So, one day the boyfriend and I pop over to a friend’s house for a game day. We get immediately thrown into this wacky looking game called “Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre.” Now, even as a fairly avid board gamer I get a little intimidated when I haven’t had time to process or think about the game ahead of me, but that didn’t happen here. Why? BECAUSE THIS GAME JUST LOOKS AWESOME! Yeah, seriously. The artwork, done by artist Nick Edwards, is VERY Adventure Time and the game play is easy.
Game play is easy. Each player chooses a wizard, which has no affect on the game, it’s just for flavor. Players are then randomly dealt eight spell cards. They play a spell and when the round is over they draw back up to eight cards unless they have obtained a card that says they draw more.
Spell cards come in three types — Left/Beginning (Source), Middle (Quality), and Right/End (Delivery). Players use these card types to create a one, two, or three card spell. There are advantages and disadvantages to playing different lengths of spells, but the general rule is that longer spells are more powerful, but they take longer to cast, and therefore other wizards can attack you first. So, if you really want/need to go first you may want to play a one or two card spell, but if you really want/need to blast the heck out of the other wizards, then you may want to cast a three card spell.
So, spell casting. A one card spell can be created with any of the spell card types (Source, Quality, or Delivery). Two card spells can use any two of the spell cards types, but not two of the same. Example – you could create a spell from a Source and Delivery or Quality and Delivery, but NOT two Delivery cards. Three card spells must use one of each. Anyone with a one card spell would go first, then two card spells, then three. Usually you’ll have at least two people with spells that are the same length – what do you do then? Excellent question. Delivery cards have a number on them that basically serves as the initiative; spell length ties are broken by this number. The person with the highest initiative goes first. If someone plays a spell with no Delivery their initiative is zero. If players have an initiative of the same number, then they roll a die to see who goes first.
Now, I know I said this game was easy, but I’m throwing in a complication – Wild Magic cards. They are a fourth type of spell card (yeah, I know I said there were three, but I lied a bit). These are just wild cards. Say you REALLY want to cast a three card spell, but you don’t have…let’s say, a Source card, but you do have a Wild Magic card. You could play Wild Magic in place of Source, put down your other two cards in normal order, and when it’s your turn, you draw from the draw pile until you find a Source card. You then add it to your spell.
Spell cards also contain glyphs in the bottom corner of the card. Sometimes having all of the same glyph is best, sometimes having different glyphs rocks. Just read the text of your cards and determine what works best in your spell. The main advantage to having the same glyphs is for dice roll. If a card tells you to roll dice, you get to roll as many dice as there are matching glyphs. So, let’s say your Delivery card has a “dark” glyph and it tells you to roll dice to deal damage. If your Quality is also “dark” you’d roll two dice, if all three were “dark,” you could roll three dice. However, if the Quality is the only “dark” glyph in the bunch then you only get to roll one lone die.
Probably the most fun part of the game is reading your spells! You get to say fun stuff like “Whirly-Do’s Explodifying Testikill” or “Walker Time Ranger’s Ballsy Cone of Acid” and you MUST say it in your best wizard voice. Why? Because…EXPLOSIONS! But, no, really, because if you don’t then your peers get to think up a punishment for you and if your friend are like mine…well, you don’t want that.
Wizards can earn treasures from certain cards in the game. These give you buffs or assist in a variety of ways. Some are single use items and other last you the game. Some are pretty badass, and others…meh.
So, you read your spell, do the stuff on the cards, and try to live while other wizards whittle down your health (which starts at 20). Some wizards suck at living though and when they die, they get a Dead Wizard Card. These say a variety of things and sometimes give bonuses to the next mini game and stuff like that. Dead Wizard cards are given to dead wizards when they die and again after each round (a round is when all wizards, except dead wizards, have cast a spell).
Mini games end when there is only one wizard alive – THE LAST WIZARD STANDING. That wizard gets a “Last Wizard Standing” token and bragging rights. All other wizards are then revived and you are set to play another mini game. The full game ends whenever you want and the wizard with the most “Last Wizard Standing” tokens is THE ULTIMATE WIZARD!!
The ease of play, combined with the awesome artwork, and ridiculous sayings on the cards make this a top rated game for me. Anyone can learn the game quickly, and it seems to be a big hit with a variety of people. It definitely makes a great filler game and is pretty good for small parties/gatherings. It plays 2-6 players, although I’d recommend 3-6 for optimum fun.
I got the game about a week ago for myself and have played it at least six times. Although, I can see the charm wearing off eventually (the same way Cards Against Humanity did), expansions will refresh it…so I REALLY hope they crank a couple of those out.
All that said, I give this game a 9.5/10 for now, with the potential to drop a bit (maybe to an 8) after the “new game shine” wears off.