Spellcaster from RnR games is a two to four player cardgame that puts two mages or teams of mages against each other to battle for the title of Grand Master Spellcaster by playing spells to deplete the opponent’s energy or gain control of enough Sorcery Sapphires.
The setup of this game is done in no time. You place the four color placards in the middle and you give each mage 3 spell cards, 2 sapphire crystals and 10 energy crystals. (These vary according to the number of mages participating).
Turns alternate between the mages and teams and a turn consists of three phases. During the first you check if there might be any Active Spells and resolve their effects. These are Spells facing you with a special red symbol at the bottom of the card.
During the second phase you draw a card from the Spell Deck. After you have drawn a card the third phase starts in which you can take two actions.
The actions you can choose from are playing a spell card facing you on the placard of the spell’s corresponding color, usually covering another card already played on the placard. There are four types or colors of spell cards that have different specializations. Red spells are used for combat thus reducing the opponent’s energy. The yellow healing spells restore your own energy. Blue sorcery spells are used for gaining sapphires. The green conjuring spells are used to alter the effects of other cards and to bend the normal rules. The second action you can choose to perform is drawing a spell card. The third action you can do is activating a spell card in play facing you. You can choose to perform the same action twice but you can only activate a certain spell once in a turn.
This continues until one mage has no more energy left, a mage has acquired 15 or more sapphires or a Mage cannot draw a spell card at the start of his turn. In the last case the mage with the most sapphires wins the game.
This was a game that we demoed at Essen and one of our friends bought immediately after. It’s an easy game to get into, the cards are easy to understand and have large lettering but could benefit from a slightly thicker card-stock. Yet some cards have some extra rules when playing with more than two players. These cards are explained in detail in the rulebook. I like the concept of facing cards. You can only use the cards that are facing you or your team and your opponent is bound by the same rules. This makes for some interesting choices during a turn. Are you going to activate a card facing you or are you going to play a card so that your opponent cannot activate one of his cards on his turn. Sometimes it can be frustrating that your opponent has a really good card and that you can’t get the right color card to block it but usually you can mitigate this by use of the other cards and actions. The Active spells that activate automatically at the start of the turn are really powerful and as a result will be blocked almost immediately. It’s really hard to get to 15 sapphires. In all the games we played we were never able to accomplish this. I prefer playing this game 1vs1 and 2vs2. With three players you play 1vs2 where the single player gets six cards in his hand instead of three. This means that he has a lot more options to choose from than the other players which is a huge advantage. In the end this is a real fun cardgame that remains exciting until the very end.
Play with honor