Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards Duel at my Skullzfyre is a card-based elimination style game. Players take on the role of their chosen Battle Wizard. Then craft spells using cards in their hand to attack and knock out the other players. Our personal favourite wizards are “Sir Kitty Purrrington: The Cuddle Wizard”. Also, “Granny Flufferbutter: The Sweetest Witch” . No one suspects kitties and grannies to be the harbinger of their arcane destruction! *Cue evil laugh*
Epic Spell Wars was created by Cory Jones and the incredible art was produced by Nick Edwards. The game is 2-6 players (so says the box, but you can stretch this up to 8 without too much difficulty, especially if you have the expansions.) Best played by people with a good sense of humour and most importantly. Understanding that when the spells stop flying there will only be one Ultimate Battle Wizard. If you’ve ever played Munchkin, the game has a very similar spirit of competition as both games reward aggressive playstyles. Ultimately, it promotes a fun contest between friends.
We have played 2 player games and even tried with 10 people. We recommend the best number is 4-6 for a decent game length and to really appreciate the nature of many of the spells. For example, the ‘Attackalanche’ and ‘Boulder-iffic’ cards are best used against as many players as possible.
Wielding The Arcane
Winning Epic Spell Wars is not about points. It is about wiping out your opponents. Each player takes it in turns to deal out the damage with the frankly, baffling variety of spell combinations available. The winner of each round is the last wizard standing. The game rules state the first wizard to win two rounds is the victor. You can play as many or as few rounds as you like, making Epic Spell Wars versatile enough to fit any time frame.
Want to have an all-day tournament? Fill your boots, make Zeus proud! Just try not to get Dorito dust on the card. Each game of Epic Spell Wars begins with players choosing their wizard from the line-up. Each wizard design is unique and has a beautifully rendered Hero Card. Though, the choice is purely a cosmetic one. And this feels like a missed opportunity to add another dimension to the game. Without any individual abilities or powers, the Battle Wizards are all art and no substance really. Once you have chosen your champion, players then draw eight initial cards from a central deck, and it is from these cards that they build their spells.
About The Cards
The cards (and the many, many spells that can be crafted with them) make up the skeleton, meat, and literal blood of Epic Spell Wars. A spell can consist of up to three component cards. A Source, a Quality, and a Delivery. Any combination of these can be in your spell but only one of each type. When we first played, it seemed so obvious that more components we add would automatically produce a stronger attack.
But more seasoned players will tell you that less is often more in Epic Spell Wars. For example, playing fewer cards means you could act sooner and put your enemy down before they even raise their wand! We don’t want to give everything away. This is a review rather than a play through but trust us when we say that the more you play this game, the more you will realise the nuances, and the better wizard you will become, Harry!
Despite being a card game, the system limits the reliance on luck of the draw as any combination of sources. Quality and delivery can be potentially devastating to opponents. That said, of course, luck is always an aspect of any card-based game. A round in Epic Spell Wars can be rather tricky if you draw a poor starting hand, which means you will struggle to field any decent attacks and you may even be eliminated before your first turn. You’re probably thinking “sounds like there might be a balancing issue” and you would be right.
The Magical Fury
If one wizard gets lucky and draws the right combination of cards, they can unleash a magical fury that is honestly just overpowered. It is rare, but it really sucks the fun out of a game if you are on the receiving end of a hammering and do not even have the chance to respond before the next wizard eliminates you. Usually, victory is often hard-won and there is rarely a runaway winner, making the tension last for the entire round.
This also highlights a different issue; Epic Spell Wars can suffer from excess idle time if you are the first wizard knocked out, as a round can go on for a while. Sadly, there is nothing to keep defeated players occupied whilst they wait for the round to end. However, in Epic Spell Wars, death is not the end. Every time your wizard is killed, you will receive a boon in the form of a “dead wizard card” which can potentially beef you up for the next round and turn the tide in your favour.
Furthermore, at the end of each round, the game completely resets. All cards are discarded, all treasure is lost and only the dead wizard cards remain. So, in this way, the winner of the round is actually at a disadvantage at the start of the next. It does not fully succeed, but certainly helps. Unlike Risk, for example, where it can be very tricky to break a losing streak, Epic Spell Wars gives losing players a really fair chance to reverse their fortunes.
Magic For Mature Audiences
The art style in Epic Spell Wars reminds us of ‘Adventure Time’ but with added gore which serves to make it stunningly unsettling, in a good way. Some wizards are charming, others, less so. The juxtaposition between a flaming skull flying through a volcano and a Princess riding over a rainbow on her ‘Fury-corn’ is one example. But where the game truly stands above the crowd is in its sense of humour. We’ve all seen games claiming to be funny and often miss the mark. Epic Spell Wars absolutely nails it and the comedy is tongue-in-cheek without being overtly offensive.
The instructions have more than a few strong words, the art on many of the cards is graphic. The names of some spells make Epic Spell Wars fall well outside of the “family game” category. A more mature audience will understand it is for appropriate effect and not swearing for the sake of it.
We are not talking “Cards Against Humanity” levels of rudeness but the game contains adult themes. However, if you do not like harsh language, double engenders, or cartoon gore, this is probably not the game for you. Personally, we love that stuff, and we enjoy the style of this game.
Wizard’s Apprentice Ione
We always like to get the opinion of a first-time player. Our guest for Epic Spell Wars was Ione and her lasting quote was “this is a boy’s game really, isn’t it?” Which is quite telling. She enjoyed the versatility of the game. That the different types of spells and their combinations kept the play interesting. Also, the game was so easy to learn that she was confident in her own abilities by the third spell which she says made the game really accessible and therefore enjoyable. “A game where a new player can almost immediately hold their own against seasoned players is a fun game!”
Source, Quality & Delivery
Dom’s final thought on Epic Spell Wars is that it makes a fantastic gateway game into strategic card games. It is easy to learn and fun to teach to others.
Andy’s takeaway impression is how well balanced the luck and skill are in the game. As Ione found, a brand-new player to the game has a really solid chance of taking out a handsome, well-spoken, blog-writing veteran. This has the double benefit of making the game accessible for new players whilst keeping the challenge for those who have played before.
We have played Epic Spell Wars so many times. Despite some flaws, the game will provide that one thing all games should, fun. We both would strongly suggest you consider adding Epic Spell Wars of The Battle Wizards to your collection.