A short review of Magic Realm

The physical and game designs are rather unconventional in this package. Players assume the role of a character, whose abilities are well-defined. The character will venture forth into a fantasy land formed by the players' placement of the hex tiles which serve as a map. There are seven different levels of play, so one can learn the game at any pace one chooses. Many fresh new ideas which could be used to good effect are presented here. Unfortunately, the game doesn't work. After negotiating the first adventure, which is no more than a footrace, the characters settle down for some serious hacking at one another. The personal combat system is simple - simple enough for any player to figure out whether he will win or lose before he engages in combat. This problem exposes, in turn, the inequities between the various characters, which, of course, destroys any chance of enjoyable competitive play. As the rules become more sophisticated (and this is a complex game when all the rules are used), the murky rules require as much interpretation as a Supreme Court decision. There could have been a great game in Magic Realm, but it was aborted early in the life-cycle of the game.

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