Wizards Wanted Review

Wizards Wanted

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  • Designer: Nick Hayes
  • Publisher: Mattel
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 10+ (I can see 7+ playing this game.)
  • Time to play: 45-60 Minutes

Hey folks! Back again with another review. This time, it’s all about magic and fame! We’re traveling around the land by foot, teleportation stones or bird and collecting pixie dust and coins. All this while trying to pick up wizard jobs to get fame. Once the royal inspector shows up, the player with the most fame is declared the winner! We’re looking at Wizards Wanted.

Components

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  • 65 Pixie Dust Gems
  • 41 Coins
  • 34 Spell Jobs
  • 28 Mushroom Tokens
  • 19 Spell License Cards
  • 16 Charm Tokens
  • 5 Royal Seal Tokens
  • 4 Wizard Pawns
  • 4 Score Markers
  • 4 Player Boards
  • 1 Traveling Mountain Pixie
  • 1 Forest Pixie
  • 1 Royal Inspector Card
  • 1 Game Board

Pixie Dust – This comes in different sizes and represents different values. From the smallest size to the largest, you have values of 1, 5, 10, and 50.

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Charms – These give additional bonuses for completing jobs with matching icons. Each matching icon adds an additional 1 fame and 1 coin for completing a spell job. Each player board starts with a charm. You collect these by using the teleportation stones.

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Spell Jobs – These cards are at the village spots. On the back side of the card are icons and numbers. Use these to place mushrooms on the board. When completing a job, spend the amount of pixie dust in the top corner of the card. The stars and coins on the side of the card are your reward for completing the job. He bottom of the card is a magic icon, and what you match to gain bonus fame and coins with your charms.

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Mushroom Tokens – These are one use items you pick up while moving around the board. You can use most of these any time during your turn.

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Royal Seal Token – These add bonus fame at the end of the game. A Player can only have one.

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Spell License Cards – These protect you when the Royal Inspector comes at the end of the game. Each license has requirements on it. These are the items you need to have before you claim a license. The bottom of a license shows a negative number. This is the penalty of not having a license at the end of the game.

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Set Up

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  1. Place the Game Board in the center of the table.
  2. Each Player takes a wizard color, matching player board, and score token.
  3. Place your score token on the 0 spot on the game board.
  4. Take 30 Pixie Dust and place it on your player board.
  5. Place the Mountain Pixie on the stone spot with a 1.
  6. Place the Forest Pixie on the spot adjacent to the Pixie Dust Market spot.
  7. Shuffle the Spell Jobs.
    1. Remove 7 from the game if you’re playing 2 players.
  8. Draw and place face up Spell Jobs on each of the village spaces.
  9. Shuffle the Royal Inspector Card into the bottom 4 cards of the Spell Jobs deck.
  10. Shuffle the Royal Seal Tokens and place them in a face down stack at the castle.
  11. Shuffle the spell license cards. Draw face down spell license equal the number of players plus one. Place these face down in the castle court yard.
  12. Stack four matching Charm Tokens in each corner of the board near the teleportation stones.
  13. Form a supply of face down and mixed up mushrooms, coins, and pixie dust.

Game Play

Pick a first player. They do the following two optional actions.

If it’s your first turn, place your wizard in any one of the village spaces.

Movement

This is done in any combination and any order. You can only use regular movement once a turn, everything else can be done multiple times is you have the resources to do so.

Regular Move – This can either make you pixie dust or cost you pixie dust. The further you move, the more it costs you. You can move up to 5 spaces, which would cost you 10 pixie dust.

Mushrooms – You can spend a speed mushroom to move that number of spaces.

Royal Taxi Bird – On the board, you’ll see birds with flags that are connected to other birds by bird tracks. You have to be on a space with the Bird Taxi, and it costs you two coins to use the taxi service. When you use the taxi, you move to the next taxi space. You can do this multiple times on your turn, and it doesn’t count as a regular movement.

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Teleportation Stone – When you’re at a teleportation stone, you can spend 10 pixie dust to teleport to another teleportation stone or the Mountain Pixie. When you teleport and go to another teleportation stone, you can take one of the charms at the ending spot. You can only take one charm a turn. When you use the teleportation stones, the Wondering Mountain Pixie moves to the next stone number. Teleportation does not count as your regular movement.

Actions

You can only do one of three actions a turn. You have to be at the corresponding space to complete an action.

1. Buy Pixie Dust

There are three spots on the board to do this. The Pixie Dust Market where the forest pixie is located. Then two pixie dust merchants. Each spot is designated by the diamond shape icon.

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The pixie dust market fluctuates. The price of pixie dust changes. The current price is where the forest pixie is located. The first number is the amount of coins it costs. The second number is the amount of pixie dust you collect. You can only make one purchase a turn and the last number is the maximum amount you can spend.

Dixie Dust Merchants – These cost an extra coin to use them for their services.

Change the Market – After someone buys pixie dust, the forest pixie moves clockwise to the next spot.

2. Complete a Spell Job

There are 8 villages. These have a house icon on the space they’re located.

