Thursday, October 6, 2022

Board Game: Wizards (1982)

Wizards (1982)
I was reorganizing my shelves trying to find some room for some new books when I found this little gem hiding in my lower shelves.  I totally forgot I had this!

Wizards (1982)

Wizards is described as "Avalon Hill's game of fantasy adventure."  It is easy to see why they would want to make this game too.

1982 was some prime years for Fantasy RPGs and D&D in particular. 

There are board game elements to this as well as plenty of RPG elements.  For example you can choose what sort of wizard character (Order) you will play; Wizard, Sorcerer, or Druid. Each also has four levels (Ranks).

The first part of the game is setting up all the locations of the various islands on the hex grid sea map.

After that the various wizards race around the map to collect various gems for the High Druid. There are seven, six are needed to win.

While this is going on there are various Event and Task cards that send your wizard on quests, trap them or other hazards. These add time it takes to complete your missions but they can also raise your Wizard rank and make you more powerful. 

From the rule book. Here is what is needed to play and win.

  1. Join a Magical Order. Without that, you may not accept any Tasks or gain points of any kind.
  2. Acquire Tasks and complete them for points of Knowledge, Power and/or Perception.
  3. Fight the Evil Powers that take over the islands, making them inaccessible.
  4. Advance to Rank 4 in your Order. 
  5. When you are at Rank 4, collect all 6 Gems from the High Wizards.
  6. When you have the Gems, pass them to the High Druid Rüktal in the Center of the Sacred Circle to win the game.

The game uses two six-sided dice.  

Wizards (1982)

Hex map of the sea

Wizards 1982

Wizards 1982

Wizards 1982

Wizards 1982

Wizards 1982 Wizard Sheet

Wizards 1982 Play area

Wizards 1982

Wizards (contents)Wizards (contents)

I love the *idea* of this game, but while I enjoyed the set up I could not get anyone to play it here.  My wife does not care for board games with RPG elements and my kids would rather play D&D.

I am adopting some ideas from this game though for my own games, most notably the War of the Witch Queens, but certainly others as well.

Traveller Envy and the Avalon Isles

I have talked a bit about my Traveller Envy here in the past. To finally overcome this I am taking all the various board games I am going to cover this month and create a new area of my world; the Isles of Avalon. The origins here should be pretty obvious, I am going to base a lot of the mythology of the lands on England, Ireland, and the various islands around them. Also, I am drawing heavily from the Avalon Hill games, so much so that the currently unnamed main island has a place called Avalon Hill. It will be my world's Glastonbury Tor.  There is a volcano on one of the islands (this will be an archipelago) where a famous Warlock lives.  With a volcano I can also get representations of all the elements; Earth, Water, Air and Fire.

There will be a smaller island nearby that I am calling the Island of the Necromancers.

I will spend this month detailing this place further.

If I get nothing else out of these board games then I think I will be fine.


HJB said...

I tried playing this once or twice back in the day (I'd have been a teen). It seemed like a "takes forever to play" game, so after two hours or so and with no end it sight, it was shelved. At least other AH games like 3rd Reich had some sort of progress after two hours of play...

The game is in my library, unopened for 30+ years.

Dick McGee said...

Honestly, you're better off not playing it. I got through several games back when it was new-ish, and even by the standards of the day it was one of the worst gaming experiences I've ever had from Avalon Hill. I can understand liking the concept (I did myself when I bought it based on the box blurb) but the execution is execrable.

If you want some suggestions for other AH fantasy to try instead, Dragonhunt is clunky but vaguely similar in being a explore-and-quest-to-do-stuff game, and Magic Realm is even more of both those things. Mystic Wood is less ambitious (about on par with Talisman for complexity) but close in theme and a lot more playable than any of them. There's also Wizard's Quest if you want a simple proto-4X style fantasy game (sort of Amoeba Wars with orcs if that means anything), and of course their reprints of Elric and Dragon Pass. Dark Emperor has a tiny bit of questing involved but it's mostly mass army combat - similar to Divine right, really.

Me, I'd go play one of the smaller scale scenarios (some of which are very hero-go-quest in feel) in SPI's Swords & Sorcery, and even their Sorcerer game has a few scenarios where it's mostly your spellcaster wandering around trying to do stuff.