Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Wiz-War» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Fluxx with Pointy Hats rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Rob Herman
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The tagline of this review is "Fluxx in Pointy Hats" but this, if anything, understates the chaos and uncontrollability of Wiz-War.

The Good
There are hundreds of different cards, modeling different magic spells. There is startlingly large variety in the gamut of effects that exist.

There is at best a passing regard given to balance. Some of it comes through in rarity--the more powerful cards are fewer in number--an idea which survived, for better or for worse, into Magic and future CCGs. Some of the spells have very dramatic effects. Some of the effects have are extremely potent in combination.

The effects of the spells are so huge that it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen. Many effects change mobility and line-of-sight: barriers added and removed, teleportation, entire chunks of the game board moved around and rotated. Spells which deal mere hit point damage seem weak in comparison.

If, in reading this, you have already had a beer-and-pretzelgasm, go find a copy and play it. You'll probably enjoy it.

The Bad
Everything I listed in The Good above will be a negative to some people. Obviously, if this is you, you won't want to play Wiz-War. But even more...

There are several effects that can make you lose a turn and others that make you completely stuck or incapacitated. I hate this in every game in which it appears. Sitting down to not play a game is stupid.

The cards have a lot of text and the effects do not really fit a pattern. This means that every card has to be read, parsed, and understood when it is drawn, and again when it is played. This puts a lot of drag on the game, transforming it from what might have barely been quick chaotic fun into a chaotic quagmire. If you managed to get four veterans around a table, this effect would go away, but one of the advantages of a beer-and-pretzels game is supposed to be that it's easy to pick up.

The Components
In the edition I played, which I believe is the sixth, the tiles are very nice and sturdy, the illustrations cute. The cards, by contrast, were printed on very light stock and seemed flimsy.

Should I buy it?

Well, it doesn't much matter: you can't, except on eBay, and don't hold your breath waiting for a reprint. Unless you have played someone else's copy and happened to love it, I would advise you not to.

Wiz-War is cited as an influence of the creation of Magic: the Gathering, and this is particularly apparent when you look at the early Magic sets with wildly unfair powers and cards like Chaos Orb that work by seeing where they land when dropped on the table! If you have a hankering for a Wiz-War style experience but no access to the game, try this Magic variant:

1 Get 100 or more cards; no lands. Shuffle them into one common deck for all players.

2 Play Magic as normal, all players drawing from the common deck, with the special rule that all spells have their casting cost reduced to 0.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
Costa Rica
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
wow, I think someone really likes this game.

Sounds like a good game to me, never played magic either, but people love that one. Nice review! Thanks for sharing!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alexander B.
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmb
The game takes a lot more skill than you give it credit.

In the final analysis, most multi-player games come down to "stop the leader while forwarding my position". What's great about Wiz-War is that it puts this core dynamic into the drivers' seat, and keeps it there.

It is often possible to hoard specific cards to slow down (or kill!) the leader. You must keep track of both your treasures getting scooped as well as how you will scoop other treasure, and how you'll get back to your base.

I find the game to be one of the truly great multi-player games due to how these dynamics unfold.

Sure, it has a solid portion of luck, but because you can cycle your hand quickly, there is more strategy than it might seem with little experience in the game. Card combinations are something that requires a lot of experience to use to their full potential. The creativity with which some of these combinations can be used at the right moment is at the heart of the fun here.

In sum, I disagree with this review. The game couldn't be better for what it is, and the chaos is something that is not really higher than most MP games, once the one is fairly familiar with the cards and common strategies.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Herman
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mr_english wrote:
Sitnaltax wrote:
There are several effects that can make you lose a turn and others that make you completely stuck or incapacitated. I hate this in every game in which it appears. Sitting down to not play a game is stupid.


Yet you rate Ra a 10, where is is very common to run out of suns and miss every turn until the end of the epoch.

Wow.. and Hey! That's My Fish! and M44 and Settler's of Catan...all rated highly but with mechanics that produce a situation that you hate?


How do you lose a turn in Memoir '44?
In Hey! That's My Fish! if you are out of moves, the game is going to be over within 45 seconds.
In Settlers, even if you happen to have insufficient resources to build on your own turn, you can participate and make deals on every player's turn.
In Ra, nothing forces you to run out of suns--nothing except the happy circumstance of getting tiles that are so good you have no choice but to bid on them and opponents that won't overbid you. In which case you should be rolling on the floor in pleasure, and the sting of not getting a turn is not so bad.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Herman
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hendal wrote:
wow, I think someone really likes this game.

