Gaming Bits: Board and Card Game Reviews

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Gaming Bits: Spellcaster Review

Jonathan Nelson
United States
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From gallery of MillicanDarque

Spellcaster is a game by Aaron Weissblum and Norman Woods, published by R&R Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of rival mages that have been summoned to a mystical island to take part in a magical duel. The winner will be awarded the title of the Grand Master Spellcaster. The player that can best manage their energy while earning the most sorcery sapphires will be declared the winner.

I find that the best way to play this game is with 2 players. So for this review, I will be referring to the 2 player rules. To begin, the 4 colored tiles are placed on the table in a row. The cards are shuffled together and each player is dealt 3 cards each. The remaining cards are placed face down on the table within easy reach of both players. Players also receive 10 yellow energy crystals and 2 blue sorcery sapphires. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

On a player's turn, if there are any cards that have a red upside down triangle with a silver gear on it, face up on one of the tiles, these cards activate and take effect. The player then draws a card. They are then able to perform 2 actions from the following list. They are able to perform the same action twice if they'd like. The actions are draw a card, play a card and activate a card. The first action is to draw a card. To do this, simply draw another card and add it to your hand. The next action is to play a card. This is done by taking a card from your hand and placing it face up towards you on the matching color tile. For example, red cards go on the red tile, blue cards on the blue tile, etc.. Doing this allows the player to control the stack of that color. Which brings us to the next action, activating a card. A player can only activate cards that are facing them. That's why it's important to have your cards on the top of the stack so that you can activate them. To activate a card, simply follow what the text on the card says. When a player has taken their 2 actions, play passes to the next player. This continues back and forth until either one player has lost all of their yellow energy crystals or one player has gained 15 of the blue sorcery sapphires. In the first case, the remaining player wins. In the latter case, the winner is the one with 15 sapphires in their possession. Another way that the game can end is if a player can not draw a card to start their turn. At that point, the player with the most energy crystals is the winner.

Of course the game can be played with 3 or even 4 players using the special rules included in the rulebook. For 3 players its a 2 on 1 duel, while 4 players is played in a team format. For more clarification on that, simply check the rules.

One last thing that I wanted to mention, the 4 different colors of cards; red, yellow, blue and green. Each one has a different use. Red cards are used in combat and normally attack your opponent's energy crystals. Yellow cards are for healing and will help restore your energy crystals. Blue cards are sorcery and help you to gain the blue sapphires needed to win the game. Green cards are conjuring and they do lots of different things that effect other cards and even bend the rules.

From gallery of MillicanDarque

This game has some really magical components. First off there are 30 yellow plastic energy crystals and 30 blue plastic sorcery sapphires. These are really nice and remind me of the green spyrium crystals from Spyrium. The 4 colored tiles, or as they're called in the rulebook-placards, are really brightly colored and made of thick cardboard. They look really nice and are large enough so that even with a stack of cards piled on top of them, you can still see the color of the tile. The cards are high gloss and have some very magic laden images on them. Each one is very nicely done. I like many of the different images and the design is really well done. Overall, I like the look and feel of the game.
9 out of 10

The rulebook for this game is nicely done. It has lots of pictures and some very nice examples. The cards are explained really well. As I mentioned earlier, there are special rules for 3 and 4 players. There are also explanations on how certain cards will play differently with 3 and 4 player games. The rules are quite short as there's not a lot to learn to be able to play the game. The game is quite simple and so are the rules, being only 4 pages long. Overall, the look and feel of the rules are nice and compliment the game rather well.
8 out of 10

This is a really fun and fast game. It's very light and simple. It's easy enough that pretty much anyone can play. The main thing is to control the board so that your opponent can't hurt you or help themselves too much while your trying to hurt them and help yourself. It is basically a hand management game. Based on the cards that you draw will determine what you do. Should I try to activate this card now or cover up some of the cards that my opponent has available to use against me on their turn. It's a great see saw battle that plays really fast. The game last only about 20 minutes or so. The theme is nice and gives a really nice duel feel to it. Just the same, this game could have been about pirates, ninjas or even zombies. For that matter the game could have been about a snowball fighters and probably appealed to a bigger audience. As it is, I like the fantasy theme especially ones that have mages in them. That makes this a game that I really enjoyed. For me, this is a win.
9 out of 10

Spellcaster is a light card game of magical dueling. No, it's not Yu-gi-oh! but it's just as fun. The game is really light and simple and plays in about 20 minutes or so. The artwork is really nice and the components are well designed. The game mechanics is at it's heart a hand management game. Fans of games like Boss Monster or other hand management games will probably like this. Summoner Wars and Mage Wars players, looking for a light quick game might enjoy playing this one as well. The game is simple enough that the kids and even Mom can get in on the game and not feel overwhelmed by either the theme or the game itself. It's simple and easy to learn and to teach. It's a great little light card game that I really enjoy. It works great as a filler or as a warm up game for some heavier gaming. I recommend you give it a try. It's sure to cast a spell on you.
9 out of 10

For more information about this and other great games, please check out R & R Games at their site.
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