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Spell Book

December 4th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Mana?  Check.  Spell cards?  Check.  Creature cards?  Check.  Life points? Check.  Elements?  Check.  Yes, friends…today we’re going to don our wizard robes and have at it via “Spell Book”, a 2-4 player fast-paced spell casting card game.  The core game comes with 100 different spell cards, though expansions exist that add even more cards to the mix.  Before we take our wizard robes to the dry cleaner to prepare for our upcoming battle (as wizards are wont to do), I’d like to thank Game Designer Peter Jank from CnD Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.

 

Spell Book

Spell Book: 2 Players*, Ages 12+, Average Play Time = 30 Minutes

 

Editor’s Note: Buying a second copy of the core game will allow you to play with up to four players.  Alternatively, you can buy the Deluxe Edition (which also includes all of the expansions).

Components

The core game includes 100 spell cards, 6 mana cards, and a rule book.  One copy supports two players and can be found on The Game Crafter for $19.99.  Expansions sold separately.

The Deluxe Edition includes 264 spell cards, 12 mana cards, 25 promo cards, 2 dice, updated card art, and a rule book.  One copy supports up to four players and can be found on The Game Crafter for $44.99.

I received a copy of the core game and will thus be featuring it instead of the other.

Setup & Gameplay

Each player gets a deck of fifty cards and three mana cards to put in front of them.  The first player is chosen at random and both players draw up to five cards to form their starting hand.

On a player’s turn, they’ll:

1. Draw up to five cards.

2. Untap their mana cards.

3. Play cards by tapping mana.  (Some cards can be played on an opponent’s turn)

In “Spell Book”, a player’s deck acts as their life force.  When a player receives damage, they discard cards from the top of their deck equal to the damage taken.  Play continues until one player’s deck runs out, in which case they lose the game.

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

The Review

I dabble in “Magic: The Gathering” here and there, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert my any means…quite the contrary.  There’s just too many cards for me to memorize and I play too many games to be able to devote the time required to learn them all.  I didn’t have that problem with “Spell Book”, thankfully.  I can still tap mana, play spells, and summon creatures…almost everything I enjoy doing in “Magic: The Gathering” but without the headache to go along with it.  As such, “Spell Book” is indeed the lighter game of the two, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less fun.

Along those lines, there’s only a few spell types you’ll really need to remember: attack, protect, heal, trap, summon, and equipment.  There’s also a few symbols on these cards, like mana or free play, that grant extra abilities or change the game in some way.  One other major thing to remember is that attacks have an elemental association with them and in order to successfully stop the attack, you’ll need a block card that lists the same element. Besides that, everything is fairly self-explanatory and the bulk of your time will be devoted trying to figure out how to chain cards together for maximum effect.  For example, you may find yourself in a position to where you can play a powerful yet expensive card, but you might opt to wait until a card with “free play” comes along so that you can drop that expensive card without spending mana.

The artwork is well done and the card quality decent.  I think the price of $19.99 is a bit on the expensive side, as card games like “Star Realms” retail for around $10-$15 and have a good deal of cards in the box.  I’ve been told countless times by various developers that the development cost is higher when you’re not mass producing in bulk which I totally get, so this developer may have no choice but to charge twenty bucks for a card game.  Still, as a consumer, we tend not to think of these things and instead focus on how much it’ll affect our wallet.  Luckily, five dollars isn’t a make it or break it kind of thing (unlike “Dead of Winter”, which originally retailed on Amazon for $80 before it dropped in price…ouch!).  On the other hand, you only have to buy this game once…with “Magic: The Gathering”, it’s easy to drop over a hundred bucks on boosters and fat packs.

Long story short…whether you’re in the mood to cast “vortex”, “dragon’s breath”, or “raise the dead”, “Spell Book” has you covered.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Editor’s Note: The developer reduced the price to $15.99 after the posting of this review.

Core Game: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/spell-book1

Deluxe Edition: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/spell-book-deluxe-edition

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