Saturday, January 14, 2012

Melee And Magic Realm Counters

It should come as little surprise that I like Magic Realm. It includes all sorts of features that I like in a game. A fast, diceless, player-skill combat system. A mysterious and unrevealed backstory. Player agency, with clear and deadly consequences for bad decision-making. A wealth of opportunities for both player cooperation and competition. A circumscribed game length of only one month (28 days), which turns victory into a race against the clock.

And most importantly? Counters. Lots and lots of counters.

Magic Realm is notorious for its fiddly bits and long set-up times. You can easily spend 45 minutes to an hour setting up Magic Realm. That may not seem like a long time, for those of you who enjoy spending hours, as they say in the modern D&D parlance, "building your character", but it does become a barrier to casual gameplay, when other boardgame setups take only minutes.

But those other boardgames don't have cool counters like Magic Realm does. And since i'm also a big fan of Melee and other chit-and-hex microgames, I really dig counters with artwork.

Here are a few Melee counters, juxtaposed with some comparable Magic Realm counters. Metagaming missed the boat with their counters, as they could have easily printed some of the monster and npc stats on the counters included with their various death test adventures.


faoladh said...

Magic Realm is a seriously cool game. I love that I can still play it solo, since it's difficult to find anyone interested in cardboard-counter boardgames around here.

The counters that you're showing pictures of here don't look like the ones in either the 1st or 2nd edition versions I own. Did they release a different counter set?

Aaron E. Steele said...

The counters are from the electronic version of the game, called Realmspeak.

The Realmspeak electronic counters are (in my estimation) far superior to the cardboard counters, since they include the notoriety, fame and gold values of each of the denizens, plus the vulnerability rating and an armored/unarmored status indicator.

Search for Realmspeak and you should find the game. Its a free download and plays exactly like the boardgame.

I will be posting some game session screenshots from Realmspeak in the weeks ahead.

Aaron E. Steele said...

In fact, I have a link to Realmspeak under my international bloggers list.

faoladh said...

Interesting stuff. Thanks for that!

anarchist said...

Re the setup - is there any way you could draw counters as needed rather than setting them all up at the start?

Aaron E. Steele said...

Perhaps. I've never tried playing the game that way, but there are a lot of bits, it might be just as complicated drawing them as needed, since you'd have to keep lots of separate piles to draw from.