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Wizard's WARdrobe Review


 

Quick Look:

Info:
Designer: Brad Finlayson
Artist: Chris Rallis
Publisher: Game Point 
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 5-20 minutes per player

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
WARNING: This is a preview of Wizard's WARdrobe. I was sent a prototype version of the game, and as such, certain elements I received were unfinished. These details did not influence my review, as they will be modified for the final version. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Wizard's WARdrobe is the tale of apprentice wizards who have broken into the Grand Wizard's wardrobe. Using the myriad of magical relics, you must fight the other apprentices to the death for the powerful loot!


Review:

Rules and Setup:

On a player's turn, they can perform a certain number of actions; this number can fluctuate throughout the game. These actions can consist of drawing new items from the wardrobe piles, discarding items, and casting spells. Play continues clockwise until there's only one person left alive. However, death doesn't necessarily mean you're out of the game - if there's at least two players still alive, you can become a vengeful spirit, learning powerful spells and coming back stronger than ever!

Each game comes with four player mats, a rulebook, 72 Spell cards, 144 Item cards, and three dice (a D4, D8, and D12).

For setup, the Spell cards are placed face-down in the middle and surrounded by the Item cards, which are split into eight piles and also placed face-down. Each player takes a play mat and two Spell cards, and the top card of each item pile is flipped face-up. Then, each player rolls the game dice and adds them up; the highest roll goes first.

Prepare yourself - it's about to become a lot more chaotic.

Theme and Mechanics:

The theme of collecting cards and overwhelming your opponents is a staple of board games, and having it tied to the concept of raiding a Grand Wizard's belongings is a clever twist.

There are a number of different card uses. They can provide armor, additional damage, extra turns, or even allow the player to look inside the decks or other players' hands. More importantly, items can prevent damage from even happening. When a player is attacked, the D8 is rolled; if the number corresponds to an item's location, the item is destroyed instead of the player taking damage. I cannot stress enough the importance of collecting items early on; not only will their abilities be helpful, but preventing damage is crucial.

The play mat contains useful information, but its real function is to hold those sweet items.

The vengeful spirit mechanic is a very important one. In 3- and 4-player games, if you die and there's at least two other people left alive, you can still participate. As a spirit, instead of drawing items, you are able to directly draw Spell cards, as well as cast them. If you're lucky enough to learn a healing spell, or if you have a teammate who will heal you, you return to the game with all the spells you learned at your disposal! Unfortunately, this mechanic is not available in 2-player games, meaning that they'll likely wrap up much faster.

Geared up and ready to go!

Artwork and Components:

As seen above, each play mat has spaces for items, as well as quick rule reminders. While I'm not a big fan of the play mat's design, the cards are where the game shines. The pixel art design is beautiful and evokes the feel of old-school video games. Each card also has a number of symbols designating things like their type, rarity, and use. The variety of cards (over 200 in total) means that no two games will be the same. There's three dice included, as well as a rulebook, which has a good example of gameplay that I recommend checking out.

The game also includes four sets of slider cards in order to track health.

Not all spells deal damage... but beware the ones that do.

A sampling of the Grand Wizard's items. The more items you have equipped, the better.

The Good:

Wizard's WARdrobe provides fun, sometimes fast, and always over-the-top gameplay. It's able to provide an intense game experience without making you want to flip the table over (looking at you, Monopoly). The art style is well-done, the rules are fairly easy to learn, and whether you play a handful of 2-player games, a lengthy game of 4-player free-for-all or 2-on-2, or even try out the solitaire game mode, you're sure to have fun. The developers are planning on adding a few extra game modes as well, so keep an eye out for those!

The Bad:

I kind of wish the player mats matched the cards' design, and I do wish the symbols on the cards didn't take up as much space. The range of power among cards also varies wildly in some cases; in one 2-player game, one player gained a powerful spell and two strong enchantments and won within 6 rounds. This certainly doesn't happen every game, but if earned early on, powerful cards can turn the game in one's favor pretty quickly.

Final Thoughts:

Wizard's WARdrobe is one of those games that balances luck and strategy well, and it provides endless amounts of replayability through its wealth of options and its various modes.

Players Who Like:

Anyone who's a fan of the art and strategy of Boss Monster, this is a game you'll want to check out.


I am giving Wizard's WARdrobe 7 out of 10 super meeples.

7 10

Check out Wizard's WARdrobe on:

        

Wizard's WARdrobe is on Kickstarter between March 2, 2017 and April 2, 2017.

About the Author:
David Jensen has tried his hand at everything from warehouse work and washing dishes to delivering pizza. Now, he's writing reviews and working as an editor for a start-up literary magazine. When he's not busy procrastinating, he's also running tabletop games for friends and family.
Wizard's WARdrobe Review Wizard's WARdrobe Review Reviewed by David J. on March 01, 2017 Rating: 5

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