Thursday, August 27, 2009

Magic Realm: More Characters

I posted earlier about the Magic Realm characters. Here is another one, the Amazon.

Magic Realm contained some wargamey elements. One of those is the rules format: for those familiar with Avalon Hill games, you will know they have a particular rule presentation that follows a decimal format. For example, rule 120.1, rule 120.1.1, rule 120.1.2a, and so on. I'm sure this made good sense to the-then 30-40 year-old wargaming crowd, but I was 12 when this game was first published, and I found the format frustrating and confusing.

The other wargamey element is the use of cardboard pieces referred to as "chits." There are probably 500+ chits used in the Magic Realm game: those represent different monsters, natives, equipment, character actions, locations and clues.

Each character has a set of 12 chits, which represent the move, fight and spell actions that character can perform. Those actions are made up of three parts, strength (or magic type), speed, and effort. There are 5 strengths (negligible, light, medium, heavy and tremendous), six speeds (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, with 1 being the fastest and 6 being the slowest) and 8 magic types (I through VIII). There are also 3 effort levels, represented by asterisks: no asterisks mean the action is effortless; one asterisk means the action is difficult; two asterisks mean the action is herculean.

Taking the Amazon as an example, she had a total of 12 chits, but those are composed of two types of move chits and five types of fight chits. The fight chits are as follows.

L4 - this chit allows her to do light damage, effortlessly, and her fight speed is 4, so she will automatically hit, if her opponent's speed is 5 or 6.

M5 - this chit allows her to do medium damage, with no effort, and auto-hit if her opponent's speed is 6

M4* - since this chit has an asterisk, she will inflict medium damage with an attack speed of 4, but this attack takes some effort.

M3** - this medium damage attack had two asterisks, so it will take all of her effort to perform.

H4** - like the M3** chit, this heavy damage attack will take all of the Amazon's effort to perform.

Combat is unpredictable, as both combatants secretly select which fight, move and spell actions they will play each combat round, and reveal their selections simultaneously. In addition, you secretly select an attack direction (smash, stab, or swing) and reveal that simultaneously as well. If your attack direction is the same as your opponents move direction, you hit, even if your speed is slower than your opponents. This has led to the observation that Magic Realm combat is a bit like rock-paper-scissors.

As you can imagine, since each character has a different set of chits, each performs differently against certain opponents, making each character an interesting challenge to play.

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