Spellcaster from R&R Games looks, on its surface, like a standard dueling card game. The rich theme of wizards battling conjures up memories of other classics, but Spellcaster proves to be something in a league of its own. While it does hold the thrills of charging up and bashing one another, unique mechanics make Spellcaster much more of an on-your-toes-strategy game than deck-building, especially as it is a complete game in a box rather than requiring players to collect cards in packs.
In Spellcaster, players begin with three spell cards, a stack of energy crystals, and a separate stack of Sorcery Sapphires. Nearly every dueling game out there bases the win on wearing an opponent down to lose their hit points to zero. Spellcaster has that time-tested mechanic in its energy crystals, and it brings in a delightful victory-points-gathering mechanic in its sapphires: the first player to collect 15 wins. Players will have to determine a strategy not only of offense versus defense, but also whether to try to defeat an opponent by wearing out their energy or through gaining wealth for oneself.
The spell cards in Spellcaster come in four colored “suits” of different types of spells. Red combat cards like “Demonspawn” and “Flame Beast” focus on dealing damage to one’s opponent through diminishing crystals. Yellow healing cards such as “Repel Curse” and “Word of Guarding” rebuild one’s own crystals. Blue sorcery cards like “Djinn’s Door” draw in more sapphires. Green conjuring cards like “Dreamcloak” and “Fumbletongue,” meanwhile, change up the game with extra draws or discarding an Active Spell, which recasts upon its benefactor (or victim) at the beginning of every round. Many of the more powerful cards also feature a bonus for the opponent, so players will need to evaluate each one in turn and take
The classic duel takes place between two players, while alternate rules expand the game to three and four players through teams. The two-on-two game is straightforward as players take turns back and forth with a shared pool of sapphires and crystals that keep the game in a speedy pace. A few cards are altered to affect teams. In the three-player game, rather than being a battle royale, Spellcaster takes a unique direction by making it two-versus-one. The teammates work much the same as they would in team games, while the single player has his or her powers cranked up with more spell cards. This style of play will be especially fun for gamers filled with a lust for power.
Spellcaster is a dueling card game for two to four players aged fourteen and up. It has a speedy-to-moderate game length of about half an hour, making it great for a part of game night or even as part of a mini-tournament where players can make brackets or play round-robin to see who is the most powerful wizard of them all.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00R1FE0ZI]