So, what makes Master of Magic so great?

Master of Magic is a classic, one of the most popular strategy games of the 90s. It is a 4X fantasy strategy game that allows you to play as an extremely powerful wizard, leading your troops and overcoming your magical opponents.
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foolishvictor
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Re: So, what makes Master of Magic so great?

Post by foolishvictor » Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:19 pm

I just found Caster of Magic no GOG and this is my first post at Slitherine!

What makes this game great?
1. It is superficially very simple.
2. In its day it was buggy and flawed. A lot of people played the game and could only hope for a more stable version with better AI. That may not be a lot of people but time and provided that better version...
3. The choices that player makes in designing their wizard matter. A single spell book or other retort can make a big difference in the game.
4. Despite the choices you make in designing your wizard the game's randomness requires the player to adapt their approach to it.

To be honest I played Master of Orion 2 back in the day and was disappointed with MOO3. They added complexity where it was not needed. I found Master of Magic on GOG years ago and have been playing since.

I am curious and hopeful for Caster of Magic 2!

eddieballgame
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Re: So, what makes Master of Magic so great?

Post by eddieballgame » Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:24 am

In a word...depth.

TalonThorn
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Re: So, what makes Master of Magic so great?

Post by TalonThorn » Mon Jun 28, 2021 5:07 pm

Well, it wasn't the AI nor the stability, but despite these issues us fans liked it.

1. The breadth of magic.
Magic in MoM ranged from simple little spells to grand spells that affect everything. Some global spells even wreck havoc on the player who casts it (chaos spells)! There have not been any games where magic could be so powerful in a game, and this is one feature which still sets apart MoM from other similar games.

2. The diverse selection of races, and the uniqueness of each race.
Though unbalanced, the races have many extreme features that you won't find in other games. This provides a variety of ways a player can play through the game, as well as just making it interesting to try different races with different units, each with a variety of abilities. In fact, the diversity of races is directly related to the diversity of abilities, and I don't think there are any abilities that are not useful.

3. Micromanagement not extremely overburdening.
There are a whole lot of buildings and units that can be built, and there is no build queue. It can certainly be difficult to remember which path to take to get to a certain building, and thus allow for a certain unit to be built (especially with all the race choices!). However, I do not feel the same burden of managing many cities and all their buildings/units construction near as much as I did in similar games of the time (Master or Orion for one). Nonetheless, one person may say micromanagement is ok while to another it is a burden, so this may not be a significant reason why fans like MoM. For those who do like it, there is a whole other game in determining the best, fastest, or most efficient strategy for building up a city, and each race adds variance to this by not having access to all the buildings.

4. Powerful creatures you can summon.
Unique and powerful creatures play a big part in making MoM interesting. This also adds to the variety of ways a player can choose to play the game. It isn't just the power of the creature but the accomplishment of being the first to research, summon, and exploit the creature successfully against enemies. This feeling of power especially comes into play when playing the hardest AI settings.

5. Resource control
The game is interesting in that it has sources of magic to capture and hold. This adds an added strategy of being the first to crack open a power source, having to guard sources, and being able to attack enemy sources. Also interesting is having various resources available for city development. I find myself spending quite a bit of time trying to find the best city locations, locations that may produce a high population but more importantly have multiple gold or metal sources, or even nightshade to take advantage of. This feature is part of what makes civilization games so much fun.

6. Combat within an arena.
Not every player likes the combat system, but they can auto-complete the combat. For those who do, the tactics and the multiple-figure units make for an interesting combat system. Many of the combat spells are ineffective, and some are too limited, but the spells that do work in combat really shape the outcome without dominating the battlefield. Add to this the combat summoning and enchantment spells, and a battle outcome is far from certain. Even heroes can help cast spells during combat!

Did I miss something? Are any of these features not so unique? Maybe it is the combination of them all that makes MoM so fascinating. Heck, maybe it is the imbalanced races that makes it so fun to play. What are your thoughts?

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