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Forged In Fire review
Get Your Wings (Reviews)
Updated: Friday, Jun 6, 2014
Mage Wars: Forged in Fire
Year 2014
Age Range 14+
# of Players 2-2
Rules Comprehension
Replay Value
Price / Value
Fun Factor*
Weighted Score

Today I’ll be taking a look at Forged In Fire, an expansion to Arcane Wonders’ flagship game, Mage Wars. The Forged In Fire expansion for Mage Wars introduces alternate versions of the warlord and warlock mages, as well as a few other surprises to kindle your interest. Will this expansion spark your imagination, or go up in smoke? Let’s find out if Forged In Fire gets its wings!

Forged In Fire introduces a dwarven warlord. After the dwarves had taken their beard growing technology as far as they could, they moved on to mastering runesmithing. When the warlord casts a piece of equipment, he can spend an additional mana to assign a rune to it. Runes improve equipment, and there’s five different ones at his disposal:

  • The Rune of Fortification, which makes armor better.
  • The Rune Of Power reduces the cost to use the equipment by 1 mana.
  • The Rune Of Precision gives equipment piercing +1.
  • The Rune of Reforging gives a piece of equipment the cantrip ability (back to spellbook instead of discard pile if destroyed).
  • The Rune of Shielding adds +2 dice to a defense roll.

But the warlord isn’t just about magic jewelry. He also has a ton of soldiers at his disposal. He can improve the performance of his soldiers in a number of ways. He can issue battle orders to rally his troops, inspiring them to better incinerate the enemy. His fancytime General’s Signet Ring allows him to pay 1 mana less when casting a soldier, Flank Attack greatly increases the amount of damage taken when a target is attacked by a second soldier in the same turn, Altar of Carnage channels mana for you when one of your soldiers damages an enemy, and Conquer allows your soldiers to just take over a conjuration and put it back into play under your control. Proving the ancient dwarven motto: “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is also mine.”

And who are these soldiers that the warlord has at his disposal? Let’s meet them. Forged In Fire adds several new ones for you to command, including:

  • The Asyran Defender (*cough* cannon fodder).
  • Anvil Throne Crossboman, who has a piercing ranged attack.
  • A big, mean, charging Bloodcrag Minotaur.
  • The devious Goblin Alchemist can burn, corrode and rot just about anything that stands in his way.
  • Gurmash, Orc Sergeant, can also issue your battle orders on your behalf.
  • Otto Kronig, Master Engineer can actually add armor to your conjurations on the field.

That’s quite a few tricks that the warlord has up his sleeve. But we’re not done building his military industrial complex just yet! The soldiers provide the military part, but what about the industrial portion of the equation?

The warlord has access to several new outposts, which he’ll certainly want to get out onto the battlefield because, if you get enough of them, then you can use the Altar of Domination to summon the intimidating statue of Talos. A statue? Ah, but this is no ordinary pigeon perching public work. The statue of Talos is an animated, nigh-unstoppable juggernaut with 6 attack and reach. And did I mention he comes into play auto-magically for free and ready to be used that same turn? Just remember to have him wipe his feet before he comes into your house, so he doesn’t track the enemies he’s stomped all over your carpet.

Whereas the warlord is all about raising an army of soldiers, building efficient complex of outposts and outfitting oneself in magical ornaments, the warlock is about burning it all down. All of it. Then broiling the leftover bits. Everything about this warlock is geared towards giving targets the burn condition. But not only that, then using those burn conditions to scorch you further. After all, what’s a little injury without some insult?

For example, the equipment Adramelech’s Torment allows you to place burn conditions directly on targets, as does the incantation Ignite. The enchantment Adremelech’s Touch makes burn conditions more difficult to remove, and Combustion takes all those burn conditions that have been stacking up on a target, and makes them explode in a massive, unavoidable fireball.

But wait, the warlock’s not done yet, things are about to get even crispier.

The warlock is also designed to manipulate all those burn conditions she’s caused to her advantage.The Bloodfire Helmet increases her minions’ attack against targets with burn conditions, the Wildfire Imp can teleport directly to a zone that contains an object with a burn condition, and the warlock herself can simply move burn conditions from one target to another of her choosing. In summary, the warlock will burn you, and burn you, and burn you until you are dead.

Finally, not to be outdone by the warlord’s giant kickpunching statue of doom, the warlock adds a few special guests of her own to the mix. There’s:

  • Cerberus, who can gain triplestrike when on guard,
  • Sersiryx, Imp Familiar, who can can cast fire attacks and curse enchantments on your behalf,
  • and, arguably, the crowd favorite from this set, Sardonyx, a giant skeletal dragon with 31 hit points and more ways to inflict damage than horde of starving grizzly bears riding giant killer bees at a honey factory. He’s big, mean, and is out to hurt everybody, including the mage that casts it.

So there’s an overview of some of the cards included in the Forged In Fire expansion for Mage Wars. Now, I didn’t get too excited back when the Conquest of Kumanjaro expansion came out, which introduced alternate versions of the priest and beast master. I felt it had a bit of a “been there, done that” feel. But the tactical options introduced in Forged In Fire got me a lot more excited. Between the two expansions, I’d recommend this one over Conquest of Kumanjaro.

If I had to offer some constructive criticism about Forged In Fire, it would be that my only real complaint about the expansion is the same one I've had about Mage Wars since the beginning. And that’s that some of the keyword effects can seem counterintuitive.

For example, compare Bloodcrag Minotaur has Charge +2 and Tough -2 traits. Both actually beneficial to the creature. Compare to Otto Kronig, Master Engineer’s, Lightning +2 attribute, which is actually detrimental, causing two additional dice to be rolled when lightning-based attacks are used against him.

While my opponent and I were constructing our decks, there were several times that we had to look up a card’s effects to find out whether it was beneficial or detrimental. It isn’t always obvious, and you won’t know unless you either stop and look up the keyword or have memorized them all.

For what it’s worth, I've always thought that printing detrimental effects in red text would be a simple way to communicate that they’re a weakness. I don’t know how feasible that would be. But, anyway, that’s my main beef with the game, it’s a minor one, and it’s with Mage Wars in general, not specific to the Forged In Fire expansion.

As for Forged In Fire, if you enjoy Mage Wars, then I recommend it. The satisfaction you’ll feel from getting Talos or Sardonix onto the playing field is well worth the price of admission.

So, Forged In Fire definitely gets its wings.

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