Mage Knight – The Lost Legion: Review

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As I discussed in a previous article, I am a big fan of Mage Knight.  The game is utterly complex, and takes a bit of an obsessive personality to really be able to play without looking up the rules.  Remember all that time you spent reading the new core rulebook for any iteration of D&D?  Getting the hang of Mage Knight is sort of like that, except it is really just a board game.  I finally broke down and bought a copy of Mage Knight, and while I was doing so, my friend, who also owned the game, tagged along with me.  What did we see when we got to the game store, but a shipment of Mage Knight: The Lost Legion expansion sitting there.  Next thing I knew, my friend had his credit card out and we were zipping home to unbox the expansion.

Let’s be honest, Mage Knight is so complex that setup takes a few minutes longer than most games, and play can take 1-2 hours for experienced players.  For new players, especially ones who like to think, Mage Knight should be reserved for weekends when you have many hours to destroy.  So what does the expansion do for the game?  It adds more cards and characters into play, which, while not necessarily making the game longer, means you have to memorize and read over even more stuff.

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Mage Knight is not cheap, with retail price at a store going around $70 to $75.  Do we really need a expansion to this wonderful game that costs $50?  In my opinion, the answer is a resounding “NO”.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the expansion, but to consider that the price tag for someone without either game would be around $125, I just have to shake my head.  The original game is very fun, and the expansion doesn’t detract from that fun, but it does mean you need to be more organized in packing up the games.  You don’t want your expansion cards sneaking into a normal game of Mage Knight, to confuse new players even more.

And here is the thing.  I really don’t believe that Mage Knight is a game that is very accessible in the first place.  The game is not like Catan where you can explain to a new player that you lay down some tiles, pick your starting point, and off you go.  Mage Knight needs someone who has gamed before, and really it needs someone who has played RPG’s and Board games extensively.  So while it is really a gamer’s game, the expansion pack doesn’t enhance things or change play so greatly that it makes me want to go out and spend $50.  For that $50, you could buy a whole new game.  Most people will not get bored with Mage Knight thinking that there aren’t enough things to learn and do in the game.  If they are to get bored, it is because the game is simply overwhelming.  All the expansion does is push the game a little closer towards being overwhelming, without really adding much.  Save the $50 and go buy another game.  Unless you are a hardcore Mage Knight player, and you need even more of a kick.

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