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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

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larienna
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I am currently playing the Master of Magic video game and I am trying to see if it would be possible to convert this video game as a board game. Master of magic is a video game that works like civilisation. The only difference is that you replace technology with magic. Since Civilisation has already been ported as a board game, maybe it would be possible for MOM(Master of magic) too. Not that I have not played the civilisation board game.

The biggest problem with MOM is that there is too much data to keep track of. There are over 100 different military units according to the race of the population and there is as much fantastic creature units. There is more than 200 spells that can affect: battle, cities, units or the world.

One of the problem would be, for example, how to keep track which unit has been enchanted with which spell so far. Since there are many spells, I cannot make tokens for each spell available in case somebody decide to enchant his unit with it.

Here is the solution and design I have tought about so far.

I intend to make a game which works like axis and allies. To solve the unit enchantment problem, I tought of using the battle chart like the one used in Axis or in bells of war. Each player would move his unit on the chart where each column indicate the strength of the units. Now if the player wishes to cast a spell to boost his units, he simply moves them on the chart to improve the stats. When the spell are all cast, the combat can start.

For non-fantastic unit, I intend to make common categories of units for all races: Infantry, Cavalry, Archery/artillery and maybe and improved version of these: Improved infantry, improved cavalry. If each race has different units, they will still use the same categories. So I would not need to make unique tokens for each race. For example: Improved cavalry for humans will be paladins, while there will be elven lord for elves.

For Non-Fantastic creatures, I have not come with a solution yet. You must also consider that some spells can summon these fantastic creature. The best solution so far would be a limited range of fantastic creatures.

In MOM, many units has many special abilities like First Strike, Large Shield, Lucky, Healer, Immunity to fire, stoning, fire breath, etc. I think that I will have to remove these completely if I want to keep the game playable. Since there won't be many of these abilities, I might not need that much fantastic creature. Sure it will remove the "I have an invincible unit, find it's weak spot" aspect of the game.

For cities or territories, they are generally develloped by making buildings and maybe casting city spells. Now I am not sure If I really want city development. Probably, all the cities are some what all develloped. For city spell, the best solution so far would be to place a token on the territory indicating that the spell is active in this area. I tought of doing this for buildings too, but maybe only special key buildings would be available(ex: Wizard's Guild, War College) just to make sure I don't end up with 10 Building token on each territory/City.

For the spell book of wizard, I had their crazy idea of placing spells on business cards, and when the character learn the spell, he place the card in this buisiness card holder book. When he need to cast a spell, he flip his cards, pay the mana and cast his spell.

For the gold and mana, I tought of using a small card board with numbers indicating the gold and mana reseves you have. You place tokens on the number to keep track of how much you have.

If you have any solutions or suggestion, I'll be glad to hear them. Sure, it is always a good idea to play the video game first to make sure you know what I am talking about.

erael
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

Are you playing the OOOLLLLDDD (circa 1994?) Master of Magic, or has there been a new version which I'm unaware of?

Probably my favorite computer game of all time, though the game had so many cool bells and whistles it probably wasn't well-balanced. I could never understand why they didn't do a sequel.

akacamper
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

MOM is a very fun game. Its been 10 years since i played it so i might be a bit rusty.

first, I think you might just want to start your game with 3 or 4 races not all the races that should help you a bit on some of the special units.

second, Maybe see if you can cut a lot of the spells out. i think several spells kind of do the same thing so you could reduce it down to 50 or so spells. I cant remember all the spells but i never used half of them.

third, i have the civ board game. the board is risk like which can be the same for MOM. you can upgrade cities 3 times. you might could use this idea also. only level 4 cities can produce special monsters, level 3 large normal units, level 2 Calvary, level 1 infantry/archers.

fourth, The business card thing works great i am using it for my game.

If you like Sid Meier's i am working on a modified board game of MOO. I call it TOO (Traders Of Orion) for now at least.

Camper

SenorOcho
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

I was thinking about putting together a MoM sequel of my own, but I'm just not patient. :)

As for a board game, remember that you're going to have two important resources: Gold, which comes from your cities, and Mana, which comes from the Nodes. Gold would be used to buy/maintain regular units and heroes, while Mana would be used to cast/maintain spells.

I think something important to keep in mind is that Master of Magic is not just a civ game, and I personally think that the civ aspect is the weakest link - Its your heroes and spells that win you the game, even if you have Paladins/Hammerhands/etc.

Schmendrick
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

Personally, I think that city development is one of the biggest elements of MoM (to which will readily add my vote for "one of the best video games EVER"); by oversimplifying it, you take a lot out IMO. Limiting the number of cities might be a good idea though.

Perhaps each player (or each race, adding a rule that no two players may start as the same race?) has three (or so) cards indicating city development; that is, each race in existence can only have three "developed" cities - to develop more than three, you have to conquer some other race's city.

