Fantasy Wizard is a game by Ken Fisher, published by U.S. Games System. It is for 3-6 players. In this game, players will be playing the classic game of Wizard. Basically, each player will try to predict the number of tricks that they will win in each round. If they are able to guess right they will earn points. The player that ends the game with the most points will be declared the winner.
To begin, all the cards are shuffled together and each player is dealt a card. This number will increase each consecutive round. For example, on the 3rd round each player will be dealt 3 cards. Depending on the number of players, there will be between ten to twenty rounds of play. The less players, the more rounds per game. Once the cards have been dealt for that round, the top card of the deck is flipped face up onto the table. This card will determine the trump color for that particular round. If a Jester is revealed, there is not trump color for the round. If a Wizard is revealed, the dealer chooses the trump color. From this point, the game begins.
On a player’s turn, they will look at their card(s) and try to predict how many tricks they will win that round. It’s best to use some type of marker(s) in front of the player to help remember the prediction number. From here, the first player will play the first card of the first trick. All the other players must play a card of the same color if possible. If they can’t they can play any other card or a trump card. The trump card will win against any other card from different colors. Wizards and Jesters can be played any time and they will always beat a trump card. Jester cards never win a trick. The highest played card will win that trick and will place all the card played in a pile in front of himself. That player will now start the next trick. This continues until all the cards from the player’s hands are gone. This will begin the next round. New cards are drawn based on the number of the round being played. Predictions are made again and play continues. The game ends when the deck of cards has been emptied.
This takes us to scoring. For each correct prediction, the player gets 20 points plus 10 additional points for each trick he took. If the player’s predictions were wrong, they lose 10 points for each trick over or under the prediction. In the end, the player with the most points wins.
For this version of the game, there aren’t a lot of components. There is a scorepad that’s nice for keeping track of everything. However the main attraction for this game is the cards. The artwork on them is beautiful. There is such a great fantasy theme feel on each one. The cards are sturdy enough for lots of repeated play. Once again, the production value was very high for this game. I love just looking at the cards. The only real thing that I felt was missing would have been some little plastic markers or cardboard chits of some kind to place in front of each player to keep up with their predictions. The scorepad is nice but it’s a bit of a pain having to constantly remind each player what they guessed each round. Not a major downfall, just a minor irritant.
8 out of 10
The rulebook is actually more of a rules scroll for this game. It’s very nicely done and explains everything very well. There’s nothing that’s hard to read or understand here. It has a few nice pictures on it and several examples of gameplay and scoring to help you out. I think it’s also really nice that for non traditional card game players, it explains terms like tricks and trumps. The scroll is full color and fits in with the theme very well. Very nicely done.
9 out of 10
This game is really simple and easy to play. It doesn’t take that long to play either. I like how easy this game can feel more like a take that kind of game. Later on in the game, you can really set it up so that the other player wins or loses those tricks to make them get negative points. In the beginning, I’d say most of the game is based on luck. However the longer you play, the more strategy it takes. I love the simplicity of this game. It’s really a fun game to play
9 out of 10
Fantasy Wizard is a light game of predictions and trick taking. The cards are truly amazing to look at. The game is lots of fun. It plays quickly with about a 30-45 minute play time. Anyone that likes traditional card games like Rummy, Rook or Spades should really enjoy this one. The fantasy theme isn’t really all that deep here. It’s mostly painted on, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I loved looking at the cards as I played. For me, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the game nearly as much without this particular theme included. I definitely recommend giving it a try. I had a lot of fun with it and I’m sure you will too.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out U.S. Games System at their site.