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Wizard Academy: Rules

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Original Post (All of the images are zoomable!)

So I described the components for wizard academy and how to set up the game. I'm starting to formalise the rules here, but since that version of the rulebook is (very) alpha this seemed like a good place for a worked example of play. That should help distinguish the rules as intended from the rules as written. If you remember our setup looks like this:

Turn 0

The academy has been constructed at random, but it represents a real building that real wizards have been using and they wouldn't have built it in a stupid way that stopped people getting at the rooms. Except the lost room, someone bricked up all of the entrances and it's not been found since. Anyway, the first step is for the players to adjust the academy to be friendlier towards them, they get three "shifts" with which to achieve this. Each shift can swap two adjacent rooms or rotate a room through ninety degrees. The lost room and warded room are switched, then the crystal ball room is rotated, this brings the early runes closer to the players. Finally they bring the library slightly nearer to the middle of the board, by switching it with the sanctuary; the board now looks like this:

Turn 1

With the shifts complete the players are ready to begin properly, the arbitrarion selects Myrrin to go first with Sir Bearington second. The first step in the turn order is for her to play her disaster card and draw a new one. Her initial card activates threats in the treasure room and zen room, as there are no problems there nothing happens. Had there been monsters present they would have acted, a fire would have spread and so on. The replacement card is "Wildmagic", meaning that the spells will be randomised next turn.

In the second phase of the turn Myrrin receives a move, a room and a magic action to perform in any order she wishes. She first uses the move action to advance into the masters study. The guardian standing in the masters study does nothing to interfere with this move, as guardians only kill monsters and prevent players from collecting runes.

She's not going to be able to use a magic action this turn due to lack of runes, however it can be downgraded to a room or move action, so she uses it to reach the crystal ball room. Once there she has a room action remaining, it can be downgraded to a move, but she has no need to move further. Instead she can use it to activate the room power printed on the card or to collect a rune of the type placed in her room. These can only be achieved if the room has a clear path to the mana crystal and contains no guardians or trolls, but as these conditions are met she grabs a rune:

Turn 2

Myrrin declares her turn finished and passes to Sir Bearington. He also has an activate rooms disaster card which has no effect. His new card is a fire card, indicating that something will catch fire next turn. If a player ends their turn in fire the mana crystal will lose a mana to protect them from the heat, if the mana runs out then the game is lost so the upcoming fire is potentially a serious problem.

The players can't do anything about this without runes, so Sir Bearington follows a similar pattern to Myrrin. He uses his move and magic actions to move two spaces, reaching the portal room, where he uses his room action to gain a rune.

As noted on the character sheet a player is permitted to move a rune to their "shared" box at the end of the turn providing the other player with access to it. Sir Bearington does this in case Myrrin wants to use the type of rune he has gathered.

Turn 3

As before Myrrins turn starts with the disaster card. Wildmagic randomises the position of some of the spells in the book, but fortunately the players hadn't cast anything yet so this does not create a problem. She then proceeds to pick up another rune using her room action and to move south into the master's study using her move action.

Now that she has two runes and a magic action Myrrin is able to cast a spell. If she does so the players will learn the effects of the spell. As long as someone can reach the library before the next wildmagic card the newly revealed spell can be locked in place so that it is available to the players indefinitely. With that in mind she spends her magic action to cast using the two runes in her possession. If she'd wanted she could have instead mixed one of these runes with Sir Bearington's rune, but she chooses not to. Cross referencing the runes on the grid she flips a card to find that she has cast "Call":

This is a destruction botch, as indicated by the lightning icon (destruction) and the negative number (botch). Neither Myrrin or the room has an ability relating to destruction spells so it takes effect as normal and attracts nearby enemies, fortunately for her there aren't any. The spell may still be useful in the long run for luring enemies into traps or away from critical areas, but in general botches are less useful than real spells. Having performed an action of each type her turn ends.

Turn 4

Sir Bearington starts by playing the fire card and drawing a new disaster. The fire card calls for the fire to be placed in a random room, so a random room card is drawn indicating that the fire starts in the cursed room, a token is placed. As disaster cards are resolved in order the "fire spreads" part of the card does nothing, as it is printed before the instruction to add a new fire to the building. However if it is drawn again the fire may start to spread to adjacent rooms. This could also happen if all threats in the cursed room are activated by one of the activate threats cards.

This being done, Sir Bearington is free to take his move, room and magic actions. As the "call" spell will not help in fighting a fire, Sir Bearington needs to try some new spells. So he grabs another rune from his room, using his room action and then casts a spell using his runes with the magic action. His rune from the previous turn is still in his share spells box, but as long as a wizard supplies one rune from their personal storage the other can come from any players shared box, including their own. The runes are cross-referenced on the spell grid to see what has been cast:

Another botch has been discovered, this one teleports the wizard back to the mana crystal. The scenario calls for an even number of botches and spells so the players are very likely to find positive spells, as long as they can get to the library and lock these down before the next wildmagic. Sir Bearington still has a move action remaining so he uses it to move back towards the portal room to obtain more runes to experiment with. By the end of turn four the board looks like this:


That description covered the first few minutes of play, each turn takes about a minute once players know the rules (about 20 seconds if the player is the game designer and knows every card inside out, I need to stop underestimating the play time for my games). It takes 102 turns to lose this scenario by running out of disaster cards, though most games will conclude in a smaller number of turns, the average game is an hour to an hour and a half. This game lasted another 70 or so turns before a flood Sir Bearington started to contain a fire destroyed the last of the mana in the mana crystal.

Hopefully this provides an overview of the basic flow of the game. Each turn a disaster occurs, the players get a turns warning about what will happen but not necessarily where. The players turns are spent collecting runes and casting spells, initially spells are cast at random but as the game goes on players have an increasingly large array of options to deal with the ever worsening disasters. The rules page will be updated as development continues for those interested in a more complete description. So now you know why everything is always on fire, if you want to play drop by sometime, I can always use more testers.
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