Published on August 20th, 2015 | by Justified Croak0
Epic Spell Wars Of The Battle Wizards: Rumble At Castle Tentakill
Average play time per game: 30-45 minutes
Suitable for ages: 15+
Number of players: 2-6
Mechanics: Dice Rolling, Hand Management, Take That
Example of a first round in epic spell wars: So there’s like this kick ass pain demon and he’s shooting electric tentacles out of his eyeballs but then this Flaming prince rides in on a dragon made of acid and he’s all like “KA-BOOM!” Then a murder-goat charges in, who conjures up some auto-erotic mechadevils and then ‘XPLOSIONS!
Epic spell wars is a simply ludicrous card game where players take on the roll of a battle wizard vying for the most awesome. Each round sees the players creating and flinging spells at anything that moves. Winner is the player who has been the last one standing or at least intact for 2 rounds.
Combine all source, quality, Delivery and Wild Cards in to a single deck, shuffle thoroughly, then shuffle the treasure and dead wizard cards in to 2 separate decks.
Each player chooses one of the 8 oversized wizard cards.
Each player places a skull token on the 20 life marker on their wizard card so they can keep track of life gains and losses. Then each player takes a blood token which is not used until later in the game.
Place the spell deck (with the black card backing) and the standee in the middle of the play area. Place the treasure and dead wizard decks some where nearby.
Tentakill is played by a match which consists of a number of short games. A game consists of enough rounds for a player to win that game. During each round a player will create and cast spells with an aim of turning their opponents in to naught but a steaming pile of wizard attire. Winning a game awards a last wizard standing token. These later decide the over all winner.
Each player starts by drawing 8 cards from the main deck.
On a player’s turn they must create a spell to fling at the rest of the players. A spell consists of up to three components: Source, Quality and Delivery. Players select up to three components (no more than one of each type) and place them face down on the table.
Source cards are the beginning of the spell and are arranged on the left. Each source is named after a legendary wizard. I would expect nothing less.
Quality cards form the middle of the spell and denotes the flavour of your arcane whimsy.
Delivery is the end of a spell and is played on the right. This is the crescendo of blood and screams which you hope to earn you victory and applause from any bystanders still standing.
When cards are arranged in the correct order of Source (left), Quality (middle) and Delivery (right) then the name plate across all three cards will line up. Doing so denotes you have arranged your spell in a legal format. If the name banner does not line up, then your spell is illegal and you are a naughty wizard.
NOTE: If a wizard cannot provide all three components then they may still cast the spell, just with a missing component. This does not make the spell illegal (just far less potent), so long as those components present are still ordered correctly.
When all wizards are primed for carnage with all their components selected, time to work out who casts first. This is a little fiddly.
Wizards who played one spell component go before players who played two or three. Wizards who played two components go before wizards who played 3.
If wizards have the same number of components in their spells then they must declare their initiative number. This is noted on the delivery card next to the name banner. You may peek at your card to find your initiative, but don’t reveal your spell just yet. If a player did not play a delivery card then they have an initiative of 0.
The highest initiative acts first. If there is a tie, then each wizard rolls a die. Highest number on the die goes first.
When a player’s initiative comes up they must reveal their spell and in a voice they feel best encapsulates their selected wizard – read the name of the spell aloud.
The spell now resolves. Resolve each effect on the spell cards in the usual order of Source then Quality then Delivery. If a new component enters the spell during casting then resolve the new effects after your original spell is complete.
Magical Glyphs – Each spell has a school of magic it belongs to, indicated by an icon on the card face. They are as follows: Arcane, Dark, Elemental, Illusion, Primal. Certain spells will require a power roll. To perform a power roll for a card effect a player must note the type of magic that card belongs to then roll one dice for each card in their spell that belongs to that type (including the card that requires the power roll)
Treasure – Some spell effects may allow you or your opponent to draw a treasure card. These cards have an ability that will effect game play in numerous ways. This card stays in front of the acquiring player and may be used as appropriate, but a sneaky wizard may steal treasure off another wizard if a spell allows.
