My son and I had some time to kill, and I have been wanting to break out my copy of Wiz-War from FFG lately, to see if the game is as fun as I remember it being back when I was in my 20s. It turns out that it is, which is a very good sign indeed. Honestly, I have a copy of the old CHESSEX Wiz War downstairs and I don’t believe I ever cracked it open, though I played a friend’s copy quite a few times. I liked the old Chessex edition; the art was cartoony and “Tom Wham-like” (in the 80s, he was the man for silly artwork, as well as Phil Foglio). The current version features the classic FFG heavy dark artwork for the components; the effect is a tad too somber for the game it is illustrating, but oh well, the cards do make up for that. In general, I prefer the older art, it was more in keeping with the spirit of the game, which is a simple game about multiple wizards chasing each other around a labyrinth and trying to kill each other with spells and attacks. The modern art does get the job done, it’s just, I don’t know, maybe a little too dark. One can’t complain about the professional job with the printing and such– the components are thicker, more durable, and each wizard is a bona fide plastic miniature instead of a cardboard standup. Setup went reasonably easy but I don’t recall there being quite this much stuff in the old version.
The game seems to play simply and it is more or less validated by my dim memories of my last game. Basically the players setup, put their treasure chests on the map, start in the center of their section of the board (color coded to them) and then alternate turns allowing time to pass (e.g., removing energy tokens from duration spells) moving, casting spells to attack (or neutral spells), and physically attacking an opposing wizard.
The two player game we played was attenuated and very fast, using only two of the four tiles for the dungeon map. I advanced into Green Territory and took a treasure chest rather easily, even getting it back to my own area before he could catch me. He teleported into my treasure area and I did a switcheroo with some cards. He then stone-blocked one passage way which had the unintended effect of blocking himself in a corner in my sector. We duked it out magic style and I pretty much ran out of effective offensive magic cards, leaving me a little vulnerable to physical attacks. I realized I was running out of points fast and moved out to get out of the way. Alas, he still had a LOS on my departing form and chucked a BOOMSTONE at my back from three hexes. That did me in for the last five HPs and Gar was a victor.
I thought the game was pretty amusing and worth the $$ spent on it. It has the same take THAT feel of the older game, and is pretty fast and silly. I liked it. I’m certain we didn’t get the maintaining and timing of spells right, but this was our first venture out with this new game, so I’m not worried about it.
And just by way of comparison, here’s a YT about how to play the ORIGINAL, Chessex version, which I also have in the basement somewhere.