A Wizard did it

A Wizard did it

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Writer_smallerThe Union of Wizards

It’s strange to look back and realise that in over 100 comics we have never featured a wizard. We have had most of board gaming’s staples: zombies, dice, dungeons, Catan, combat, cards, dice, collectibles, expansions, war, Shia LeBeouf. But oddly, no wizards. Or mages & clerics, as I gather they are more commonly known now.

I guess there a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, neither Aileen nor myself ever did any roleplaying. In fact, Fiasco is as much as we have ever done. So we don’t have that grounding in D&D that is very common to gamers of our age, who would have been weaned on swords, magic and D20s.

Secondly, once we leave the grounded realm of trading, settling, economics and historical settings, we both tend more towards sci-fi than fantasy. This is broadly true in our other interests as well: reading, TV, video games, dressing up like aliens and pretending our couch is a spaceship. That kind of thing.

As good a game as Descent is, it never grabbed us until Fantasy Flight put it in a Wookie suit and called it Imperial Assault. The same with Mage Knight: now that it’s had some pointy ears glued on to make it look like a Vulcan, we’re all over it. Theme is just too important to both of us. A game needs good mechanics, obviously; otherwise, it would never cross our table. But that alone is never enough. Its setting, its world, the story it tells has to interest us as well. Gaming is more than just sitting around a table rolling dice and playing cards. It’s weaving stories with our friends. It’s creating characters and worlds. It’s that unique alchemy where cardboard, dice and cards become something so much more. And that something is the experience of playing games and creating stories. It is, ironically, magical. Almost as if a wizard is always involved, regardless of setting.

We are hoping to do more roleplaying in the future, so it does seem likely that this will put us in touch with our bearded side. Will this be enough to keep the Wizard’s Guild off our backs? Time will tell. Right now, I think it’s more important that we keep the Zombies Union from sending around a representative. Took us weeks to get the gore out of our carpet the last time that happened.

12 Comments on A Wizard did it
  • Ben Thorp

    Have you not even played Lords of Waterdeep?!?

    • No …
      I have heard very mixed things about that, though, so it wouldn’t be high on our list. Having said that, I do think I know someone with a copy. The closest we have is Welcome to the Dungeon (which is very fun, but also super, super light) and Alchemists, which is totally fantasy, but we almost never play because of the set-up and the what the calculations involved in playing do to my head. It’s not pretty.
      I guess there are probably a lot of fantasy staples we have never played…

      • Micheál Coyne

        Had similar issues with Abyss, where the theme seemed so inconsequential that it almost spoilt my enjoyment of a solid game. I’ve no D&D background either but didn’t hold that against Lords of Waterdeep – the art and flavour text weren’t that fantasy-based, and I didn’t know the connection until a few fun rounds.

      • Jonathan

        Mixed things about Lords of Waterdeep?! That game is (IMHO) fantastic! I
        think we’ve introduced the game to about 4 people… all of whom ended
        up getting a copy for themselves. If you get a chance to try it, you
        should!

        • That’s some pretty high praise. I’m actually fairly sure one of the guys we play with has a copy, so I will try and get a play in, try it first hand.

  • Dexter Ó Thuithear

    Agreed. Theme is massive, and I’m not a fantasy head at all. The closest I’ll get is Munchkin, and even that’s a rare play. Sci-fi is king in our house, and while the better half won’t touch X-wing with a barge pole (boooo), we’ve played countless games of Star Fluxx as it’s our go-to “let’s bring…” game. Catan wasn’t even interesting to us until we saw the Trek version (still hoping for a TNG version…).

    The moment I really realised this was such such a big thing for me in chosen games was when I played Avalon for the first time, having previously played Resistance. I just wasn’t enjoying it at all, and it was partially the theme. Granted, I’m not crazy about those style of games based around quiet collusion and loud accusation anyway, but I could at least usually enjoy a quick game of Resistance before something else. Something about Avalon never sat right with me, though. Maybe it was the character power cards, or but it felt like pure theme stopping my enjoyment.

    • Funnily enough, I used to read a lot of fantasy novels, but these days it’s all sci-fi all the time. I don’t mind fantasy at all, but it just doesn’t grab me the way sci-fi does. And theme is not just dressing, it is integral to the game.
      (ended up going to the Dublin regionals with a Ghost/Biggs list. Placed better than I did in Limerick, but still outside top twenty. Had a blast, though. Might be sticking with Rebels for a while now. So much fun to be had with putting together synergistic squads)

      • Dexter Ó Thuithear

        The better half is a huge Pratchett fan, and it’s an element of Fantasy that has seemed vaguely intriguing (though not enough to actually read the books). As a result, the Guards! Guards! game has been on my radar for a long time. One of these days I’ll pull the trigger on it.

        Ghost/Biggs is genuinely good, though unless you can pull down a ship in the first turn or two, it’s a tough struggle from there on. Rebels do have some options, but they’re really struggling in the competitive meta. Dash is still really good, and there’s a lot of room for Miranda doing nasty things with bombs, too. Synergistic builds are the Rebels thing for sure, but Scum are becoming nicely synergistic too, albeit more in crew stuff. The Party Bus build is example numero uno of that!

  • Sven_the_Berzerker

    Princess Leia borrowed Obi Wan’s “wizard robe”, so you _sort of_ had a wizard 😉

    • Oh snap, you’re right! Well spotted! I’ll get onto the Wizard’s Guild immediately and demand an apology, and also a goat reversal spell. Typing with hooves is a serious pain.
      Baaahhh.

  • wr00t

    +1 member to the sci-fi junkies club 😉