Epic Spell Wars Of The Battle Wizards: Rumble At Castle Tentakill
Warning! This review may contain some objectionable content! Read at your own risk!
If you want to skip to the "How to Play" video you can find it at the bottom of this article
Rumble at Castle Tentakill is the sequel to the popular Epic Spell Wars Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre and it works as an expansion to that game or can be played as a standalone game. The game will have you take on the role of a powerful immortal wizard locked in fierce eternal combat with other wizards, the last wizard standing is the victor!
Gameplay is fast paced, off the wall, and very very humorous, especially if you have a slightly warped sense of humour.
The main thing that sets this game apart from the large crowd of quick, easy, “gross out” games like cards against humanity, that seem to be popping up everywhere nowadays is the artwork. Each card is meticulously illustrated with tons of zany action going on in the background. The art is extremely colorful and is similar in style to Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors cartoons but don’t be fooled into thinking that this game is for children. There are many hyper violent and disgusting images that are not even appropriate for most adults. That is kind of the point of the game. Epic Spell Wars is not out to wow you with advanced gameplay mechanics or heavy strategy. It wants you to kill your friends in the most ridiculous, horrific way possible and to have all of you laughing hysterically as you do it. And it succeeds quite well. The creations are far more unique than your standard fart and butt humour that most other games of this type offer which I feel sets it ahead of the curve of games like Evil Baby Orphanage and the wildly popular Cards Against Humanity.
The gameplay is very quickly paced and allows for a high level of player interaction. Each player will take an 8 card hand and assemble a spell of up to three components using those cards. The cards can have an awful lot of random effects and typically deal more damage as you add components to them. However, having too long of a spell can cause too long of a delay for it to take effect and you might get killed before it goes into effect. Judicious play of your cards can be more important than dealing the most damage each turn. This is probably the one bit of strategy that can be found in this game since most of the time you are at the mercy of randomness.
The first player to win two rounds of the game is the winner and the game usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. It should be noted, however that if your group takes a heavy “gang up on the leader” strategy a game can take a little longer because the game rewards spreading the damage around a little bit and requires a lot of thought to target one person. Things move along much quicker and get way more fun when people are attacking willy nilly.
There is some player elimination in this game but it is not too bad since rounds go pretty quickly and the longer that you are out the more bonuses you get from dead wizard cards. Each turn you miss due to being dead you will get to draw a dead wizard card that gives you a special bonus in the next round. This keeps scores even throughout the game and insures that no one has a run away victory.
This expansion adds a lot of new material to the Epic Spell Wars game that previously did not exist.
First off every “Delivery” Component in this game features a new “Creature” subset. Creatures are grotesque monsters that have random effects based on a dice roll. They also have the potential to stay around and continue to deal damage on subsequent turns which is pretty unique in this game since nothing tends to stick around too long in Epic Spell Wars. Especially the wizards!
The “Blood” mechanic is also a new feature in this incarnation of the game. If you kill a wizard or use some certain spells in the game you will collect blood which can be used as a resource to power up your spells and make them more deadly. This adds even more gruesomeness to an already pretty deranged game.
The standee, which is a fairly iconic staple in most Cryptozoic games finally is given a use in this game. The owner of the standee, which represents the dreaded Castle Tentakill, can also be used to power up your spells and give you an extra blood resource. Think of it as an added king of the hill variant to gameplay.
Finally the game adds a death curse to the mix. If you die before your spell activates you may be able to play a spell as a reaction. Allowing you to stick your tongue out as you deal out a little damage to the player that just killed you.
I think this game is definitely worth picking up for the price that Miniature Market is carrying it for at $20.70 (http://www.miniaturemarket.com/catalog/product/view/id/44296/s/cze01633/) If you want something that is just pure fun, weird and gross and fast paced this is an excellent option. I have not played the first in this series of games so therefore can not speak to its effectiveness as an expansion, but it plays very well as a stand alone. My biggest concern is that the comedy will wear off after a few plays and the gameplay is not good enough to stand on its own after the magic of the theme wears off. The inexpensive price tag however, does make that a little less of a concern and since this franchise has been very successful it is likely that more expansions will come out in the future to freshen it up. My suggestion would be to get this game and then trade it at a convention or on board game geek when it starts to become stale.
If you are interested in seeing a full gameplay video that will teach you the game and give you an idea of whether this is a game that you and your group will enjoy, check out the video below!
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Note: I did make a few mistakes in the video. First off I accidently knocked Kitty Purringon’s health down, by a lot. Sorry, Sir Purrington. Also you cannot target yourself as a foe. You are not your own worst enemy. I did not immediately do Riggy’s treasure ability. that would have gained him the standee and possibly some blood. Finally you gain a dead wizard card for each round you are out. We only had one round before the battle ended so I did not get to show that.