Each city card would have a set of indicators (kind of like Cities and Knights of Catan's "city development calendar" or whatever it was called) tracking development in military, economic, educational, agricultural, and mana generation. If you limit the number of city cards available, you can afford to indulge in a little more complexity on each city. (And, at least in the way I played, I only really focused on a few cities anyway, until late in the game when reinforcing was the only thing left to do).

It might be a good idea to limit heroes to 2, 3, or 4, as well.

I do like the card idea, especially if you follow MoM's spell access rules, where the number of 'spellbooks' you have in a given school controls how many spells of each 'power level' are available to research. The card backs could indicate the school and power level of each spell for shuffling/drawing ease. After beginning the game the player would shuffle and draw his "library," which would be laid in a face-down stack with Spell of Mastery at the bottom, and then draw (however many is reasonable after abridging the spells) cards into a "research" hand, from which he would then choose to research spells; after completing research, he then draws the next from his library stack and adds it to the "research" hand. Any new spells added later in-game by acquisition of spellbooks would be added to the top.

Here's a question: were you thinking of using planes?

akacamper
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

I do agree that the city building was a fun and big part of the computer game. Also my favorite part were the battles.

Only problem i see about trying to put everything into the game is the time to play the game. It take hours to play a game of MOM on the computer single player with only 1 person playing. the time almost doubles if you used the hot seat-multiplayer patch. Also trying to keep up several cities production is going to be very hard.

Civilization the board game still take 8 hours to play if you play through all the era's in the game. and the somewhat cut the city building part into about 1/4 of what it is.

questions
1) Do you want it to be a war game or a city building war game?
2) Are you thinking about making each battle happen on a separate board?

I can help simplify it if needed according to what you would like it to be. but everyone have a vision and i would never want to change it. I have gone from mega development in my TOO board game to simply and people seem to like it a lot better now. The true hard core board gamers like me would rather play the 12 hour MOM game.

camper

larienna
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

I divided my replies in 2 categories, those related to the video game and those to the board game.

>>> MOM Video Game >>>

First, it is not Sid Meier that did MOM and MOO, it is Steve Barcia. My latest sources told me that he worked recently for retro studio who develloped the Game Cube's Metroid series.

Yes, it is the old game I am talking about. Even if the game is currently partially develloped, Even if there is currently 3 petitions with more than 1000 signatures, they have not released MOM 2.Since MOO3 did not sell pretty much much, they think that there is no market for turn based strategy games. So the investment is risky.

I tought it would be cool to have access to the source code of MOM. I tought of sending a letter to Steve Barcia, but I am not sure if he has the rights to release it. If the source code ever get available, I am ready to make my variation. I could also try to make my own game, but the result would probably be different, the mechanics will look more like Koei games (ex: Romance of the 3 kingdom, Gemfire, etc ). But I don't have time for this ... except maybe for a game park version(^_^).

But a lot of people have started to make their own clone of master of magic. There has been more than 20 attempts to recreate this master piece. Most projects are dead, but a few of them are still alive. I have a few a few interesting url:

Open Magic : Not sure if they are still alive or not
http://openmagic.sourceforge.net/

Master of Magic Clone : Looks Promising
http://george101.demon.co.uk/mom/showpage.php?pagename=main

Xarvh : A game with the same look and feel than MOM
http://xarvh.sourceforge.net/

Age of Magic: Not sure if still alive, they have been there for a long time
http://www.ageofmagic.org/

MOM Encyclopidia : Contains all the data about the game
http://zeugma440.free.fr/MoM/home.html

Free Orion: A remake of master of orion(Fast computer required)
http://www.freeorion.org/index.php/Main_Page

>>> Board game >>>

I just had this idea of making a MOM clone as board game because it could be easier to do than an actual video game. I do not necessarily wishes to make an exact copy of the game. If I decide to make it a commercial game, I need to make a game tha looks close but that is not the same. So I do not intend to have 2 planes, but I could make it an optional game.

I am targetting for a game that last for 2 to 5 hours for a world conquest game. A scenario on a continent could take around 1 or 2 hours. I do not intend to make it a a city building game. City level like in the civ board game is OK. Maybe special key buildings like the wonders in civ could be acceptable.

I want to make a game like Bells of War (Axis and Allies with a bigger and more detailed map). The versatility of units, races and spell is the element that will add a twist to the game(compared to the original war game). For example, if you play the draconians, well guess what, all your infantry can fly. This can change dramatically the strategy.

About that TOO game, if you have some information ready about this game, I'll be glad to see it. I like MOO too you know(^_^).

Pluckerman
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

MOM was and still is a great PC game. There's been no sequels to it as far as I know.

