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The Witches Board Game Review

The Witches Board Game

“The Witches” is a poor follow-up to the acclaimed “Discworld: Ankh-Morpork.”

At one point during a gaming session with my girlfriend (who is a staunch “Discworld” fan), she exclaimed “What is the point of this game?” As the game ended, I had to wonder the exact same thing.

Like many board gamers, I was a fan of the previous Martin Wallace designed “Discworld” game “Ankh-Morpork.” Rather than crafting another challenging and strategic game based in the “Discworld” universe, however, Wallace takes a big step backwards with the repetitive, simplistic, lazy and rushed “The Witches.”

Right off the bat, it’s clear that “The Witches” offers little to no strategy as each player follows a brief set of rules: 1. Pick one of four witch character cards (each of which has one special ability). 2. Draw a card (and place it in the used pile) to determine where to place a tile on a location on the Lancre map board. If the card names a location with a tile already there, then you put a Crisis Counter on it (which adds 2 points to the difficulty level). The number of tiles needing to be played in a single game depends on the number of players. 3. Use the witch hat game piece to walk or fly to a location to either have tea, solve a problem, or do nothing. 4. Try to solve an easy or hard problem tile by rolling dice. 5. Use a card or cards from your hand to help aid you in your quest to solve a problem. 6. End your turn by drawing a card (or cards) for your hand.

Now, granted, there is a little bit more to the game than that, but that is the general dull routine. The other aspects of the game mainly involve cackle counters, crisis counters and Black Aliss tiles which all prove to be obstacles in trying to win the game or solve a problem. Further problems can arise if a player is unable to solve a problem (the consequences of being unable to solve a hard problem are mentioned in the instruction booklet). The game ends when either A. All tiles are placed. B. All Crisis counters are gone from the pile or C. 3 Elven cards are face-up. Whoever has the most victory points (indicated on the bottom left number of the problem cards) wins the game.

While the obstacle aspect of the game may sound challenging, it really isn’t. In the games I played, I never once failed to solve a problem. Between the 4 dice rolls and the cards in hand, you’d have to have really poor luck to not solve a problem. Of course, solving hard problems is more difficult than solving easy problems, but you could conceivably play several games without needing to solve many hard problems (unless you want to take that risk). As a result of the game’s relative ease, the fun quotient is fairly low. Unlike say “Summoner Wars” or even “Discworld: Ankh-Morpork,” “The Witches” is not the type of game that demands to be replayed. There’s just enough here to warrant repeat gameplays as it’s a very formulaic game.

On the plus side, the game is visually stunning. Like “Ankh-Morpork,” the artwork on the cards, tiles, and especially the detailed map board is absolutely first rate. The art really does transport you into the fictional and magical country of Lancre. It’s just a shame that level of artistry and work didn’t go into the game mechanics as well.

Note: It should be noted that the instruction booklet is a bit of a mess. There are a number of typos throughout, a few vague explanations about certain elements of the game (such as the card drawing at the start of every turn) and even a left out mention of the purple hexagon victory points. The booklet makes the game seem more difficult than it really is which might be incredibly frustrating for people learning the game.

November 30, 2013 - Posted by | Game Review | , , , ,

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