Earlier this year I played Wizards of the Grimoire on Tabletop Simulator. It’s hard not to compare a 2-player game about spells and mana to certain card game that has been around for almost 30 years. What I found was a really well thought out engine builder that has a satisfying combo system.
Players will go head-to-head with an opponent, drafting and casting spells on their turn. Each player begins the game with 60 health that that will decrease as their opponent chips away at it. On your turn you’ll have access to a hand of mana that is used to activate your spells. This mana has point values from 1 to 4 listed on the cards. Those high point mana cards can also be used to deal basic damage once per turn to your opponent from your hand. How you manage this is up to you.
In the center of the table, players have access to a library of spells that players draft from. Players will take turns drafting from this row at the start of the game. At the start of your turn, you can draft a new spell as long as you have the space or want to replace a spell in your tableau.
Mana that is drawn on your turn can be spent or held for a future round. This is especially important when you have high cost spells in front of you.
Wizards of the Grimoire has quite a bit of depth when it comes to building combos. You’ll find a variety of spells that spend another players mana, help you gain more mana, deal damage to your opponent and trigger other spells. In just the couple games that I played, I saw new card combos that I hadn’t seen before in the deck of 60 spells included in the game.
At it’s core, Wizards of Grimoire is an engine builder that give you control over how you take down your opponent. Do you draft spells that deal heavy amounts of damage? Do you focus on spells that force mana out of your opponents hand? You can even use spells that limit the damage that your opponent can deal to you.
Time to Chill Out
Highly valued spells usually come with a higher mana cost which means it also has a higher cool down period. The cool down period is how long you have to wait until you can use the spell again. Mana is played on top of a spell card to activate. Each turn, 1 mana can be removed from a spell. If a spell still has mana associated with it, that card is still in the cool down phase.
This keeps players from spamming a heavy hitting card over and over. You can find spell combos that will help you with faster cool downs which can be a big plus. During my first game, I found myself poorly planning my cool downs, being left with just a single spell available at some crucial points in the game.
While the final card art was not 100% complete at the time of my preview, I liked the overall art direction of Wizards of the Grimoire. They art looked solid and the pops of color on some of the darker themed cards really stood out.
I think that Wizards of the Grimoire is a solid 2-player focused card game. The game is a satisfying engine builder that will have you experimenting with new card combos every time it hits the table.
You can check out Wizards of the Grimoire on Kickstarter through June 27, 2021.
A prototype of the game was provided for this coverage. Components and rules covered in this preview are not finalized. Read more about our preview policies at One Board Family.