Mage Wars: Forged in Fire Game Expansion Review

magewars_forgedinfire_top

The Basics:

  • For ages 13 and up
  • For 2 players
  • Approximately 60 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Bluffing and Misdirection
  • Resource Management and Area Control

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Hard
  • Adult – Moderate

Theme & Narrative:

  • When an irresistible force meets and immovable object, you know there is going to be trouble.

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek approved!
  • Parent Geek mixed!
  • Child Geek mixed!

Overview

Far beyond the forests and plains lies the great mountains. Their peaks reach ever-upward and disappear into the heavens. Below them lies the great Kingdom of the Dwarves who have toiled for centuries to perfect the art of metallurgy. Their craft and artistry is legend and their skill is unmatched. They have even mastered the ability to forge the very fabric of magic with fire and hammer. This has drawn the eye of the Lord of Fire who covets all things born of flame. The Lord of Fire has sent his most powerful warlock to take from the dwarves their secrets and skills, but such a thing is not easily done.

Mage Wars: Forged in Fire, by Arcane Wonders, is comprised of 2 new Mages, 2 Mage cards, 2 Mage Ability cards, 158 new Spell cards, and 22 markers that represent different conditions in the game. The level of quality presented in the expansion is the same as the core game, Mage Wars, which is required to play.

Note: We will not be covering how to play the game in this article. If you are not familiar with Mage Wars or want to learn more about how the game is set up and played, please read the Mage Wars game review.

Into the Fire

This expansion provides 2 new Mages players can use to build their Spellbooks around. Like the previous Mage Wars expansions, each new card offers a new possible opportunity to create combos, devastating attacks, and unbreakable defenses. This expansion’s theme is based around the schools of Darkness, Fire, War, and Earth. The expansion includes a complete card list that can be used to create each of the new Mage’s starting Spellbooks, but players are always welcome (and encouraged) to build their own.

magewars_warlock

Adramelech’s Warlock

Beautiful and full of fire, the Warlock wants to see the world burn. Her schools of focus include Darkness and Fire. Which is to say, she’s a moody woman with a temper that could turn you into a pillar of ash. Demons and imps are her footsoldiers, including the Lord of Fire himself, Aldramelech. Her attacks deal in pain and prolonged agony, as she wears down her opponents little by little until there is nothing left but a broken will and burnt body. Fire is her pet and she has countless curses on her tongue. If you come into contact with this demonic redhead, make sure you turn around and run the other way.

Warlock’s Abilities:

  • Fireweaving: Once per round, the Warlock can target a creature up to 2 zones away and move a Burn condition. Thematically speaking, the Warlock is bending fire to her will.
  • Smoldering Curse: All curses on enemy creatures gain the Flame +1 trait, making them more susceptible to fire. The Warlock’s mastery of the flame is so great, even her words burn.
  • Demonic Reward: If one of the Warlock’s demons attacks an enemy creature with a Burn condition, they are rewarded for their efforts by a healing jet of hot flame.
  • Burning Touch: The Warlock’s touch is that of fire. Her melee attacks are pure flame.

magwars_warlord

Warlord of the Anvil Throne

Stoic and intolerant of nonsense, the Warlord is a pillar of strength and will. His mind and body have worked at the forge and the battlegrounds for hundreds of years, with each blow of the hammer teaching him patience, strategy, and tactics. His schools of focus are War and Earth. An excellent combination of brutal combat and impenetrable defenses. The Warlord’s greatest skill is his Runesmithing, which allows him to affix runes of great power to his equipment. For example, the Rune of Fortification, which makes armor stronger. Or the Rune of Reforging which imbues the item with magic. But if these should fail, the Warlord can call upon his army. When he sends his troops into battle, the Warlord can give them Battle Orders which gives his soldiers a temporary bonus in combat.

Warlord’s Abilities:

  • Runesmithing: Equipped with 5 Rune markers, the Warlord can affix 1 Rune to equipment when it comes into play.
  • Battle Orders: One per round, the Warlord can lead his creatures by giving them orders. The Warlord can grant a bonus to toughness, imbue the Fast trait, and improve the ranged attacks of his creatures.
  • Battle Hardened: Due to his long life of fighting wars, working at the forge, and leading troops, the Warlord is naturally Tough – 2, making him as strong as the mountains he calls home.

Conditions and Effects

This expansion comes with several conditions and effects worth noting.

