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Magnum Opus

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The Great Work, also known as The Magnum Opus, is the creation of the true Philosophers' Stone. The holder is said to be granted eternal life and gain unfathomable riches - so naturally, you desire it! You must collect your ingredients and experiment to find the proper formula and be the first to the create the legendary stone and emerge victorious! A twist on traditional deck-building games, you will fight to attain this mythical creation; however, the other players will be looking to do exactly the same. There's no point scoring in Magnum Opus - just the goal of creating the Philosopher's Stone.

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17 of 18 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“New twist on deckbuidling”

I backed Magnum Opus kickstarter campaign and waited eagerly for a year to receive the actual game. The components seemed nice, and the videos explaining the concept seemed nice as well.

Now I’ve finally had the chance to try it out, and I’m not disappointed. The game is a deckbuilder, and for those of youy who may be unfamiliar with the concept you start with a small deck of cards. When it is your turn you draw a hand of cards from that deck, and as the game progresses you try to get your hands on better cards to add to your deck, making it possible to perform cooler actions.

The goal of this game is to create the philosophers stone. First player to do that wins the game, there are no points or scoring tracks. All you have to do is to make a succesful experiment with the three correct ingredients. Unfortunately you do not know which ingredients are the correct ones when the game starts.

The main focus in this game is a matrix of 4 x 4 spots, each matching a specific combination of reagents (four green located on the x-axis and 4 blue on the y-axis). You collect ingredients and when you have one green and one blue they will point to a specific place in the matrix. In that place is a card dictating the effect of your experiment (for instance allowing you to grab special cards or some annoying ones that turn your gold into lead…). Each reagent card have a difficulty number, and by adding your two numbers together you see how hard it is to succeed with the experiment (you must roll at least that number on a 8-sided die).

Before anyone have tried a specific combination for the first time noone knows what will happen (the effect card is face down). The first player to succesfully perform a specific experiment also gain a research card as a bonus. Those are more powerful cards that you want to have in your deck. If you fail your experiment you gain a xp-token that can be spent later to modify a result. It’s a good idea to gather a few of those before trying the final transmutaion of the philosopher’s stone, since it contains three reagents instead of just two it’s more difficult to achieve.

Three of the spots in the matrix also gives you Magnum Opus clues, revealing one of the three ingredients needed to win the game (in secret, only the player succeding such an experiment will get the clue).

So, when it is your turn you first have the chance to play one or two cards to grant you money or draw more cards from the deck. Unlike for instance Dominion this is capped to two actions, and during normal circumstances you will not be able to play more such cards. This is your steady income.

In the next phase you can buy or sell reagents.

Next you can manipulate your working bench where all the experiments take place (the table in front of you). You can store reagents on the table between turns, and this is where you can add, remove or swap reagents to the table.

After this you may perform an action, for instance try to perform the experiment with the cards on your table. If you have enough money you can also pay an assistant to perform an experiment to another place in the matrix allready discovered to benefit from the effect from it.

Finally the rules tells you to pause and consider. 😉

The effects of the experiments are randomized, so the game will offer sligthly different options each game. Each turn goes fast, and obviously luck is a factor, though not as big as in Dominion, since you can save cards on your table to assure that you have the right combination of reagents when needed.

Like almost all deckbuilders the interactions between players are minimal, so if that puts you down you may not like it. I have no problems with that and found this game took a refreshing new angle on the deckbuilding mechanics.


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