06 May 2022
Director of The Noble Artist, Tabletop Games illustrator and designer, and founder of DoodleMeeple, Jame Noble-Frier delivers his love letter to Mage Knight
Each month we ask those in the game industry to tell us about their favourite game. Often described as a love letter to your favourite game, this was Jamie Noble-Frier's response from issue 63.
O’ Mage Knight, it’s been too long since we’ve touched.
Since we’ve laid… tiles together.
I miss your insistence of including every component type in a game, and cramming almost all game mechanics into one rulebook. One seductively confusing rulebook.
I know you felt awkward, that time I brought my friend along to join in. The truth is, so did I. Secretly, I want you all to myself, solo, despite the fantasies I’ve had about including other people.
Why? Because you’re enough for me. You keep me guessing, with your stacks of enemy tokens, your plethora of hireable troops, your talent pool, your spell choices, your magic artifacts and expandable board with interesting locations for us to explore.
You’re impulsive, spontaneous, yet deep and sometimes even mystifying. Sometimes people say your rulebook page order doesn’t make sense, but I’m in no rush. I’m savouring the moments with you… even when I get that frontal lobe concentration headache from trying to work out my optimum card play.
Even then, I’ll swipe everything romantically off the tabletop and set you up again, making sure not to drop your spiky mana crystals on the floor, because they are, quite frankly, worse than a treading on a D4.
Shhh… don’t apologise, there’s no time for that. It’s almost morning, and remember the rules change slightly because of your interesting night and day mechanic which affects various aspects of gameplay.
It’s no secret that you’re high fantasy, but you’re also my fantasy. You lured me in with the promise of dragons and sorcery, and you gave me more. So much more.
At first, I was nervous, apprehensive, I felt inexperienced and clumsy. But as I opened the box and it made that accidental ‘parp’ noise that made us both laugh, I felt calm, as if you’d given me your Banner of Courage. I began to allow myself to trust you, to learn and become one with you for no less than a six-hour period.
Your tantric gameplay is what I’m attracted to, but you’re not bad to look at either. I love the way you bring me right to the edge… of every card, by having borderless artwork. Sure, I’d probably prefer unpainted miniatures, but that’s ok. I’ll strip… the paint, and repaint them when I have time. Oh, who am I kidding? If I have time, I’ll gently place your start tile on the table, arrange your tokens, and I might even surprise myself by randomly selecting a character. I’m thinking about it now…
3am is not the time to start a game of Mage Knight, and besides I have an article to write for a popular gaming magazine.
So let’s take a ‘Refreshing Walk’ together… I need to ‘Rejuvenate’, I ‘Promise’ we’ll get down to it again soon. Just as soon as I have the ‘Stamina’...
Jamie Noble Frier is a board game artist, game designer and co-founder of the board game industry platform DoodleMeeple. You can find his portfolio and contact details at thenobleartist.com and join DoodleMeeple at doodlemeeple.com