Kickstarter Preview: Cast the Ritual

Logo courtesy of Cliffside Games

Quick Look:

Designer: Cliff Stornel
Artist: N/A
Publisher: Cliffside Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-5
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 20-60 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Cast the Ritual. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.


Rules and Setup:
If you’re in the mood for a quick, strategic game you can take on the go, settle in for the fantastical Cast the Ritual. Setup is a snap with only card components. Start by shuffling the character, market, and ritual component decks separately. Have each player choose a character, then deal everyone five cards from the market deck. These cards are now their Lab, the hand from which they play cards during their turn and eventually (hopefully) cast the ritual. Cards in the Lab MUST be left in the order they are dealt in. 

Next, deal out the ritual component cards. For the first round there are three ritual components, four for the second round, and five for the third. Once the ritual components are laid out, take the shuffled market deck, flip the top card over to form the trash, and begin the round.

Sabotage opponents and fend off attacks to insure you are the first player with all the ritual cards in the correct order in your hand. The round ends once a player successfully casts the ritual, and the game ends after the completion of three rounds. Order is key in this card game, the first one to cast the ritual gains the most points each round.

Theme and Mechanics:
With a name like Cast the Ritual the theme is apparent from the get-go. Fantasy and occult imagery and lore are incorporated throughout the game. References to pop culture fantasy can also be found within the market deck. The two mechanics the game focuses in on are set collection in order to cast the ritual, and hand management as players have limited space in their Lab and must have components in the correct order to play them.

Cast the Ritual Components, photo by Sarah Johnson

Game Play:
Basic game play begins with a player drawing a card from the top of the market deck, moving a card one place to either side in their Lab, and then choosing one of the following: to draw or buy extra cards, play cards, move another card in their lab, or cast the ritual. All of these options are outlined on a guide card for each player. Once they have finished their elective action, the player must discard their Lab cards down to five plus the number of ritual components in the round (8 for the first, 9 for the second, 10 for the third). After the discard the next player clockwise begins their turn.

A cast ritual, photo by Sarah Johnson
Overall game play is quick, particularly in games with fewer players. Using sabotages is vital to slow down your opponents or boost yourself ahead. In larger games, it’s best to try to maximize the amount of players you can effect with your attacks by chaining spells or using character abilities for bonus effects. Once a ritual component card hits the trash, it’s a free-for-all. Due to the interesting rule that the trash isn’t shuffled at the beginning of each new round, you may begin a round with a ritual component card right on the top of the trash. Grab it fast, even if you already have a copy in hand, to prevent other players from completing the ritual by hoarding resources. Strategy is important, as without taking action the rounds melt away quickly and it is difficult to catch up in points after you fall behind. Beware!

Artwork and Components:
Artwork for the game is simple, yet whimsical. Several cards reference pop culture fantasy, such as the iconic Peter Pan scene being reenacted on the pixie dust card. As this is a preview, only one character card has art, but the rest are sure to follow the same fantastical style as the Artificer. The rest of the market deck and rituals have completed art on sturdy cards.

Cast the Ritual card art, photo by Sarah Johnson

The Good:
Easy to pick up, great to take on the go, the theme of occult and fantasy runs throughout the entire game. This game also has great potential for expansions in the future, working off the mechanics and rule set to cover specific mythos like Lovecraft or Greek mythology.

The Bad:
There are two character cards that have the exact same mechanics. The rules are also extremely vague when it comes to responding to an opponents block of your attack. Can the block be blocked? Can the player attack again or counter the block? These questions need to be resolved for game play to become richer and complex.

Final Thoughts:
A good game that will be made great by a minimal amount of tweaking to the cards and rules. Easy to learn, fun to play, you can take it anywhere.

Players Who Like:
Players who enjoy other set collection games, such as Fluxx, will enjoy Cast the Ritual’s take on the age-old card game mechanic.

I am giving Cast the Ritual 7 out of 10 super meeples.

Check out Cast the Ritual on:

Coming to KICKSTARTER soon…

About the Author:

Sarah Johnson is a freelance writer and board game enthusiast. When she’s not playing games or writing reviews, she enjoys writing articles for food and wine magazines. Sarah lives in rainy Corvallis, Oregon where she studies writing, English, and communications.


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