Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre
This weekend a great friend was totally awesome and decided to come up for an impromptu visit. Outside of the general fun and great visit, we had the opportunity to play one of the card games that he brought with him. The title is Epic Spell Wars of the Battlewizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre, yeah, really. We played the game with six people and the game played extremely quickly. Before I jump into the discussion of the rules, and there are barely any rules really, I want to feature the splash text on the box.
Did you know that magical wizards are battling to the death … and beyond … right now!? “Why battle?” you might ask. “What have I got to prove, magic man?” Only who’s the most awesomely powerful battle wizard in the entire realm, that’s what! As a Battle Wizard, you’ll put together up to three spell components to craft millions of spell combos*. Your spells might kick ass, or they could totally blow — it’s up to you to master the magic. You will unleash massive damage on the faces of your wizard rivals in a no-holds-barred, all-out burn-down to be the last Battle Wizard standing. And it doesn’t stop there! Powerful magic items bring on a whole new level of bloody carnage as you and your mighty wizard opponents tear each other limb from limb in an orgy of killing! Do you have what it takes to use epic spells in a war at Mt. Skullzfyre? Will YOU be the Ultimate Battle Wizard!?!
*Not actually millions of combos … but like thousands or more, maybe.
That is only the tip of the iceberg when you take into account the story of the world that is inside the instruction manual. The story is best read aloud, as a word of advice.
The quick synopsis is that this is a game that lets you participate in 80’s metal fantasy themed music videos.
The set up of the game is simple. Each player selects a battlewizard to play. Some examples are Princess Holiday and her Furicorn, Fey Ticklebottom, Lady Lazervere of the Space Kingdom, and many others. Everyone begins with 20 life, and the goal is to be the Last Wizard Standing. If you are the Last Wizard Standing, you get a Last Wizard Standing token. The game is over once one player has received two Last Wizard Standing tokens. Spells decrease or increase the life of the players, and each round consists of every player playing a spell.
In the first round, every player should have 8 cards. Every subsequent round, players draw up to 8 cards, and may discard any remaining cards they have if they wish, but must declare it prior to drawing any cards. Things that modify the cards drawn occur after everyone has drawn cards. So if you have something that lets you draw more cards, you do it after everyone has gone up to 8. If you run out of cards, you reshuffle the discard pile and keep on keepin’ on.
There are three stacks of cards: spells, Dead Wizard Cards, and Treasure Cards. Treasures are only gained through the Spells or Dead Wizard Cards. Dead Wizard Cards are drawn when you die. In theory this is to weight your chances of winning in the next round, but it also serves to keep you involved in the game. You draw one Dead Wizard Cards when you die, and then another Dead Wizard Card for each round that starts and you are still dead. To get some perspective, I don’t think anyone drew more than three Dead Wizard Cards during any one game. I think that was also the longest game at three total rounds. Games are crazy fast. Dead Wizard Cards might modify your life at the start of the next game, do nothing, give you treasure, raise your initiative and so forth. It’s pretty cool.
Now, the spells are the meat of the game. Everyone constructs a spell for their turn. Once everyone has constructed a spell, the game begins. Spells may consist of 1-3 cards. Each spell may have one source (denoted by an S in the corner), one quality (denoted by a Q in the corner) and one delivery (denoted by a D in the corner). The spells are read from left to right, and each part of the spell contains a Spell Glyph, such as primal, arcane, elemental or dark and so forth. For each Glyph that matches another Glyph, you roll one additional die when you need to roll dice. The effect bands are usually 1-4, 5-9, and 10+, so the more dice the better, but the individual spells you construct might reward you for mismatching, so take it in stride and read the cards to figure it out.
Now, MOST delivery spell cards also have a number. This is your initiative. If you have the highest number, you go first. However, you do not HAVE to have one of each type when you create a spell, and you might only have two cards. If you have less than three cards, you go before those people with three cards. If you and another player both have two cards, you look to see if anyone has an initiative, initiative always goes before no initiative, and if you die, roll off and decide on who will go first with the dice rolls. To complicate things a little, you have Wild Magic cards. Wild Magic cards will substitute for any single spell portion. You then just draw cards until you first match the spell portion and that spell portion then replaces the Wild Magic Card. If used for a delivery, Wild Magic gives you 0 initiative, so just keep that in mind.
Some spell cards allow you to keep growing your spell, so while you start with a max of three spell portions, you might end up with a total of eleven at times. It’s rare, but oh man! The spell cards are very descriptive, so it’s all very easy to resolve. Treasures that add bonuses to spells are always just a flat add unless otherwise noted. Spells generally target randomly, based on direction, highest (Strongest) life totals, or lowest (Weakest) life totals. Some target everyone, hooray! Spells will even target the caster from time to time, so be aware.
I won the game overall, but it took six games total. That should tell you that the game is pretty balanced and fun. All six of us were laughing the entire time and no one was ever bummed when they lost. It really just didn’t matter. As a bonus, the game comes with a stand up replica of Mt. Skullzfyre, which serves no purpose at all other than to look totally rad in the middle of your table.
This is a great party game, with low to no barrier of entry and the speed allows you to quickly move along and try a variety of things. I would give the game a solid four smiley faces, and it’s only not five because it is definitely a very flavorful game that has a style that is simply not for everyone.