Welcome to another edition of A Roll of The Dice reviews, with your game master, ME! This week I wanted to do an awesome amazing review of the newest addition to my game collection. One which I first saw on Wil Wheatons TableTop, and knew I just had to get my hands on. This game is Epic Spell Wars, Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre!
This game, from start to finish, is one of the more fun games I may have ever played, all while being one of the most random. I struggled with what to properly rate this game, but after talking it out with the other players, I felt we did it justice.
Who needs rules in a game about wiping each other off of the face of the earth? Well apparently we do, so let’s go over a few of the basic rules. Honestly, the rules themselves give the game even more of an amazingly random feel.
When you open the box, the first thing you see is the rule book. I will go over this a bit more in the design rating, for now we will just talk about the rules.
Each person is given a spell caster (we choose to do it random as it makes no difference which one you end up with) and the goal is to win the duelling tournament twice. This means you must be the last wizard standing in two separate games. Not in a row, as that would be just mean. In order to win, you must drain each of the other players life from the starting twenty, to the deadly zero. This is done in a few ways.
The MAIN rule, which must be followed or you will suffer the consequences of whatever the other wizards come up with is as follows. You MUST read out the full spell name BEFORE you start doing any of the spell features. If you do not, the rulebook states that the other wizards make up a punishment together. From the spell fizzling, to the player losing life. This is the only rule it even tells you to say once, then do not repeat it!!!
Turn Order : Each spell card has one of the five components (Elemental, Death, Etc) which can be combined in anyway to make a spell. The spell consists of three cards (Source, Quality, and Delivery) which is the start, middle, and ending of the spell. You may make a two card spell if you are missing one of the three sections, but must still fill in the name (make it up) of the missing spell piece.
The turn order starts with the players whose spells are made up of only one component will go first, two components will be second, and all three will go third. Wait, but what happens if more than one person used the same amount of components? What will we do in that super rare occurrence? Well, we will start by all of the people with the same amount of components flipping your Delivery card, and whoever has the highest number located on that card will go first. Honestly the explanation makes it sound super complicated, even in the book, but it is one of the easier ideas of the game.
Then, you each take turns following the instructions to nuke one another until the round is over. Your hand is always eight cards, so regardless of the amount of cards you use, you will still redraw back to eight. We had one spell that ended up almost cleaning out a hand, as some spell parts can cascade, which gets completely insane… but fun!
There you have it, all the rules are out of the way. Why don’t we now focus on the good, the bad, and the super not so average!
REPLAY VALUE – 10
This is one of those games that has far too many dynamics to be able to understand it all in one play. We ended up playing it several times in a row, and were never bored because of the near impossible to count (we tried) number of spell combinations. Add that to the item cards, and the graveyard cards as well, and you have too many combinations of random outcomes. It honestly is mind boggling for such a basic game.
I will challenge anyone who says they have played this game and had everything play out the exact same way. I’ve now watched it played four times, and played it five times, and never has it ended up the same. Not once.
Finally it is also the character selection that adds to the replay value. Do you want to be a certain wizard or do you want to try them all? I love the looks of them, and each one makes me laugh. That is worth trying each of them even though it makes no difference to the game.
FUN FACTOR – 10
This is, by far, one of the most fun games I have ever played in my life. I say this knowing that I have played many a game, and have a lot of experience with many different types of games. This is the only one that has been able to keep my attention one hundred percent of the time I was playing. None of us wanted to look away from the table, because we feared we would miss something even cooler than the last move that was made, and to be honest if we had turned away, we would have.
The game starts being fun by the rulebook, which is just crass, over the top, and a perfect explanation of the game. The opening story goes balls to the wall, with cursing, amazing dynamics, and using such terminology that it would make a baby blush. Honestly, I would have bought this game just to read that booklet. No ragrets!
Next you get to see all of the cool moves that can be made, by mixing spells and amazing dialogue, it captures you. You have to play along, or you feel silly for playing it. Make your voice act it out, have fun with the spell titles, and even tossing popcorn across the table (it was one time) will add to the fun.
There is honestly too much to name about this game in this column, so I will leave it here. Seriously, it is amazing.
DESIGN – 10 (Turn it up to 11)
The work that went into this game is absolutely outstanding. I do not even have words to properly describe the smiles and laughs you will get out of playing this. I would normally make some up, but I did far too much of that in the games we played.
To start off, the first thing you see is the box art. It is full, it is lively, and it is eye catching. It is everything you want it to be when picking up a game. It catches your eye, and really shows you exactly what the game is about, which is a bunch of people killing each other to climb a bloody skull mountain.
Next is the rule book, which I did already go over a bit. The opening to the book is one of the greatest things I have ever read in a game, just because of how over the top it is. The overall look and feel of the book is fun, and gory, which is an amazing combination.
Thirdly is the characters, and the character artwork. Each character has their own design, and none of them look even similar to another one. The names of the characters are really catchy (Krazztar the Blood’O’mancer, Fey Ticklebottom the Enchanter, etc) and their individual character cards are really fun to play with/look at.
Lastly we have the cards themselves, mainly the spells. The spells, for lack of a more suitable term, are some of the most brilliantly designed pieces of awesome that has ever been seen by human eyes. No seriously, every card fits in with another, and they create some of the funniest situational humour I have ever had the joy of seeing or playing with. They were well thought out, and extremely well designed. Kudos to the creators for making one of the best designs I have ever seen in a game.
If you have to choose one game this year, you should choose this one. It is worth its weight in diamonds, as it is one of the most explosively fun times you will have playing a game. This will have you laughing, you will be excited, exhilarated, and overall amazed at how fun this is.
This is by far the best time I have ever had playing a game, because I went into it knowing it would be random. Do not go in wanting a game that has immense strategy, as a lot of it is luck based, which adds to the random. Honestly, if you buy this game just be prepared for a lot of joking around, and silly voices.
Thanks again for reading my reviews, and I hope I make that decision a little bit easier for you. If you ever want me to review a particular game, please let me know and I will try and make it happen. For now though, my next review will be on Werewolves, which I have been told is a lot of fun, and made for a ton of players (up to 75 to be exact).