There have been at least 2 sequels to MOO though. MOO2 was great, MOO3 was far too focussed on attention to detail for my liking. I believe the original MOO was based upon the board game Stellar Conquest ( http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1708 ). Another game with a very similar feel is Twilight Imperium ( http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/24 ).

SenorOcho
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

Yes, MOO3 was a terrible disappointment. I keep on trying to play it again (I WANT to like it!), but it just doesn't go anywhere. :\

akacamper
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

SenorOcho wrote:
Yes, MOO3 was a terrible disappointment. I keep on trying to play it again (I WANT to like it!), but it just doesn't go anywhere. :\

I do the same thing about every 4 months. install start playing and uninstall.

Very nice history Larienna i get confused sometimes with all the microprose game and their makers, i just love Sid hehe. I still play moo2 all the time. i am going to have to install MOM on my laptop, i have not played that in years. Also i game i loved from back then was Warlords i still play warlords 4.

Best of luck making the MOM game. I can try to help if you have some questions, i am still on my 2nd board game(TOO) i have ever tried to make so i might not have all the answer like most but i am full of ideas. Take them or leave them.

The TOO game i am making is on my free website. here is the web link

http://www.geocities.com/akacampersk2000/boardgame.html

This is a game i played with my wife, the player to the left is a dummy player we were using to make it a 3 player game. I will try to take some pictures of the cards and such soon and get them in the site. i have some rough rules right now but i am very new at all this. This is my prototype. i still don't like the way i am doing production. but play testing is hard in Alabama. My wife helps me a lot with testing.

Camper

tyrfiel
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

Warning: If you are a MOM fan, I'm going to ruin your life with this post. ;)

I loved Master of Magic. I don't think I've played any game for more hours straight. Over the years, my CD got scratched, my 3.5" disks got borrowed, and my PC outgrew the game, leaving me without anything to fill the fantasy/civ void.

Then I bought Age of Wonder: Shadow Magic for $7 off Amazon. It's basically Master of Magic updated for the new century. It's got city development, hundreds of units, a dozen or so factions (each with a different look and feel), and tons of spells. The game's appearance is (obviously) much improved over MOM, and it took me a little while to adjust to a few of the mechanics, but ultimately it's MOM under there.

You can get it for $10 new at Amazon, or $5 used. If you liked Master of Magic, definitely give this one a try. But don't say I didn't warn you. ;)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00008JOLW/qid=1135896711/...

(Sorry for the OT post...I know this is about game design, but I can't help spreading the word about Age of Wonder)

tyrfiel
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

Back on topic: you could represent each unit by a card. This would let you "stack" units (into a little deck of cards). Then you could use army pawns on the game board. A number on the pawn would indicate which stack it's referring to.

I agree that keeping track of enchantments on units would be a complicated affair, but you could make a rule that says only heroes can be enchanted. Then, if a hero joins a stack, he brings those enchantments to all the units in the stack.

Cities could work in a similar fashion. As you develop your city, you add cards to its stack. This would be a little like "Citadels," by Bruno Faidutti.

You'd still have to come up with a combat system that made it easy to resolve a battle, despite having lots of cards involved. But I always loved the diversity of unit types in MOM, and cards are one way to achieve that without having to create a lot of little pawns.

larienna
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Converting "Master of Magic" as a board game

I am Sorry for talking about video games too!

I Played the first Age of Wonders and it's totally crap. There are some good ideas and I know the intention was to replace MOM, but it just not the same. There is no random map generation, the diplomatic relation are fixed. Maybe your version is better, but from what I know, everybody says that MOM is still the best game in it's category.

The biggest problem is the shortage of ressources to maintain armies. You don't have enough gold to maintain a decent army to defend all your cities and also have legion armies for attacking. But there is worst, many ressources income like farms and mines are outside the city. This also mean that you have to defend these too. Forget it, you can't.

So the trick to win the game is to have the fastest, non-Limited unit(a flying unit)that moves from ressources to resource and place your flag on it to steal the ressource. If the player steal it after it does not matter since you steal them faster than him so he will eventually lack of ressources.

There was a few good ideas like the fact that you absolutely need a siege engine if there was a fortification or the ability to enchant many unit at once by simply paying more mana. Me too, I tried to play and love this game, but it did not work. I failed the first AOW scenario when playing the bad guy. I also failed the first scenario at Heroes of Might and Magic III. So as you can see, there is something in these games which is not compatible with me.

For the master of orion board game, I have seen "Stellar conquest" in my game club. I think I took a look at it but it seems too complicated. I'll take a look back to see if it could be interesting to play. Generally, the people in my game club want to play something not too much complicated.

Traders of orions looks cool too. I like the idea of exploring the map. Good Luck with your game.

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