Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 3-6
Amount of time to play: 45 min
Age requirements: 13+
Set-up time: 5 min
Wizard’s Brew is an auction game with spells and the four elements. You must collect a certain number of ingredients before your opponents to win.
In Wizard’s Brew you must bid energy to cast spells that get you elements. You then use your elements to bid on ingredients, based on the number of players.
You begin the game with one of each element type, earth, air, fire and water and ten energy cubes. You also get two spells that you can keep or discard to draw new ones. After setting the amount of energy you want to place on the spells you are ready to begin.
Each round you auction as many cards as there are players one at a time. These auctions only go one round and you bid energy cubes. If you win you place as many cubes on the spell as you bid. The winner then takes the first player marker and draws the next card for auction.
Most spells get you elements and an additional effect. Some spells save you element cards when bidding, others give you greater flexibility when bidding on ingredients and some get you more elements based on your ingredients.
After auctioning the spell cards you collect your elements and the first player rolls the die. This roll lets you know how many locations you will be collecting ingredients in this round. Most locations start with two ingredients in them while the four city areas begin with three.
When you bid in a location there is an element token there. This represents the only element cards you can bid with in that area. Auctions for ingredients are multi-round and end once there is a high bidder. City areas are different in that you can bid with all your element cards in the city. When you win an auction in a location you take one of the ingredients there. You also get to move the horse marker one space to mark the location of the next auction.
Once you have traveled to as many locations as you rolled on the die the round is over. Spells cost a certain number of energy cubes and you now remove cubes from the spell equal to its cost. If the spell card is empty you discard it.
Next you start another round be auctioning spell cards for energy cubes. This continues until someone collect enough ingredients to win the game.
Wizard’s Brew is a fun, quick auction game that takes some strategy and luck to win. The game can be easily taught and new players should grasp the concepts quickly.
The components of the game are very good. The art fits the theme well and everything is durable. The rules are easy to read and follow too. I love the box insert as it contains a spot for everything.
The first thing I like about the game is the interactions between the energy, spells and elements. You need to manage your resources well. Energy not used feels wasted and picking up spells helps you get elements. You’ll want to put more energy on the more useful spells or spells that work well together.
The game scales pretty well but also is great for three players. Finding a good three player game can be tough. This one has no kingmaker in it and usually comes down to the wire.
The length of this game is dead on. It doesn’t overstay its welcome or end too quickly. You should be done with a game in 45 min to an hour and that is just right.
I do wish it scaled better. I love it with three players but with five or six there is a lot of information to be aware of. You need to know what spells your opponent’s have and remember how they’ll affect the game. This is less of a problem once you know the game and spell cards better, but with new players it can overwhelming.
Also since it is a card game it can be swingy and random. Some spells are better than others and some spells in combination are very powerful. Since you don’t see all the spell cards that will be bid on you might bid on a sub par card or only have a sub par card to bid on.
Despite not being perfect Wizard’s Brew is a fun, auction game. Managing the two types of auctions and your resources makes for a fun experience. If you like auction games you should pick this one up. Even if you are not wild about auctions games you should try this one. One of my friends does not like auction games and found this fun. If you want a go to three player game you should give this a try.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 5 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6