A Brief Jaunt Through: Simtex's Master of Magic (Part 1)

Hey guys. I'm a little stuck for content to give you this week, since I didn't really play enough Dragon's Dogma to form any cogent opinions about it. Though I feel I should elaborate by saying that I actually poured quite a few hours into it, it's just that I got so very little done because of how intensely ponderous that game is to play. What I would've have given for a horse or a jetpack or something to get around with. I also played a little Pullblox, which I'm loving, but I can't really think of any way to form a cohesive blog around that either. Best deviations of Sokoban?

Instead, I'm going to do this mini half-LP/half-guide/all-cop for a DOS favorite of mine - Master of Magic. Follow the link for a further clarification, but it's essentially a fantasy-based Civ clone from the same people that brought you the Master of Orion games.

Reason being is that the GOG sales are in full swing and because they're running a popularity contest of sorts for which game gets the better discount, I'm going to do my part by exhibiting some of the better titles they may or may not include in future contests to convince folk to vote for (and purchase) them instead of something stupid, like Fahrenheit Postal 2 nothing in particular. Perhaps I'll make it a temporary blogging theme while these sales are on, though conventional wisdom might suggest that I only cover the games that are actually on sale right this moment. "Pfah!" is what I say to you, conventional wisdom.

(Though for the record, you should probably vote for Arx Fatalis this week. Gothic is likely as not going to be in the imminent Steam sale with at least two of its sequels, since it has been before.)

Part 1: Introductions

Well, I guess I'll start with how the game chooses to introduce itself: A short movie that is sort of what this game is about, sort of.

In short, a hero (who are traditionally not as magically-inclined as the wizards they serve) decides to antagonize a wizard with glowing red eyes, who has grown so powerful that he has learned the spell that wins the game. It goes about as well for Fu Manchu as could feasibly be expected.

As for the actual game itself, though, I'll just jump right into the pre-amble here:

Here's the settings menu for setting up your game. All of these are self-explanatory, except perhaps for
Here's the settings menu for setting up your game. All of these are self-explanatory, except perhaps for "Magic." With this option, you can mitigate or intensify the effect magic will have on your game; it ranges from low fantasy like Game of Thrones all the way up to Apocalyptic. The cursor is pointing there because I am 12.
This is the list of available magicians. Merlin's your basic Life and Nature mage (hence the little books under his name with trees and ankhs on them). He's also a Sage Master, which increases the speed with which you research spells. A goody-goody hippie overachiever, basically. Sounds accurate for the big M if Disney's The Sword in the Stone is any indication. He's a good pick for newcomers, especially those who going for the Spell of Mastery victory (which is this game's equivalent of the Technology victory)
This is the list of available magicians. Merlin's your basic Life and Nature mage (hence the little books under his name with trees and ankhs on them). He's also a Sage Master, which increases the speed with which you research spells. A goody-goody hippie overachiever, basically. Sounds accurate for the big M if Disney's The Sword in the Stone is any indication. He's a good pick for newcomers, especially those who going for the Spell of Mastery victory (which is this game's equivalent of the Technology victory)
You can also make your own custom guy, which is a good idea if you know what you're doing.
You can also make your own custom guy, which is a good idea if you know what you're doing.
Those familiar with the game might recognize most of what's happening here as
Those familiar with the game might recognize most of what's happening here as "the Munchkin route to utter domination". I won't elaborate too much on that, but I should point out that the Warlord trait automatically makes all my troops one rank higher (yes, everything has levels in this game) and therefore more effective. This will be important later on.
After selecting your magic books (I took 7 Life and 2 Sorcery, the latter mostly for color), you're given some freebies based on your expertise. I took Phantom Warriors because they can be fierce in the right situation.
After selecting your magic books (I took 7 Life and 2 Sorcery, the latter mostly for color), you're given some freebies based on your expertise. I took Phantom Warriors because they can be fierce in the right situation.
You also select the race you want your initial village to be populated by. The Myrran races are unique to this game's whole alternate universe thing it has going on. It's sort of like the Underdark of the Forgotten Realms universe: Very dark, lots of magic. I'll show it off too somewhere down the line. For now, let's select the most fearsome, martially powerful race available.
You also select the race you want your initial village to be populated by. The Myrran races are unique to this game's whole alternate universe thing it has going on. It's sort of like the Underdark of the Forgotten Realms universe: Very dark, lots of magic. I'll show it off too somewhere down the line. For now, let's select the most fearsome, martially powerful race available.
Hell yeah the Halflings.
Hell yeah the Halflings.
I was considering an equally intimidating town name for this whole unstoppable conquering army angle I'm setting up, but I really doubt I'll be able to come up with anything as fear-inspiring as
I was considering an equally intimidating town name for this whole unstoppable conquering army angle I'm setting up, but I really doubt I'll be able to come up with anything as fear-inspiring as "Honeypool".
And here it is. The world map and the town map are very Civ-like, so it's no biggie getting acquainted with the UI in this game. That big purple eyesore sitting in the middle of that picturesque village is my personal wizard's tower, which signifies this town as my residence. For now.
And here it is. The world map and the town map are very Civ-like, so it's no biggie getting acquainted with the UI in this game. That big purple eyesore sitting in the middle of that picturesque village is my personal wizard's tower, which signifies this town as my residence. For now.
Here's the world map again. Hitting F1 gets you a nifty guide for getting specific topological data (handy it you're looking for a place to park settlers - this game will automatically found your first town for you, however). We can see that the game helpfully sat us in the middle of the desert, which isn't exactly great for harvesting crops, but at least we have a few forested squares to make that deficit up. Special features include some useful iron ore (that bloodstain looking thing on the left), a cave with monsters in it (probably) and the pool-like Sorcery Node. We'll want to tap that node for magic gathering, so to speak, so let's go clean it out and claim it for ourselves.
Here's the world map again. Hitting F1 gets you a nifty guide for getting specific topological data (handy it you're looking for a place to park settlers - this game will automatically found your first town for you, however). We can see that the game helpfully sat us in the middle of the desert, which isn't exactly great for harvesting crops, but at least we have a few forested squares to make that deficit up. Special features include some useful iron ore (that bloodstain looking thing on the left), a cave with monsters in it (probably) and the pool-like Sorcery Node. We'll want to tap that node for magic gathering, so to speak, so let's go clean it out and claim it for ourselves.
Fun fact: Entering a location with enemy forces, such as this node, will give you a
Fun fact: Entering a location with enemy forces, such as this node, will give you a "scouting report" about the enemies you'll encounter. It told me that there were "Phantom Warriors" in the node. It neglected to inform me exactly how many there were. Eep.

So I guess that's a suitably cliffhanger-y place to leave things. I'll show off more of this game tomorrow and will probably continue throughout the week highlighting some other decent GOG items you might want to consider voting for. Should they come up. You know, just in case.

Other Brief Jaunts
Master of Magic - Parts 1 - 2 - 3
Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos - Parts 1 - 2
Dungeon Master - Parts 1 - 2
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