Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards, the name should tell you everything you need to know, and it does. This game is epic. This game has wars. This game has battle wizards flinging deadly spells in attempt to melt their opponents faces off. All of these combined cause Rumble at Castle Tentakill to slowly change from a deep low growl to a full blown eruption.
When the dust settles you are hoping to be the last wizard standing. Achieve this twice and you will be the victor of this war, just in time for it all to start again.
Warning - Epic Spell Wars is not for children. This game is not even for adults with a weak constitution. Play it if you dare! 15+ age restriction.
The game, components and set-up
Once you have read the first two pages of the Epic Spell Wars rule book (these pages contain no rules) the scene is set. You are a wizard trapped in a never-ending cycle of murder and rebirth, not much has changed since the Duel at mount Skullzfyre. There is constant fighting but the addition of monsters assist in keeping some of the blood from your hands, but not in your adversaries' bodies.
This Epic Spell Wars game consists of the following components:
- 128 Spell Cards (Source, Quality, Delivery and Wild Magic).
- Eight Hero Cards (Your Wizard).
- Six Blood Counters (Special resource).
- 25 Treasure Cards (Additional bonuses).
- 25 Dead Wizard Cards (Bonuses for being bad).
- Seven Last Wizard Standing Tokens (Victory Rewards).
- Six Skull Life Counters (Just a life counter).
- Four Six-Sided Dice (Normal dice, nice black and red color though).
- One Standee (Randomiser and bonus giver/taker).
These components do not make it very clear what the the object of the game is, which is to blast your opponents into tiny bits, or large flaming bits, or just a puddle of goo. The end state of your opponents do not matter, only that there is an end. Once you have caused enough ends to be the last wizard standing, you receive a Last Wizard Standing token, receive two of these and you will be crowned the victor.
To set-up up this Epic Spell Wars game, combine and shuffle all of the spell cards into a single large deck, and shuffle the Treasure and Dead Wizard cards into their own decks. Each player chooses a Hero Card, which are used to keep track of life (HP) and blood (Special Resource). Place the blood counter to one side of the hero card, and the life counter at 20. Place the standee with the decks cards, which should be in reach of all players.
A full game consists of multiple individual rounds, in-which players will earn certain rewards but spend most of the time attempting to stay alive. Once a round is completed, the last wizard standing is rewarded with a last wizard standing token.
At the start of each round, players draw up to eight cards from the main deck (this happens each round, unused cards from previous round stay in your hand). Once you have your cards you will need to identify the types of cards that make up your spell:
- Source - Named after legendary Wizards.
- Quality - Add some creativity to your spell, and provide some idea of what is in store for your target.
- Delivery - This is the climax of your spell, the part that will inflict the most pain of your foes.
Each spell has a maximum of three components, but can contain fewer if the required components were not drawn. The more components, the more flare, death and destruction you will have. Spells are always source, then quality then delivery, but cannot contain more than one type of component.
Playing a spell is completed by placing the components of the spell face down in front of you. Reveal and announce your spell. Use your best epic wizard voice and read from your spell (or memorize for better dramatic effect), Source then Quality then Delivery. Define house rules for any wizard that fails to announce the spell before starting to resolving it.
Resolve the spell by completing the actions indicated on each component, starting with Source then Quality then Delivery. Each spell component has a magic type, represented by a word and glyph on each card. These types are as follows:
- Arcane - Hurt enemies, gain treasure.
- Dark - This is never good for any of the parties involved. Also monsters.
- Elemental - Fire, some more fire, some screams and then some more fire. Ends with laughter, hopefully yours.
- Illusion - Can you see through your own spell? Pain, treasure or both?
- Primal - Healing damage, dealing damage, only one letter difference, but the wounds are deep.
Power rolls are performed by counting the number of elements that match the deliver component of the spell, matching the same type is usually better. Blood markers are a special resource gained for completing certain actions and can be spent when a card allows you to do so.
Wild magic cards can be added to replace components of a spell that you might not have and, upon announcing, the spell cards are drawn from the main deck until a matching component is located, then added to the spell. Only read the name of your spell once wild magic has been resolved.
Treasures are gained for various interactions on the cards and can be used as each treasure card indicates.
The dead wizard cards are given to wizards who died in a round. All other cards are discarded. Once a new round starts, the dead wizard cards will provide bonuses to help your sorry excuse for a wizard fair slightly better this time around. Dead wizard cards are drawn each new round that you're are dead and there are other wizards alive and being epic.
The standee starts in a neutral position and provides bonuses during the game, and cards allow you to take or give the standee to different players. At the end of each round you gain one blood if you have the standee, if you slay a foe with the standee you take it. At the start of a new match the standee is returned to neutral position.
Armed with all of this information you are ready unleash your fury and wrath upon you foes! Bathe in the blood of all who oppose you!
Final Thoughts on Epic Spell Wars
Epic Spell Wars is a fun game that initially feels a little bit rule-heavy. As you gain an understanding of the general game flow it becomes significantly more fun and you can start to appreciate the flavour of the game. You will feel like a five-year-old with your hand in the cookie jar, as if you are doing something wrong, but the result feels fantastic.
This is always a great start to a game evening, some fun without too much thinking. If time is limited, quick match variants can reduce the time required to complete games, and additional house rules can increase or reduce the time it takes to play.
The cards are excellent quality but some of the additional components feel a like they could be improved.