The spirit of Merlin has been trapped in an Oak tree by an evil sorceress. To release him and become his successor you must complete a series of challenges, thus proving yourself to be a Master Wizard.
Move through the maze, collect the magical items, cast spells and perform tasks to accquire wizardological accessories.
But be careful,your opponents will be prepared to use cunning strategy and magic in their attempts to defeat you and win the game.
2-6 players, aged 8 to adult
I have never played any of the other -ology games available. The rules were very long and involved and took a great deal of quite in-depth explanation to get the flow going. The tokens you play wih are moulded plastic figures with great detail and additional pieces are also crafted well. The game play is unique in that there is no set direction. Using different tasks to complete the game was cool. They were hard enough to be challenging, but not so hard they turned you off playing. The elements were the basis for the challenges and there were other magic styles to pick up and try.
In short, a litle painful in the learning stage, but I am sure, given enough time, a more flowing gameplay can be achieved.
OK, I don't want to be harsh here, because there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this game... but I found it a bit tedious after nearly an hour of running around the board and ending up back at square 1 (the center circle) so many times I lost count. The game itself has some interesting twists and turns... literally... you'll understand better when you read about the Wind Knot card.
The tests in each of the Elemental Spirit Chambers are quite nifty... simple enough the kids can easily give them a go, but luck-based enough that no-one has an unfair advantage from age, experience or any real skill set. This is a real platform-leveller which makes the game appeal to a larger age range.
The big downside to the game is the lengths it can go to... especially with only 4 players, and a lot of 'False Prophecy' cards, and some mean senses of humour. If you want to speed the game up a bit, I would suggest the following modifcations be done before starting play...
• Deal out 1 - 3 random 'Magical Item' cards... if for no other reason than at least it means ANYONE can be a valid target of card-stealing.
• Deal out 1 - 2 random 'Phoenix Feather' cards... again with the whole 'something there to steal' aspect, plus also the ability to jump around a bit more to avoid getting stomped so easily.
• Remove all the 'False Prophecy' cards, then put back only 1 or 2 of them to limit their numbers.
If these modifications are done, the game can be made a lot more enjoyable, and possibly quite a bit shorter... it will actually be able to end before you start to collect your pension!
Overall, this game holds a lot of promise, and I think that with the right set of players, it would be an all-night winner. Nothing at all like Dragonology in looks, playing style or themes, I found this a refreshing difference from the usual run-of-the-mill run-around-collecting-pieces style boardgame... just not really a hit with the group of players we had that night, as it was getting quite late by the time we started, so only had less than an hour to learn it and then try to play it. Next time will be a much improved setting methinks.
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