Creatures – A subset of Delivery components, creatures are unique in that they can stay in play after a spell is resolved. Most creature types will have the keyword “keep” in their spell effect. If you roll the appropriate score then you may get to keep the creature in front of you as other wizards resolve their spells.
Any time a wizard with a kept creature takes damage the creature will valiantly sacrifice itself for its master, negating the damage. At this point the creature is discarded. If a creature is still present for its owners next turn then its effects are added to the wizards new spell. Creatures do not count toward the component limit, but as their ability activates after the new spell, they again require a roll to see if they are “kept otherwise the creature is discarded.
Blood – Blood is a secondary resource used to increase the potency of certain spell effects. Blood is earned primarily through killing other players. Blood is tracked the same way as wizard health except using the blood marker mentioned earlier. Blood is maintained from game to game but is limited to 25 maximum at any time.
Wild Magic – these cards are acquired through the spell deck at random and are used to fill a void in your spell. A wild magic card can be used instead of any component to a spell. When your spell is activated and the wild magic card is reached, that player must reveal cards from the top of the spell deck until they find the component the wild magic card is substituting. That revealed card then activates as part of your spell, resolves its effect and then play progresses to the next component if applicable.
NOTE: wild magic is a very fun, very chaotic, very easy way to kill your own wizard. You never know what your spell is going to do and not every component in the spell deck has a happy ending.
Dead Wizard Deck – When a wizard is slain, they must discard their hand, discard any treasure and then draw a card from the dead wizard deck. At the start of each new round of the game, all slain wizards draw a dead wizard card. Depending on how long the remaining breathing wizards duke it out for, a slain wizard may accrue lots of dead wizard cards. In the next game played, dead wizard cards from the defeated of the last game give their owners some initial benefits.
Some dead wizard cards have an immediate effect. These cards resolve immediately and often screw things up for the living wizards and is a nice chance for those technically out of the game to cause their friends still playing great anger and stress.
Standee – Behold for it is a thing of beauty. Tentakill has a sort of king of the hill bonus thing. The standee can be acquired by spells and treasure. When a wizard acquires the standee they place it in front of them. Many Spell components will become more powerful if the caster has the standee in front of them. There are also plenty of components that steal the standee from other players. Slaying a foe also results in a player claiming the standee if they had it at the time of their disintegration.
The standee earns its keeper one blood at the start of every new round but at game end is returned to the centre of the play space to be claimed a new.
Winning – Once a wizard is the last standing they claim a last wizard standing token. Then set up for the next game begins. The first player to hold 2 last wizard standing tokens is the over all winner whilst Losers are banished to Hogwarts.
What just happened? That is my opinion after a full night of spell wars. To this day I still have no idea what happened within Castle Tentakill, but I am fairly sure I had fun. First things first; the art work is glorious. There is a real adventure time vibe through out and it serves the humour well so definitely requires a mention.
In terms of strategy and mechanics of the game itself, meh. Its okay. It’s all very random with wizards rolling 6 sided dice for most of their effects. A lot of the time the player has next to no control over who they hit and with what. Its an easy game to learn but that’s simply because there isn’t a lot to it. The meat of the game seems to be the humour, but that’s all it’s supposed to be.
Spell wars plays like a geeky party game. If you come to the table with your serious face it will be torn off with tentacles. If you’re looking for some thing to scratch you chin over then maybe Spell Wars isn’t going to be strategic enough for you but if your looking for some mind-blowingly awesome silliness then for around £20 you could do a lot worse. I probably won’t get a huge amount of play time from Spell Wars as it seems like it might get a little tired after a few sessions and I’d hate to dull down the awesome but I’ve reserved a permanent space on my shelf for this little oddity because some times, I know I’m just in the mood to see a manshark devour my friends in a haze of sadistic firelightning.