Over the course of a few rounds, players will be casting spells at each other to gain gold. A timeless and classic game, this plays like rock paper scissors, except the twist that you are are a wizard casting spells at your friends. Spells can either help you get ahead or help someone else fall behind. First player to 25 pieces of gold at the end of a round wins. Based on the premise alone, it was guaranteed I was going to pick this game up.
Rock Paper Wizard is a 3 to 6 player game for ages 14 and up. It takes about half an hour to play.
To set up the game, each player receives 3 gold pieces, a player card to be placed in front of them and a wizard marker. Each player places their marker on the starting space, Dragon’s Cave which is the middle of the board.
Shuffle the spell cards and place face down. Draw the same number of cards as players and place face up in a line. This is your spell book, don’t worry if you don’t like the cards it will change throughout the game. Select one player to go first, and give them the First Player marker.
Time to Play
This game is played in rounds. During each round players will cast against another player of their choice. Once all spells have been resolved the round is over. The wizard closest to the hoard will get a gold reward. Basically you need to be that person, having gold is how you win. To start the round all players review the available spells and secretly decide what spell to cast against which player. When everyone is ready it is time to cast spells. Everyone chants rock, paper, wizard. On wizard everyone points their hand gesture to the player they want to attack. Players must hold this position until their spell is resolved in order starting from the first player.
If two players cast the same spell on each other they have caused a wild surge. For a surge, the two player draws a spell card from the deck, then when they are ready point the spells at each other and this spell replaces their original choice.
Resolving spells can be tricky but interesting. Start with the first player and then move clockwise. You must resolve each spell fully before moving onto the next player. Follow the instructions on the card to resolve it. The cards are fairly clear, however it did us a couple rounds to really get used of how they work. You really need to think a step or two ahead, although there could be an obvious person to attack depending on what order they are in and what other spells are cast, your can easily backfire.
Once all of the spells have been resolved, the closest wizard to the hoard gets to collect 5 gold pieces. The 2nd player receives 3 gold pieces.
To start the next round, to make it a little more even, any players in the blue exit moves up one space, as well as any wizard in the orange zone moves down one space. Other than that you are pretty much staying where you are. Discard the spell on the far left, shift other cards one space over and add a new spell to the end. Pass the first player marker one player clockwise and you are ready. Play as many rounds as needed until one player has 25 gold pieces at the end of a round. That player has successfully won the game.
Overall I loved the look and style, especially the oversized spell cards. There’s not a lot of components but it works well. This game plays pretty fast, which is sad because I found it took a couple rounds to really get into it. I loved the very specific personal attacks the game brings out, you are actually pointing at another player. There’s no hiding your plan so be prepared to make a few enemies along the way.