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In ages past the Wizard Kings overthrew and imprisoned the Lord of Death, releasing the world from darkness and evil. For a time the council of Wizard Kings ruled wisely. One Wizard sought supremacy started a violent struggle for power. All the Wizard Kings raised armies from the various races and conjured up strange and powerful beasts.
You are one of the Wizard Kings locked in a desperate struggle to control the world. You command Orcs, Elves or one of the other races. Choose your army, build your fortifications, ready your spells and march to victory.
Wizard Kings includes four full-color geomorphic maps which connect in hundreds of different ways, and two armies--Eldryn Elves and Jurlak Orcs. Based on the outstanding Victory: The Blocks of War game system. Supports two players out of the box; expansions allow for more players.
Columbia has always made excellent games, and Wizard Kings is certainly the most fun of all of their stuff and the most easily grasped. The rules are very modest for this sort of game, only about 6 pages, and the game system is quite coherent, clear, and easy to learn. The game itself is easy to play, fairly small and short (scenarios should easily take less than two hours to play) with lots of action. The blocks both add a tremendous excitement and tension to the game by hiding a lot of information and make the game very visually appealing (and the graphics on all the units are very well done).
What takes it over the top for me, though, is that despite the relative simplicity of the game sysem, Columbia has managed to pack a lot of subtlety into the package. The different armies all have very distinct strengths, weaknesses, and flavors. The play of the game is simple enough to be easily grasped, but not straightforward--always the hallmark of a very good game. Yeah, there are a lot of expansions, but all of them add to the game in good ways and all are recommended (and you don't have to buy any you don't want).
The only criticism of the game is that there is a distinct shortage of different scenarios included, and the basic scenario really isn't very exciting. Fortunately, now that the game has been out for a while, there are quite a few good scenarios available through Columbia's web page and BoardGameGeek which should keep you going for a while.
A final comment is that while virtually all of Columbia's other games are great, they are more strict wargames, and as such won't appeal to a big segment of gamers today. Wizard Kings is certainly a cousin to all those games, but the fantasy theme (as well as the time frame and complexity) seems to make it much more approachable to 'Eurogamers'. So even if you are not a traditional wargamer, check this one out.
Wizard Kings is a fun game. I really like fantasy wargames, and never see enough of them. The maps work pretty well with switching around to add some variety. The different armies and all give a good 'feel' of fantasy combat to the game. The rules seem particularly well written and organized, like an old SPI game.
I do wish, however, that they had not tried to market every add-on separately to jack up the price. Seems to me they should have expansions that add a few races and a map maybe, each time for 10 bucks, rather than nickel-and-diming people who like the game, pretending this is [page scan/se=0534/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Magic: the Gathering or something, which it isn't.
Still, it's a really good game if you like fantasy wargames. By the way, this is not a piddle-around, feel-good game like the many German [page scan/se=0114/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Parchesi types, this is a wargame. Your goal is to fight, so all of you card-trading, victory-point counting, sim-city type players beware. This is a manly game.