[Tuesday Night Board Games] Warring Wizards and Arthurian Knights

I got to play two titles new to me this week at Quarterstaff Games: Wiz-War and Camelot Legends.

Andrew considers the board while Alex explains the rules of the game.

Wiz-War is, I have gathered over the years without doing any outright research, a long-lasting game involving wizards at war with each other. Seriously, that’s about it, in addition to it’s a game that inspired a great deal of modification and improvements among the player base. One of the continually recurring events at Carnage in the fall is a Wiz-War game using some really impressive three dimensional dungeon pieces. It’s one of those games you sign up for, hoping against hope to get in.

So when Alex announced he’d dug his copy out of storage, I was first in line to play. Amusingly, I was also first in line to get hosed. Wiz-War, I discovered, is mostly about having a good laugh at the expense of others and yourself. Here’s the essential pitch: wizards are running around a dungeon riddled with spatial warps, trying to steal treasure to deposit on their starting spot. Along the way, one casts spells, defends against other spells if possible and generally run amok making life difficult for others.

So that’s how my wizard got frozen on his first turn, saw his entire sector of dungeon teleported to the other end of the board and then had an amplified six turn No Spell cast on him shortly thereafter. That kind of shot my ability to really do anything for the rest of the game, especially considering the dungeon sector was placed in such a way as to make it a long damn walk anywhere useful.

Once this state of affairs developed, I spent the rest of the game watching everyone wreak and suffer mayhem while I puttered around my corner of the dungeon. It didn’t help that I missed the part of the explanation where wizards go for other people’s treasure. I heard it only as “get two pieces of treasure.”

With these pieces of knowledge in mind, I think I would be better prepared for more games of Wiz-War, though I don’t know if I’ll ever quite ken it. “Take that!” games never quite mesh with my brain. Hex Hex is about as complicated as I can get before I just wind up needlessly hoarding cards and forgetting to play something of useful because I’m saving it for “later.” It’s a habit that needs breaking.

Alex and Nonny raise and dispatch companies of chivalrous knights.

Camelot Legends was a Z-Man Games offering Brennan had on hand. We opted to play the really basic introductory version. It wound up being so basic, in fact, the game felt a bit empty, with many wrinkles to liven things up.

Players place cards representing characters from the Arthurian story cycles in one of three locations: Camelot, Cornwall and the Perilous Forest. The goal is to complete events that appear in the locations by assembling a company there whose relevant qualities — of which there are six, with names like Combat, Diplomacy, Adventure and Chivalry — meet or exceed a specified target number. For example, Assassination is an event that plays in Cornwall. To complete the event, scoring points and triggering a special ability on the event card, a player has to assemble a company of no more than six characters with eighteen points of Cunning among them. It’s a steep goal, but it’s worth six victory points.

The art on the cards is gorgeous and the basic game play is very easy to pick up, but it’s also really basic, which is to be expected from something the rule booklet labels as such. I just didn’t realize it was going to be that basic. We had a couple turns at the end of the game where, since the character and events deck had run out, there was nothing to do but wait as people assembled companies to take the final remaining events in play.

Next time, we’ll have to give the standard rules a try. That adds more cards in, and it seems like it includes a new phase in the turn, that involves bidding on something. Or maybe bidding’s part of basic play and we just ignored that part. Either way, I’m not sure if I want to have to use up my precious character cards in something that’s not going to contribute to completing an event.

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3 thoughts on “[Tuesday Night Board Games] Warring Wizards and Arthurian Knights

  1. Yeah, Wiz-War is hard core old school play. I don’t really have the temperament for the game and try to pass on it when I can. The last time we played Annick, inadvertently, knocked me out of the game on turn 2… the rest of it lasted at least another half hour, which sucked.

    • That’s pretty much what happened to me. I could definitely get into Wiz-War if getting knocked out of play didn’t become a running trend for a particular person — namely me — but it’s the nature of the game that one never knows.

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