Witless Wizards – Gambling Gandalf Gets Ganked

Continuing our headlong slide into the world of tabletop gaming we’ve got Drawlab Entertainment’s push-your-luck card game Witless Wizards which is live on Kickstarter now. For this article we received a preview copy that was used at the 2018 UK Games Expo. Similar to an Early Access preview, everything is subject to change and the final product may be completely different to what we discuss here.

Witless Wizards is a tough game for me to review. Normally I like my cards games to be either very tactical or casual party games, with the middle ground sort of serving as a no-man’s land. Witless Wizards has unfortunately found itself out in that no man’s land in the ruins of an old burned out CCG with no sign of backup or extraction to be found. Luckily for it I was forced to give it more than a few games, something earlier tabletop games were not so fortunate to have. And after a few games I’ve realised there is some hidden depth to Witless Wizards.

Originally we tried Witless Wizards as a two player game as it says 2 – 4 players. Don’t make that mistake. The core mechanic of Witless Wizards is its press-your-luck drawing. Each turn you draw a card and choose whether to keep it or pass it to another player. Any card you get, either from yourself or another player, must be equipped on your wizard regardless of whether its better or worse. Then you draw a second time and if you gave the first card away, you have to take the second or vice versa. After that, you pick a player, roll the dice, and see how much damage you do. It’s simple and occasionally difficult but never really makes it into either camp for me.

Its theme of senile old wizards trying to remember their spells in the middle of a magic duel is really funny and provides loads of content in a sort of Merlin vs Madam Mim kind of way but for some reason all of the cards are items. Blunderbusses, Nunchuka, Breastplates, Jetpacks, and Banners. Where are the spells? This feels more like a competitive dress up. Like PUBG without the random deaths.

The art for the cards is however quite good and we did get a few chuckles from “ooh, a light sword!” and the “chicken protector”.

Witless Wizards, while mostly focusing on the push-your-luck aspect does still have a strategy element but its hindered by the strange choice to restrict you to only interacting with the players to your left and right. There may be some reason for this that was discovered in early playtesting but as an outsider it baffles me.

However, with everything being said, Witless Wizards is not fully intended for me. It’s meant more as a gateway game to those who are new to the hobby or as filler game on game night and by putting into that situation (we played it while waiting for a couple players to finish levelling up their D&D characters) Witless Wizards actually shone. With its 15 – 20 minute play time, simplistic rules, and fast rounds it really did serve its purpose well and was finally able to make a mad dash from its no-man’s land bunker to the relative safety of the casual game trenches. Though with Cards Against Humanity recently wearing out its welcome and getting sent over the top, I’m not sure it should get too comfortable.

Game Details:
2 – 4 Players
15 – 20 Minutes
Ages 10+
$19 (£15)

Witless Wizards can be found on Kickstarter HERE