You spend the pixie dust to complete the job then you earn fame and coins immediately based on the job and charms. After that, you place the completed job face up near your player board. Draw a new job to replace the one that was just completed.

You then place a mushroom on the spot shown by the top card on the spell job deck.

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Find the number and terrain shown and place a mushroom.

If the Royal Inspector is revealed, it’s the end of the game.

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3. Get a Spell License.

There is only one spot to do this and it’s at the castle. This is the space with the crown icon.

Pick up and look at the spell license cards and the requirements to complete them. If you have the requirements for one, take it and place it face up in front of you and take the top most royal seal token. If you don’t have the requirements for any of the licenses, put them back in the castle courtyard. Remember what is needed, and go out and try to get that license before the royal inspector shows up.

After the these actions are completed, it’s the next players turn. This goes on until the Royal Inspector is revealed. Then it’s the end of the game and on to scoring.

Scoring

Add or subtract the following from your current game.

Spell License – If you have not collected a license, you lose fame equal to the remaining penalties on the licenses in the castle courtyard. These are cumulative and the more that are there the worse it’s going to hurt.

Royal Seal Bonus – You gain bonus points based on your royal seal. These are all different and can earn you 1 fame per magic icon you have in front of you, or 2 fame per charm in front of you.

Wealth Bonus – Every 2 coins you have earns you 1 fame.

Experience Bonus – Earn fame for each magic icon you have in front of you. The more you have, the more experience and fame you gain.

Add all these items together, and the player with the most fame is the winner.

Final Thoughts

Wizards Wanted is a pleasant surprise, and one reason I should stop being surprised. When I look at mass market games, I usually have low expectations.  This is usually due to expecting low quality production to pump out the games to get to every store.  Then game play sometimes feels fiddly. I think this is usually due to the games that my kids want at the store that have gimmicks. Like catching a flying poo, or making a furry creature jump when you take the wrong carrot, or popping an animal when feeding it too many burgers.

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Let’s talk about components. I think this is where the game first blew me away.  I was not expecting all the included components.  Cards are nice quality, the chits and bits were nicely done.  The spell jobs have funny art and fun titles that fit the game theme wise.  I can see wizards going around trying to get these jobs to gain fame. I mean magicians have to start somewhere to be able to play shows in Vegas. So it makes sense to start with things like birthday parties or getting a cat out of a tree. The pixie dust was a little confusing at first. The different sizes to represent different values is a good idea. I might have only stuck to three sizes and got rid of the smallest size. I can see losing these easily if you’re not careful. The miniatures that are included in the game were not needed, you could have easily done the Candy Land standees. I applaud them with not doing that. I enjoy each miniatures detail and how well it matches with the art style. The don’t feel cheaply done either. Sometimes you get a miniature that just shouldn’t have been done. Not these ones.

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Game play was another surprise for me.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got the game. It was a discounted price at a bargain outlet.  I liked how the movement was done. That if you were running low on pixie dust, you could just move one spot and get paid doing so.  That means though, that you’re moving slower towards that spell job and someone else might reach it first.

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The shenanigans you could pull off with movement. Sure, it was a little confusing at first to figure out how movement worked because there are so many options. Teleportation, birds, mushrooms, birds. Did I mention the bird? I like the bird. It might be because it reminds me of a video game. This game makes it easy to get from one side of the board to the other when you need.  The teleportation stones and adding charms to your player board makes you want to run all around and get those extra fame and coins when doing spell jobs. It’s a race to complete jobs, and it’s a race to complete the right ones for you.

I like the ever changing board with the wandering mountain pixie, the pixie dust market, and the mushrooms added to the board.  I have gone one way just to collect mushrooms when the other way was faster.  I have bought the cheapest option at a pixie merchant just to make the market crash a bit.  I haven’t teleported to the wandering mountain pixie, but I have touched his head to teleport to a stone. The board has a lot going on. It’s easy to get lost between the pixie dust merchants, birds running around, and a goofy pixie with a stone strapped to his head. I personally enjoy when a board is this busy because it means there are plenty of options. Some people might find that it’s overwhelming.

 

Scoring seems like they wanted to throw every bone to you to get a high score. Spell jobs earn you fame, but charms bump that up. Some mushrooms earn you fame.  You royal seal earns you more fame at the end of the game.  Spell license will lose you fame if you don’t get one.  I like that there is a penalty if you don’t get a spell license. Thematically, it makes sense that wizards needs a license, and it ties to how the game ends. I like that it’s the highest score that wins, and not a set condition that someone has to reach.  What I wish was changed though, instead of the last 4 cards the royal inspector is shuffled into, it was bigger range of cards to add to urgency of getting low on spell jobs. Besides that, I liked the scoring.

Overall, Wizards Wanted is a surprise hit for me. I enjoyed all aspects of the game. I don’t look into much for games when I run into bargain prices.  If I would have looked more into this game, I don’t think I would have been surprised. Nick Hayes is the designer, and he has done Spirits of the Wild with Mattel Games. That was an excellent two player game with great components.  I look forward to seeing what else comes from Nick Hayes, and I can recommend this game to anyone looking for a point to point movement game with a changing economy and miniatures. The art and components tacked on are a bonus.

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