In Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard, the dragon has been slain, leaving behind a treasure over which to fight, and the players are wizards who are fighting to claim the most gold from the dragon's pile.
The players have a shared "spellbook" of cards depicting various well-known D&D spells, and each card shows a unique hand gesture that the player must make to cast, while pointing at another player as the target of the spell. All players choose their spells simultaneously, and the spells can move the wizards closer or farther away from the treasure or affect the game state in other ways as well. It's a game of second-guessing, satisfying successes, and agonizing reversals as each spell cast potentially affects the outcomes of the following ones!
The first player to grab 25 gold pieces from the hoard wins.
You’ve travelled the world to be here. After battling the elements, and a few stray goblins, you’ve slain the dragon and stand before your prize. It’s time to divvy up the loot, but wizards have never been great at sharing. Greedy eyes shift around your party, energy crackles through the air. Get ready. It’s Rock Paper Wizard!
In Rock Paper Wizard, players take on the roles of a team of spell casters, desperate to get the biggest share of the loot. You’ll cast spells to push and pull each towards or away from the hoard. The first Wizard to bank 25 gold pieces claims their prize and is crowned victorious.
Rock Paper Wizard Gameplay
Grab 3 to 6 players, choose your wizards, and line them up in the centre of the board. Players will have a joint pool of spells to choose from, each with their own unique hand gesture and purpose. Once you choose the first player, everybody will mentally prepare the spell they’ll cast, and who they’ll cast it on. After this, just chant ‘Rock Paper Wizard’ and unleash your fury on your unsuspecting friends. Be sure you keep an eye on who has the ‘Potion of Speed’ as they’ll resolve first. Spells can move you forward, move someone else back, steal money, and even trigger random ‘Wild’ magic. At the end of the round, whoever stands closest to the treasure gets the biggest share and is one step closer to victory. Then the round resets. Anyone too far ahead gets burned by the heat of the dying dragon and pushed back. Those at the back feel the cold mountain wind inspire them and push forwards.
Whilst the rules are simple, there’s still a lot to think about in this game. Consider who’s casting first this round, who’s furthest forwards, and the spells they have to choose from. Do you target the player with 24 gold or will they bounce your spell back at you this round? Spells are split into three colours that each affect players in different ways. Red spells are aggressive; launch a Fireball or throw your magic missiles to push others back and move yourself forward. Green spells are sneaky; steal gold from other players and level out the playing field. Finally Blue spells, my favourite, cause chaos. These ‘defensive’ spells cancel others' actions, change their target, and bounce potentially devastating spells back at the caster.
Final Thoughts on Rock Paper Wizard
Rock Paper Wizard is a quick game with a unique, and often hilarious, mechanic. Whilst it is possible to play with 3 players, you’ll likely have a better experience in larger groups. The refreshing and fast-paced play means it can hold its own with any great party game, but the maximum of six players can be quite limiting.
Using common knowledge as a major feature does make for interesting levels of thinking, but it also causes some problems. It is possible to have a bad set of cards and end up with little choice if everyone thinks logically. That’s where ‘wild’ magic comes in; if two players cast the same spell at each other, the spell becomes a random card. It doesn’t always have the desired effect, but when you’re fairly confident you know what everyone will pick and you don’t like that, ‘wild’ magic adds an element of surprise again.
Rock Paper Wizard is easy to teach and anyone can have fun with it. Just pick a gesture and point at someone. This doesn’t mean it’s the most accessible game. Young children in particular can struggle with the complex hand gestures and sometimes honesty or a bit of paper might be needed instead. Winning the game requires a lot of thought too, it depends largely on knowing how other players think. If you’re a fan of bluffs, double bluffs, triple bluffs, and so on then Rock Paper Wizard is for you.