So I'm branching out into board game reviews now. Because I am just that nerdy.
My brother-in-law recieved this game as a Christmas gift, and was kind enough to let us all play it during our vacation this year. I'd first heard of Wiz War on Penny Arcade, which has this running series called Shut Up and Sit Down as part of their maniacal, gaming culture empire. The review on that site made the game sound incredibly fun, but rather complicated to learn.
What I found was...yeah, that was pretty much right.
Wiz War has a steep learning curve. Like, running into a solid wall steep. We spent the first session with our noses in the instruction book half the time, and even during subsequent sessions we would pause and try to figure out if someone could do what they had just tried to do for a good few minutes.
At the same time, once we got into the game, it was incredibly fun. The basic mechanic of lining up combos during your turn was a lot of fun to play with. Watching a move that you had spent a bit of time planning out was a beautiful thing--there is nothing more satisfying than punching an enemy with your fire cloak, throwing up a wall of fire between you and your victim, and running away while laughing hysterically. Wiz War really helps you pull off those one-upping moments that makes good board games fun--once you figure out what you are doing, of course.
I guess I should tell you what the basic point of the game was. In Wiz War, two to four mages are competing against each other to score victory points. In the basic game, two points can give you overall victory. You get those points either by stealing one of the two treasure chests from an opposing wizard's section of the board, or by killing an enemy wizard. To aid you in your quest for blood and plunder, you can have a hand of up to seven items or spells, each of which will have a variety of effects for you to turn to your advantage. These things can also be sacrificed to give you more actions during your turn, to fuel better spells over several turns, or clear the way for more spells that are hopefully better than the ones you have.
The game was rather well balanced, with no particular spell or item giving a wizard a You Win button. I'll admit I was rather focused on combat during the game, but every game we played tended to be won by people that snuck around behind everyone else's backs to steal the treasures, though I wonder if that trend would continue if we had upped the number of victory points you needed to win. Either way, it was a really fun game that allowed you to be devious, pull off cunning traps and strategies, and enjoy yourself. All in all, a pretty good time.
So there's my two cents on everything. Hope all is going well for everyone, and I'll see you around!