When I was young,
I was not allowed to watch TV nor read books about magic and magic-related themes. I did it anyway. YES, I was a rebel. Sneaking up at 5:30AM to catch an episode of the magical girl, Sailor Moon, or creeping into the parent’s room while they cooked to catch some Cardcaptors (pun not intended at first, but now I INTEND it). I always had a fascination with magic and crazy worlds that surrounded it. Mind you I am NOT talking about Wicca, but about the fantastical magic. You know, energy beams shooting out of your hands, the ability to shapeshift, flying around on brooms, the whole shebang. I also specifically loved Japanese magical folklore. I read a lot of manga growing up, and just wanted so bad to be magical. Don’t get me wrong, I still do.HOWEVER now that I have fully engulfed myself into the world that is board games AND now that I am a grown up and I can watch and read and play whatever the hell I want, I have found myself fully drawn to the magical and mystical board games that exist in the community. Below is the beginning of what will be a very long list, I’m sure, of games I enjoy or would enjoy having the chance to try. Let me know of any suggestions you may have for some magical games!
I think all magical lists start with this one. A game which brings you into the world of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter via deck-building, HP:HB is a game split into seven “books,” or levels. Each level plays the same way, with some mild variation or addition here and there. Players may play as Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville (why Neville and not, I don’t know…Ginny, I’ll never know), and use their specific character decks to attack Death Eaters and obtain more spells and magical objects to add to their decks. Each book is more difficult than the last, and eventually, you must face You-Know-Who and attempt to destroy him. I really liked this game when I first acquired it, but after playing over and over, it became monotonous. It just needs a little boost, I think, to bring its replay value up. Which brings me to my next game…
An expansion releasing…Soon? Monster Box of Monsters is an expansion which adds a fifth character (unfortunately it does not make the game five-player compatible), Luna Lovegood. It mentions frequently in the description of the game on BoardGameGeek that monsters and the Forbidden Forest play a big part of this expansion, but that’s basically all we know. At least, that’s all I know, since I’m not on the up-and-up with USAOpoly. Get it together, people!
Broom Service is a very cool game in which players are choosing between witches, gatherers, and the like to play from their hand to collect resources, while at the same trying to determine whether their opponents will be playing the same card or not. When a player plays a card it’s either brave, or cowardly. Brave cards get more resources, but may be deactivated for the round if another brave card of the same type comes out to play. The game has magical storm clouds and wands and even a weather fairy! A fun deduction game with some hand management involved, this game did not disappoint to be magical.
Cauldron: Bubble and Boil is a game currently on Kickstarter, for which I had the privilege of recording a learn to play video. Players are witches deciding whether to use the cards in their hand as recipe cards, parts of a garden to “grow” resource cubes for their potion recipes, or as spells to hex their opponents, and sometimes themselves. Players accumulate resource cubes throughout the game into their cauldron, but may not look into their cauldron until the end of the game. A hand-management, point-salad type game with a little memory involved, Cauldron has been a game I really enjoy, and find to be very accessible. We are all witches and wizards, here!
Similar in name but not in mechanics to the previous game, Cauldron Master is a set collecting game in which players choose a witch to activate each turn to collect ingredients, trying to both collect like ingredients to complete cauldron capacities, but to also complete a randomly assigned recipe to earn bonus points. I played this game during its prototype stage, and WOW, is it amazing to see the art applied and gameplay completed. An awesome filler game for 2-4 players.
That was my list of five magical games I have played or wish to play. As mentioned before, I love all things magical, and can’t wait to hear about the magical games you’ve played that I should try! I encourage you to share your favorites, and I love hearing about magical games from independent designers and publishers. To end, I simply share a question and answer with you:
When do I enjoy magic in my life?