10 reasons Mage Knight is the worst boardgame of all time


I’m not familiar with the show but I’ve seen that before and can’t recall what it is. Do tell so I can rewatch it!


That, good sir, is Cones of Dunshire,of Parks and Recreation infamy.

And yes, it does have BGG page


Ah, that rings a bell! Cheers @sharaleo.


If I recall correctly, there was a Kickstarter for a real version of it a while back, which is probably more responsible for the BGG page than the show was.


Yeah, you are of course tight, but I am almost certain there was a BGG page before the KS got up, even if it was slightly on the tongue in cheek side.


I think there was as well, or at least it looks like it.


The people on this forum are so cool. Look what @Marlowespade sent me in the mail after seeing the discussion in this thread:

I’m weirdly giddy about it.



That’s from the hyperventilation at seeing a 284 page manual. But don’t worry, BGG simplifies it with a 273 page tutorial.


I should be so lucky. :( Sadly, it’s only 35 pages. A dense 35 pages, but still only 35 pages.

And I already hate how it’s divided into escalating learning games. Look, I’m a big boy, just give me the full rules!



Ah, you have the 1st edition rules! The 2nd edition got rid of that. There’s a fan-made 3rd edition (which is the 284 page one). It’s… very thorough. I’m not sure it’s possible to learn the game by reading the rules; you kind of have to be taught.


I really really hope Christien said, “nice,” Magic Realm is a great catch. One I haven’t managed yet. That rule staging is something that really bugs me too. I’ve seen that in a few of Vlaada Chavatil games, notably in Through the Ages I just wanted the full rules of that game. Maybe that’s what’s killing Mage Knight for you.

Full disclosure I think Mage Knight is ok, And, It’s on the good side of ok. I don’t understand the super devoted fans but I admire what it’s got going on but I would totally trade my copy in for a copy of Magic Realm even if that particular game is from the time before good games. Magic Realm has almost the same fascination that Gunslinger does for me.

Tom Mc


Glad it arrived safely! I like to think the stern Gandalf-y looking guy on the box cover is trying to parse the combat rules.


@tomchick , you have probably already scouted BGG, but if not go here:

Ignore the rules in the box and grab the latest edition on BGG (3.1 - in either the vanilla version or reformatted deluxe version), along with The MR Tutorial Project, The Least You Need to Need to Know to Play Magic Realm and Magic Realm in Plain English.

The tutorial project is freaking amazing - 277 pages of illustrated play-throughs starting with the basics and escalating through the gamut of the ruleset.

There is also Magic Realm Light 30, a pretty amazing one page, self-contained, streamlined, solitaire variant designed with just enough rules to help players get the gist of game flow and provide a taste of the full game, but without the 300 page learning curve.


Now we’re talking! Seriously, I don’t know how ruleboo-- tomes are remotely appealing.


Guh, now I have to go to Tom’s and play this game.





I like Magic Realm, enough to have built muy own copy a decade or so back- sadly, a year or two before Karim’s redesign, though I did use the ‘other’ redesigned chits that had more info on them. I got it to the table a few times, and even though I thought I’d done a good job with figuring out the rules beforehand, it was inevitably a train wreck.

Good luck, Tom. Though @sharaleo’s links above look like they’ll make things easier- I know I have the 3.0 rules, and the Plain English, but the other stuff wasn’t around back then, though Quests of Magic Realm was. If you get into the game, you should definitely look that up.


I agree that the “staged” rules are a terrible idea. However, it’s also true that you don’t have to read and understand ALL the rules before you play. For example, you may well go an entire game without seeing a horse, so don’t bother with the horse rules until it comes up (assuming you have a group that is going to be ok with you figuring that out as you play; or better yet play a bunch of RealmSpeak until you understand everything). You can pretty easily play many times without worrying about magic at all (you may occasionally get the opportunity to cast a spell, even as a non-magic character, but it’s uncommon, and even more rare that you’d want to!).

As long as you know how to move, search, hide, and fight, you’re mostly good. Admittedly, fighting is pretty complicated. But this is for good reason – the combat system handles any number of characters, monsters, hired denizens and unhired denizens in any combination, with melee and ranged weapons, magic, armor, horses, etc. And anybody can be attacking anybody else, not just two sides attacking each other. It’s pretty brilliant actually.


I want to see Tom condense this one into a one page summary on the wall!


Yeah listen captain, my 13-year-old self and my jr high school friend Tom (no relation) absolutely loved that. Please remember that a lot of kids played these games back then, the hobby didn’t have three decades of all kinds of innovative mechanics for comparison, and letting us get into the game gradually was a boon. Just because middle-aged men like us are now demanding game rules perfection doesn’t mean that people in 1981 didn’t have good reasons for what they did.