  • Bleed: When a living creature takes a tremendous amount of damage and DOES NOT die, a Bleed condition could be placed on it. Unless healed, this poor creature will continue to bleed out until it perishes.
  • Corrode: Acid attacks have a nasty way of eating through flesh and armor. If a creature is lucky enough to be wearing armor, acid attacks can be avoided. However, the creature’s armor will slowly melt away.
  • Disable: There is nothing worse than being made helpless and knowing you cannot do anything about it. This condition disables a creature, rendering them completely vulnerable to anything that might be hungry in the arena.
  • Dissipate: A magical time bomb that grants a very limited life expectancy. When there are no more Dissipate tokens left, the creature or object winks out of existence.
  • Indestructible: Indestructible objects cannot be destroyed by directly attacking them.
  • Obscured: Either because the creature is behind a wall, lurking in darkness, or out of phase, it’s hard to see them. And as we all know, if you can’t see it, you can’t hit it.
  • Reconstruct: To heal the living, you use bandages and spells. Now you can heal inanimate objects just as easily.
  • Unstoppable: The creature is so big, it cannot be hindered, or contained by normal means. When you feel the ground shake, you know you’ve got trouble coming your way. Big trouble.

To learn more about Mage Wars: Forged in Firevisit the game’s web page.

Final Word

I am very excited about this expansion for two reasons.

First and foremost, the Parent Geek and Child Geek approvals have jumped from “rejected” to “mixed”! This is due to continued game playing, increase in skills, and experience. Mage Wars is not a difficult game to teach, but it can be a real bugger to play. There are a lot of things that a player can do and even more that they shouldn’t. Add in the ability to customize the game and this makes each game playing session slightly different. It’s difficult to learn from past experiences, when every new experience is unique. Over the years, we’ve been working with young Child Geeks who are now growing up to be excellent game players. Our Parent Geeks have also improved, moving out of the non-gamer circle and settling in comfortably as a true casual gamer. When we played Mage Wars to review this expansion, pieces just started to fall together and the game play was smoother. A smooth game almost always results in a happy gamer. We still have some players who “just don’t get it” or find the game to be too much for them, but Mage Wars is certainly growing in popularity and playability.

Second,  this expansion brings to the game even more ways to subtly craft my Spellbook. Tactics and strategy have always been a major part of this game, and the new cards give me even more ways to go about crushing my enemies. A few of our players believed that the expansion was just “more of the same”, to which they are not completely wrong. Many of the spells do thing and have effects that are similar. You are always damaging and hindering your opponent, after all. The important differences are the Schools of Magic and the cost of the cards. More cards means more options for those who are looking to create a Spellbook full of incredible power and unstoppable attacks.

Which I am.

If you are a fan of Mage Wars, this is an expansion you will enjoy. A lot of neat options and things to try. If you are still struggling to learn how to play Mage Wars, I’m sorry to say that this expansion won’t make anything easier. Unless you like the heat, that is.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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3 Responses to Mage Wars: Forged in Fire Game Expansion Review

  1. Pingback: In Review: Father Geek’s Monthly Newsletter (September 2014) - Father Geek

  2. One of the things you missed commenting on (likely because of the way you and your family play the game) is the cards supplied. In the previous small expansion, they did NOT provide two new mages, but alternate mages with incomplete decks (i.e. you could not field both standard Beastmasters or Priest/Priestess with the supplied cards from the expansion and base games).

    My kids and I love Mage Wars, but have been hugely disappointed that we’d need a second core set in order to field the alternate mages. And while we’ve started deck building, we liked have the suggested builds available to play. These alternate mage expansions make that impossible.

    • Cyrus says:

      Thanks for reading the review and leaving a comment, Charles. Much appreciated.

      I believe you are referring to the Mage Wars: Conquest of Kumanjaro Spell Tome Game Expansion where Priest Malakai and the Johktari Beastmaster replaced the core set’s Priest and Beastmaster. You could not, as you have said, play both. A shame for those who wanted to, but it was never an issue for our groups. We were too busy building and breaking down different mages to take notice, to be honest.

      A quick word on the cards and the deck building. You do not need to buy every set to have fun with Mage Wars. The core set has more than enough to keep the casual game player occupied for many, many games. If you are like me and want to customize your game playing experience, that’s where the expansions come into play (pardon the pun). I think you would be better served by getting more expansions versus another core set, Charles. You might not be able to build 2 Beastmasters, but you will be able to build many different varieties of the Beastmaster.

      I have often pondered buying more sets myself, as I rather loath the idea of breaking down a mage that I have enjoyed playing because I need a few of the Spell cards for another mage I am developing. But that’s part of the game. Give and take, balance and cost. It makes for some interesting and frustrating deck building, eh? In the end, I’d rather be short a few cards than have many I don’t need.

      I am most pleased to read that you and your little geeks are enjoying the game! Mage Wars has been a difficult game to teach to my youngest children, but my oldest jumped right into it. I hope our paths cross someday so we might swap Spellbook tips and enjoy a friendly battle to the death in the arena.

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