Adrenaline arrived to much fanfare, hailed as a board version of a video game. It is a deliciously streamlined version of a shooter game that plays like a quasi area control game as you battle to do the most damage to your opponents. In many ways Wiz-War creates the feelings of video games too, albeit in a more complex way.
Set in a magical maze, Wiz-War has 2-4 players (five with the Malefic Curses expansion) battle for wizarding supremacy by either killing their opponents or capturing their treasure and returning it to their starting spawn. The game comes with a wealth of cards, card board tokens and a few miniatures for good measure.
The rule book seems as though it was an ancient society of wizards wrote it in runic symbols. It isn't structured very well and bombards you with small fiddly rules right from the off. This is probably my biggest criticism of Wiz-War, as the game is chaotic fun and is dragged down by this rule slog.
Cards are separated into different types of magic, like alchemy, mentalism and elemental, some of these decks are chosen to create your spell deck. This adds a lot of variety to the game as even if you chose to use all the decks in some sort of mega game you won't see all the cards for awhile!
It's Wingardium Leviosa...
Of course rules are one thing, but how the game actually plays is entirely another. Wiz-War is great if, and it's a big if, you like crazy chaotic games. The best games of Wiz-War are the ones where you forget the minutia of the rules and just do what makes common sense. Then the game erupts in laughter as you manipulate and jinx everything from yourself to the maze to the other wizards.
Turn yourself into a creature with different powers, break holes through walls, fire electricity at anything that moves. You feel like a slightly unhinged version of Dumbledore trapped in that maze from one of those books.
The game employs a 'charge' system for some cards, meaning you need to give them an amount of energy that decreases by one on each of your turns. This always happens at the beginning of your turn, then you are allowed to move and cast spells, unless you are stunned - in which case you do only one. You discard and draw sticking to the hand size of seven, including any spells currently with energy tokens on them.
Moving around is easy and you can even bust through any walls which are impeding your progress, or turn into a creature that gets more movement, or just change the whole lay out of the maze.
You're a Wizard Harry!
Wiz-War is a game that really draws me into the theme. I feel like a wizard charging around in a frantic fashion. It's by no means perfect, not really shining at less than three players, and not being the most accessible of games.
This is a game for people who like to mess with each other, rather than quietly getting on with their own thing. Yet for sheer fun it's hard to beat. It really feels like the full range of imaginable spells are available to you, and despite the luck of the draw this creates I'll never turn a game down.
There are two expansions available, one that adds summonable creatures and two other spell sets, and another that adds a fifth player and curses. They can be slightly difficult to get hold off but add more chaos should you enjoy the game.