Sounds like a good game to me, never played magic either, but people love that one. Nice review! Thanks for sharing!


IMO, Magic is a deep refinement of the ideas of this game--like coal that has been pressed into a diamond. I don't play it any more because it takes too much time and energy to keep abreast of, but it's a fascinating game. I would definitely recommend trying to borrow a deck and learn the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
j b Goodwin

Lynchburg
Virginia
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hendal wrote:
wow, I think someone really likes this game.


That would be ME. Wiz-War is still one of my favorites, years after it went out of print. (At this rate, I don't think Chessex will republish the game before the rights revert to Tom Jolly. After that, I hear there are some people who CAN actually publish a game who are interested in it.)

However, I'd have to disagree about the "Fluxx with Pointy Hats" handle. The chaos in Wiz-War is much more directed and focused than in Fluxx. Fluxx plays the player more than the other way around; in Wiz-War, the player plays against the twin forces of other players and chaos, but it's definitely the player who is in control.

Hendal wrote:
Sounds like a good game to me, never played magic either, but people love that one. Nice review! Thanks for sharing!


Try it. Bet you'll like it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rusty McFisticuffs
United States
Arcata
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sitnaltax wrote:
The tagline of this review is "Fluxx in Pointy Hats" but this, if anything, understates the chaos and uncontrollability of Wiz-War.

I think it overstates the chaos and uncontrollability. The goal of the game doesn't change; neither does the order of play, nor are there effects which make all players discard all their cards, or pass them to their left, etc.

Sitnaltax wrote:
There are several effects that can make you lose a turn and others that make you completely stuck or incapacitated. I hate this in every game in which it appears. Sitting down to not play a game is stupid.

I don't agree that losing one turn is a problem, especially when that one lost turn is often enough to alter the outcome of the game. (And almost all of the ways to lose a turn are either A) voluntary, such as jumping into a thornbush, or B) subject to counteractions, so it's almost never a sure thing when someone wants to do it to you.)

I agree that the two cards which can cause longer incapacitation aren't much fun, so I leave those out.

If you're talking about incapacitation like having someone create a wall behind you when you step into a dead-end hallway to pick up a treasure, that's not really incapacitation. Pass Through Wall, Destroy Wall, Teleport, Amplify and Sudden Death, etc. can get you out in a single turn; Visionstone, Relocate Sector, Rotate Sector, etc. let you hose other players while you're still trapped; and if you do have to spend several turns punching your way through the wall, you should be cycling two cards through your hand each turn, so that when you emerge, you're ready to repay the favor. Sure, in some cases, being sealed in a room with no exits can cripple your position in the game, but so can getting stomped by a neighbor in A Game of Thrones, Mare Nostrum, Twilight Imperium, or any other multi-player fighting-on-a-map type of game. (The main difference is that, in Wiz-War, it's not preceded by an hour of buildup, and you have a higher chance of recovering quickly, ha ha.)

Sitnaltax wrote:
The cards have a lot of text and the effects do not really fit a pattern. This means that every card has to be read, parsed, and understood when it is drawn, and again when it is played. This puts a lot of drag on the game, transforming it from what might have barely been quick chaotic fun into a chaotic quagmire.

Well... I see your point, but I don't think I agree with this either. You only draw two cards per turn, and the only ones you can play before the start of your next turn are the ones which say COUNTERACTION in one corner; other than that, you have until your turn to read those two cards. A lot of the cards are numbers with no text at all; I wouldn't be surprised if the average number of words per card is lower than, say, Last Night on Earth.

I've played this with first-time players--including a seven-year-old!--and although they're slower than people who've played it dozens of times, I wouldn't say they turn it into a quagmire.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vaughn Sandor
United States
Monroe Township
New Jersey
flag msg tools
The BBC series is far better than the excellent NBC one. Now go watch it.
badge
This is not me but I have been known to dance like David Brent on occasion.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Fluxx with pointy hats!?
This means war, sir!



Seriously though Fluxx is unbearable boring where Wiz-War is like a beautiful symphony when played with 4-6 players that know what they are doing.

