Official Collector's Guide to Mage Knight, Volume 1
Official Collector's Guide to Mage Knight, Volume 1 Capsule Review by John Guin on 10/06/02
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 3 (Average)
The only unique information in the book is the tables which list the value of each stat as each figure takes damage, plus the short stories. The information in this guide does not justify $16.00.
Product: Official Collector's Guide to Mage Knight, Volume 1
Author: WizKids LLC (Intro by Jordan Weisman)
Company/Publisher: WizKids LLC
Line: Mage Knight
Page count: 250
Year published: 2002
Comp copy?: no
Capsule Review by John Guin on 10/06/02
Genre tags: Fantasy
The long and short of this book: Lists every figure available in Rebellion, Lancers and Whirlwind. Has stats for every click of the dial for each figure, and a quick play tip for tactics for each. On the other hand, everything except the stats for each click of the dial is available on the WizKids website. A pair of short stories and scenarios are also thrown in.
Details: The book starts with a two page introduction by Jordan Weisman, creator of Mage Knight. A few pieces of art - very well done - seperate the introduction from the next chapter, the obligatory figure checklist.
The checklist is exactly what it sounds like: a one page checklist of each figure in the Rebellion, Lancers and Whirlwind sets. The Rebellion list covers figures 1 through 176, Lancers covers 1 through 174 and Whirlwind covers 1 through 174.
Next up is a quick reference sheet covering each of the Special Abilities a figure may have.
After this material, the meat of the book begins. Each of the three sets of Mage Knight figures gets approximately 50 pages of detail, with each faction set apart from the others inside each set's section. For instance, the first chapter is the Rebellion set, and within it's blue bordered pages the Atlantis Guild figures are listed first, followed by Black Powder Rebels, Draconum ,etc... Each figure gets one half of a page. Each half page is set into three sections - one color photo of the figure, a complete set of the combat dial for each of the strong, average and weak figures, point costs, special abilities and such, followed by a paragraph of text about the figure and strategies to use it.
Here is the biggest knock on the book - the text seems to have been lifted (almost completely) verbatim from the web page. For instance, the very first figure listed is the "Altem Guardsman." The WizKids website has this text for the figure:
"Every good faction needs its fanatical defenders, and the Altem Guardsman is just what the Atlantean high command ordered. Coupling high attack values with Weapon Mastery, Battle Armor and a fair ranged attack, the Altem Guardsman is a close-in killing machine. This warrior doesn't even get demoralized. Like Black Powderís Dwarven Berserker, the Altem Guardsman gets better at just about everything before heís eliminated. Use this figure in close combat formations with Utem Guardsmen in order to take down really big opponents, like Steam Golems and Draconum. "
The book's text?
"Every faction needs its fanatical defenders, and the Altem Guardsman is just what the Atlantean high command ordered. Coupling high attack values with Weapon Master, Battle Armor and a fair ranged attack, the Altem Guardsman is a close-in killing machine. This warrior doesn't even get demoralized. Like Black Powder Rebels' Dwarven Berserker, the Altem Guardsman gets better at just about everything before itís eliminated. Use this figure in close-combat formations with Utem Guardsmen in order to take down really big opponents, like Steam Golems and Draconum. "
Of all the information in the book, the only unique information available for the figures is the click by click damage each figure can take, given in a table by each photo. One nice touch which is unfortunately executed poorly is the special abilities for each figure. If a figure has the "Battle Fury" Damage special ability, the stat in the table is drawn with an orange box surrounding the damage statistic. Unfortunately, special figures such as the Draconum Magna Draconum have 2 special abilities for Damage, Battle Fury and Starting Position. In the book, only one special ability is called out in the table - I could not figure out any logic into which special ability takes precedence. In the Magna Draconum case, Battle Fury is shown in the table.
The next two chapters are more of the same for the Lancers and Whirlwind sets. Each chapter has it's pages lined with an appropriate color, green for Lancers and Purple for Whirlwind. The same tactics, photos and charts are presented.
After the complete figure list is a copy of the complete rules of play ( a la the web site), details for each of the special abilities and a glossary - all self explanatory. The rules do not have a special color along the page edge as do the expansion set lists.
Lastly, the book has two short stories set in the Mage Knight world, and two scenarios based on each story. I won't give any spoilers here. The fiction was adequate, and the scenarios fair.
There is no index. I repeat, no index.
In summary, the only unique information in the book is really the tables which list the value of each stat as each figure takes damage, plus the short stories. While the artwork in the book is top notch, the information in this guide does not justify $16.00. If you are a die-hard Mage Knight fan, and really want to see the click by click damage results of each figure though, this book may be worth it as a hard copy of that specialized data.