We've been playing a handful of tabletop card-combat games, because hey, we're working on a card-combat game and it's worth knowing what else is out there. I picked this up half because it seemed appropriate for that and half because it seemed totally awesome.
And by "Totally Awesome" what I mean is that it's a game you can play fast. It doesn't take a lot of time (which is novel for tabletop games), it's art style is rad, and it feels like it was totally targeted directly at me - a late-30-something parent.
I think one of the things I'm looking for is how much of a balance between luck & strategy these kinds of games involve, and from that perspective, this game wasn't super useful because it's really, really different than what we're doing. But it's *fantastic*, and totally worth a recommendation.
First, it's funny. The art's really reminiscent of that old 80's skateboard/hot rod art style, and its' goofy and extreme enough to really convey how absurd the game's supposed to be. Basically, you put together a 3-part spell (Source/Quality/Delivery) out of the cards in your hand - and you end up with a spell with some insane name like "SIR LOOT-ZOR'S EXPLODIFYING NUKE-U-LUR MELTDOWN". Which per the game rules you are required to read in a WIZARDLY voice.
There are a lot of things that affect how effective a spell is - the parts you assemble it from impact the other parts, and speed is a critical factor, so you might, for instance, assemble a two-part spell rather than a three-part spell to gain a speed advantage.
You end up playing a couple rounds, and between each round losing Wizards gain a card that helps them in the next round, so it ends up self-balancing a bit, so if you blow it one round, you can come back the next and hope to win. Crush your opponents for two rounds, and you win.
The thing I really like about ESWBWDAMS is that it's fun. It's charming and irreverent and lighthearted. It feels like if you take it seriously, you're playing it wrong. It's funny, and encourages you to act like a goon casting spells in a WIZARDY voice, and there's enough depth and strategy that you win because you did the right things (and lucked out with some dice rolls).
To get a little wonky, I'm not usually big into "post-luck" - where you choose to do something and then you either get lucky or not. I usually like games that are "pre-luck", where you'd roll a bunch of dice and then make the best of what you have. But in this, it makes thematic sense - you cast a spell, and then it succeeds or fizzles out. It feels "right" for it to be post-luck.
So yeah. Super fun game. Cryptozoic's made some excellent stuff but this might be my favorite of the bunch. Well worth it.
You can get it from Amazon here.