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Magic Realm - Board Game Box Shot

Magic Realm

| Published: 1979
38 11 6

MAGIC REALM is a game of fantasy adventuring, set in a land filled with monsters, fabulous treasures, great warriors, and magicians. The scene is set in the ruins of a mighty kingdom, now inhabited by sparse groups of natives and swarms of monsters. Beneath it all are the rich remnants of a magical civilization, scattered and lost across the map.

To this scene come the adventurers, seekers of riches and fame, to make a name for themselves in this promising field. Swordsman and Dwarf, Magician and Sorceror, the humans and the half-humans come seeking to loot the legendary riches of a lost civilization. Now you can play the part of one of these adventurers, stepping into an unknown Realm of magic and monsters, battles and treasures.

As a player, you will take on the role of one of the sixteen major characters who are represented in detail in the game. You will control where he goes, what he tries to do, how he handles himself in combat, and much more. In the course of the game, you will run into deadly monsters, tribes of humans ranging from old friends to sworn enemies, and treasures that will enhance your abilities in many ways.

MAGIC REALM is a complex game designed to recapture the suspense and desperate struggles of fantasy literature. The game creates a small but complete fantasy world, where each game is a new adventure with a new map where everything lies hidden at new locations. The game includes many more playing pieces than are actually used in a single playing. The additional pieces are set up and can appear, depending on the directions in which the characters explore, but many of the treasure troves, treasures, and spells will still be set up, unfound, when the game ends, and many of the monsters and natives might never be met. The result is an extremely unpredictable game full of surprises, a game that plays very differently each time it is played.

The complete game system includes hiking, hiding and searching, fatigue, wounds, rest, trade, hiring natives, and combat between characters, monsters, and natives using a variety of weapons on horseback and afoot, as well as many magical effects.

Between exploring a new land where the mountains, caves, valleys, and woods change every game, and not knowing what you will find in each place, you will find each game a new and unpredictable adventure, filled with surprises. You will find this like no other board game you have ever played.

User Reviews (2)

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“Unique in so many ways.”

From the first ‘tile system’ board I’d ever seen, through the activation of magic that flips the tile to specific types of magic, empowering certain characters and weakening others, to the first diceless (thank you, thank you) combat system that could have flavors of poker to it, this game is truly an overlooked gem.

It’s not difficult to learn, (but this set up is probably the original one that inspired Fantasy Flight games forever) but the mechanics require some attention early on until everyone gets a feel for the game flow. Once that happens everyone goes off questing until they have what they need to satisfy victory conditions. Then it’s a race to be the first, so backstabbing ensues, but thoroughly under control, nothing like the Munchkin BS.

It’s just that there were so many *ed tiny cardboard markers to keep track of, because if you lost the one +6 dagger for thieves, it made the thief pretty useless. All the parts had a tendency to rattle around in the box, contributing to that loss.

Much like the original Cosmic Encounter from Eon games though, the artwork on the character cards is suitable for framing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the new artwork,(in cosmic, and other modern games) but it suffers from a “cartoony-ish” bent. The old, classic artwork owed more to Vallejo and the like. It was adult, but without the adult oriented themes in heavy metal.

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I'm Completely Obsessed
Book Lover
Advanced Reviewer
15 of 17 gamers found this helpful
“A fun game, but complex and involved”

I haven’t actually dusted this game off in quite a few years. I picked it up on a whim, and my friend and I enjoyed quite a few games of it back in the day. My only real complaint is that Magic Realm is a decidedly complex game with a lot of extremely detailed rules in it. In many respects, this is almost an RPG in a box as much as it is a board game. Now that being said, the replay potential of this game is enormous as a result.

The Pros:

Incredibly detailed, rich game.
Considerable replay value.

The Cons:

Complex rule system can take time to learn and may discourage casual board game players.
Compared to more modern games in this genre, the pieces are of lesser quality and there are a lot of little soft cardboard tokens to keep track of.

While this is a good game in its own right, I think it probably has a very narrow niche market. There are a lot of fantasy board games out there to choose from these days, and many of them are faster to play and easier to learn.


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