Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wiz War: A Great Game You've Probably Never Played

Likely, many gamers have never played Wiz War before. It's been out of print for some time now. Well...I own it and love it. So, if you know me, you probably have played it a time or two. However, as there are rumors of a possible reprint this year, it seemed timely to extol the virtues of this happy little box of madness.

The Basics
In Wiz War, each player is a wizard trying to steal the other wizards treasure chests. Get two back to your base and you win. On your turn, you navigate maze-like tiles, attack other players, and cast crazy spells that create all manner of unpredictable effects. You can lose by having your hit points reduced to zero or having both of your treasures stolen and dropped on someone else’s base.

A Brilliantly Unbalanced Game
Most games try to achieve a well calculated balance. Players are given similar resources and powers. Die rolls and card draws have predictable probabilities. Balanced games help ensure a level quality of play from game to game and encourage strategic play. However, every so often it’s fun to play a game that throws balance out the window and invites you to go crazy.

Wiz War’s approach to balance goes something like this. Sometimes you will be capable of a few useful things. Sometimes you will rearrange the entire game board, trap players into inescapable prisons, and then teleport across the world. Unfair? Yeah, but it’s what makes the game brilliant. It’s the joy of the unpredictable and the truly mad. One powerful turn is balanced by motivating other players to aim all their nonsense at the new leader of the game. Wiz War rewards a sense of humor and creativity…not really skill or deep strategy.

Fun, Perhaps Not For Everyone
If you can’t stand the random, if you don’t laugh at absurd occurrence and if you need some sense of strategy…Wiz War is not for you. However, if you like creatively combining powers, if you enjoy the truly awesome and ridiculous even if it doesn’t go your way, and if you believe that revenge is a dish best served absurd, then there’s a lot to love about Wiz War. If the rumors of reprint prove true, I recommend you check it out.

Share You Treasures
Write in and let Cool Factor 5 know about lesser known or out of print games that you love. Also, check out my friends at Growing Up Gamers as they dive into a fantastic twist on a classic game: Stratego Legends.


  1. I sure love me some Wiz-war! I still have my old copy in the purple box. There have been rumors of a reprint forever--I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. ; )

  2. Yeah I know, but hope springs eternal. I mean blasting friends with spells will always be fun, but just imagine how much fun it would be if it was with good art in full color! :)

  3. You might find this interesting, it's a fascinating (I think so anyways) website devoted to dental concrete molds and their numerous applications, just one of which (the page linked) happens to be a Wiz War board.

  4. Its happening... Fantasy Flight is publishing it.
    An all time favorite, I learned to play on the original biege set, and bought a Purple set, and will buy this one too, possibly the best yet.