Madness? This. Is. Mt. Skullfire!
What is Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards you might ask? Well it’s a game that involves some cards, life counters, some dice, and a bunch of wiz biz. What’s the big deal about all that you might ask? You might say “Jerry, but I already have games with all of those elements in them!” The difference is this, to put plainly: this game is probably more fun. Also Epic Spell Wars most certainly contains 300% more crazy shit than other leading games. Do other games involve gore-nado’s or testikills? Yeah that’s right, you’ll probably get squashed by a giant testicle in this game, and earn magical loot like Lady Luck’s Brassiere. Interested? Read on!
What The Fluff?!
Death Fairy’s Maggoty Lightning Bolt? Sounds interesting. Beard O’ Blasty’s Infernotastic Cone of Acid? Devastating! Walker Time Ranger’s Disco Mirrored Brain Suck? Wait, what the hell is going on here? Yes these are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all spells you can construct within ESWotBW. The gameplay is really basic – construct spells to obliterate your foes with, and hope to be the last wizard standing. Become the last wizard standing twice, and you win the game!
Spells in the game have 3 components: a source, quality, and delivery which are used to build your spell each round. Everyone takes their turn simultaneously and lays out a spell they’ve constructed from their hand of 8 cards while pronouncing it in their best wizard voice! It is up to your group to make up a penalty for players not speaking in wizardly tones. Each player picks one of the 8 wizard personas to take on during gameplay, which are illustrated on a card along side a counter to keep track of your life total. The wizard players pick is purely cosmetic and has no effect other than the amount of laughter that takes place when announcing oneself.
Millions of Spell Combinations! Okay, Maybe Just Thousands…
Each of the three components add to the mechanics and resolution of the spells you cast. The source of a spell is basically the name of the wizard casting it (which is specified by the card itself, or whichever of the 8 wizards you happen to be playing) and usually adds mild or random effects, while the quality is a wacky adjective that describes the spell and adds damage or other benefits such as spiky, mysterious, or ballsy. Finally, the delivery of a spell is the big whizz-bang chaotic ending that usually does the most damage and involves rolling a few dice. Deliveries are usually something brutal like vorpal trap or exorcism but also delve into heinously strange territory with cards like meatier swarm or phantasmagoons.
When you chain 3 spell elements together, all of the artwork on the cards connects and you wind up with something awesome like this:
You don’t always have to play all 3 parts of a spell though, and you might not always be able to. When you announce your spell you fill in the gaps with your wizard name, made up adjectives and delivery names. Players who play smaller spells act first than those who’ve channeled up longer ones, players who tie either go by initiative order (indicated on the card) or a good old-fashioned roll off to determine who goes first. This has both its advantages and disadvantages which adds a good dose of strategy to the pure chaos of the game.
If you’re gonna die, better to die first! The sooner you’re out of the game, the sooner you’ll be scoring Dead Wizard cards to help you out in the next match when you come back for another harrowing round of ridiculous spells and cartoony carnage. Most of all the dead wizard cards give you benefits like returning with treasure, increased health, and bonus die rolls. A few of the dead wizard cards do actually say “You’re dead. Live with it.” which is a nice touch.
Sometimes you get loot, all of the time that loot is absurd and awesome. Sometimes other wizards will steal your treasure, sometimes you’ll blast them into a pink mist and get it back! Sometimes the Phister Cannon or the Wand of “Let’s Get This Shit Over With” really come in handy. Treasure is earned when a card tells you that you’ve earned it and you draw from the pile of treasure cards, they provide all sorts of bonuses and situational effects, along with a few gambles. The only downside to treasure is that if you acquire a ton of it, you may have a hard time keeping track of all its awesomeness!
The Game, The Goods
Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards is insanely fun to play, and extremely easy to jump into. Once you play a single hand the whole rest of the game should immediately click for most people, for those who don’t grasp it by that first round…well you’ll have one extra turn of blowing them to smithereens before they return the favor.
Games can last anywhere from half an hour to a couple of hours, depending on the size, luck, strategy, and experience levels of everyone playing. Not saying that the game has a steep learning curve, but if you’ve played a few games you’ll have a better idea as how to eliminate the other wizards with a bit more efficiency. The randomness of the game keeps things really interesting at all times though.
The artwork for this game was done by the amazing Nick Edwards who’s art style for these was so similar to Pendleton Ward’s I thought that the Adventure Time creator was involved. I was mistaken but not disappointed by any means. The packaging, printing, and cards themselves are all very high production value, I’ve played about 5 full games now with zero wear & tear on the cards. The game even comes with a cardboard standup of Mt. Skullfyre for flavor!
Now Go Melt Some Faces!
How many times have I used the word awesome in this review? Probably one too many. In case you haven’t picked up on this yet – I highly recommend this game. It’s great for just about anyone, devoted gamers and casuals alike – even people who don’t normally play tabletop games will have a blast with ESWotBW. Much laughter is sure to ensue, many body parts are sure to fly, and only the greatest battle wizard shall survive!
[info_box] If you are considering grabbing a copy of the game you can pick it up on Amazon for $25 with free shipping. If you us my link I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for reading![/info_box]