I agree that being turned to stone for 6 turns sucks but thats what all the beer and pretzels are for!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mischa D. Krilov
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
designer
When *is* BGG Con 20XX registration, anyway?
badge
This space intentionally left blank. :)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Disclaimer: I love Wiz-War.

True, Wiz-War has a lot of chaos between the luck of the draw and the actions of other players; but chaos does not mean uncontrollability. A good Wiz-War player will beat a poor Wiz-War player.

It does suck to get hit with an AMPLIFYed MEDUSA for twelve turns. I can't argue for that.

Any game with lots of cards can suffer from drag. Sit down four Magic virgins without a veteran and see how quickly the game goes. (Disclaimer: I've never played Magic.) I've long since learned the lesson of not teaching more than one or two new players at a time. In order to get players familiar to the game, I would often bow out of other games at game nights in order to do one-on-one or three-player games, just to get other people up to speed. Before long, we had mad six-player wizard-on-wizard action.

For what it's worth, my sixth edition cards have held up quite nicely after some decade-and-change years of play. Granted, there's wear, but I wouldn't call the cards flimsy.

Thanks for the review! I would strongly advise you to give the game another play or two- it moves a lot more smoothly once players know the cards. Feel free to pull out some of the crazier ones if it pleases you: I usually pull BUDDY (which really should be an Attack) and FEAR (too annoying) if I have the opportunity.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rusty McFisticuffs
United States
Arcata
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rossum wrote:
For what it's worth, my sixth edition cards have held up quite nicely after some decade-and-change years of play. Granted, there's wear, but I wouldn't call the cards flimsy.

That's a good point. My copy is fifth edition (~17 years old?), and has been played over 70 times in the last 3 years alone (probably around 250 plays over its lifetime), and is still in good shape.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Vickery
Australia
Tempe (Sydney)
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
Sitnaltax wrote:

There is at best a passing regard given to balance. Some of it comes through in rarity. Some of the spells have very dramatic effects. Some of the effects have are extremely potent in combination.

The effects of the spells are so huge that it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen. Many effects change mobility and line-of-sight: barriers added and removed, teleportation, entire chunks of the game board moved around and rotated. Spells which deal mere hit point damage seem weak in comparison.


I think the imbalance is an essential part of the game. If it was just balanced points-dealing damage spells, everyone would whittle each other down in a boring standoff. The way the game is structured now is like a Spy-vs-Spy chase: sometimes you have the upper hand and are chasing others to kill them, sometimes you have a lousy hand and are busy getting as far away from everyone else as possible, much of the time you are doing one or other of these as a bluff!

I don't believe that the best player always wins, but the better players definitely get to do some really cool stuff along the way.

Sitnaltax wrote:

The cards have a lot of text and the effects do not really fit a pattern. This means that every card has to be read, parsed, and understood when it is drawn, and again when it is played. This puts a lot of drag on the game, transforming it from what might have barely been quick chaotic fun into a chaotic quagmire. If you managed to get four veterans around a table, this effect would go away, but one of the advantages of a beer-and-pretzels game is supposed to be that it's easy to pick up.


This criticism seems a bit unfair - most cards don't have much text, and most newbies I have played with seem to cope just fine. What they do lack is a knowledge of things that are likely to happen, so they can't prepare adequate defences. I warn them about 'reflection' etc, but really the first game or two is just a roller-coaster ride until you have a feel for what cards are out there.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Fowler
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
I'll readily admit to not having played Wiz-War enough to "know" the cards, but that's kind of the point I'm about to make...there's not enough on the cards to make it apparent what they do, which leaves a lot of room for guesswork and rules-lawyering - which is also apparent in M:tG, and might actually be a draw for some people. (I've had times where I enjoyed the ferocious debates about how a combination of M:tG cards should or should not play out more than the game itself, but that's neither here nor there...).

And it seems like it would be such a simple fix; there are onyl a handful of variables that the cards affect anyway (flying, walking, blocking, line-of-sight, etc.), so the cards should be able to state which of he variables they affect, and how, rather explicitly without being too verbose; but, they don't.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mischa D. Krilov
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
designer
When *is* BGG Con 20XX registration, anyway?
badge
This space intentionally left blank. :)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sitnaltax wrote:
In the edition I played, which I believe is the sixth, the tiles are very nice and sturdy, the illustrations cute. The cards, by contrast, were printed on very light stock and seemed flimsy.


My sixth edition cards have stood up to nearly twenty years of play. The box, on the other hand...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.