate the base to display a new set of numbers, or a set of skulls when it is dead.

I've played this game just a few times now and I can definitely see what the advantage to this game is. SIMPLICITY. The rules are easy to understand, even though you might have to refresh yourself a few times in the beginning. The games are short, so if you know someone that would be interested in a battle but doesn't have the time for a long drawn out game - this one only lasts an hour or so. The figures are already painted, and although many of them could use some touch-ups, they are ready for play and at least you don't have to glue the pieces together.

I've always liked fantasy themes, which is what got me interested in D&D, but my main interest was the battles and dungeon crawls over the role-playing - with Mage Knight it's always a battle. Very soon WizKids will introduce Mage Knight Dungeons! It seems to be a great way to have simple battles that can finish within a couple hours, but at the same time the same things that make this game appealing are also the things that limit the game.

Magic: The Gathering - Manufacturer: Wizards of the Coast - Designer: Richard Garfield - Year: 1999 (Starter Game)
Review by: Nathaniel Dragon

Magic: The GatheringThis review is mainly for the Starter Game that was produced in 1999 to introduce new players to Magic: The Gathering. The game box includes two decks of cards (40 cards in each deck), enough for two players to start right away. Also included in the "Starter" box you will find two colored beads and two playmats that display a damage tracker and show some other tips on card layout and some simplified instructions that should easily get you started in the game.

The two decks cover all 5 colors that are used in Magic: The Gathering. The first deck (labeled "A") consists of Black, Red, and Green. The second deck (labeled "B") uses Blue and White. Normally when I've seen Blue and White in the hands of average or advanced players, these kind of decks are VERY defensive, but in this simple set either deck that is used is balanced with a decent amount of creatures for playing against the apposing deck of the set. I'd consider these decks rather weak compared to an average players deck though - especially one that focuses on one color.

I'd suggest this Starter game to new players who are interested in trying Magic: The Gathering, especially since everything is supplied for a two player game, so you can play even if you don't know anyone else that owns cards. Seasoned players might want to pick up the set incase you find potential players, but outside of that the cards aren't useful enough as they all appear to be mostly common cards.

Also to help you find what's right for you, here's a quick note from MJ: "i highly suggest starting with the new judgment cards they sort throw away a lot of the rules that most current decks are bult on and its preaty beginner friendly set."

Monopoly - Manufacturer: Parker Brothers / Hasbro - $15.95 AT FUNAGAIN GAMES
Review by: Nathaniel Dragon

So you really want to know what I think about Monopoly? Point blank, I think it's over-rated.

Ok, to be totally honest, Monopoly might not be so bad if it was played according to the official rules using the "Short Game" options. Most of the problems that I have with Monopoly are due to the house rules that people like to use which makes putting another player out of the game drag out too long. Too many players end up feeling sorry for their opponents and rather than forcing them out of the game they allow the failing player to make a deal which only prolongs the agony of loosing.

There are other money games that are more fun - Acquire, for example, or even a lesser known Avalon Hill game called The Stock Market Game. These games are played in a much shorter time span, allowing players to start a second game or play something different in the same amount of time that it often takes to finish a mediocre game of Monopoly. On top of that, Acquire and The Stock Market Game bring more strategy and less luck to the table. This makes the game much more fun for most adult gamers that I know. If Hasbro spent more time marketing these games instead of Monopoly, we might have a better chance of some good games being created and known in America rather than always having to look to Germany for entertaining board games.

Dispite my opinion of Monopoly I think there is something great about the game - it offers great components for playing all those Cheapass Games that need accessories like money, dice, and pawns!

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