Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard Review


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Posted by Grace on Mar 22, 2017

Some games have a dumb premise. In Rock Paper Wizard, you’re a wizard (surprise!) who is trying to grab the most loot in a treasure cave by casting spells. Nothing new there, but here’s the hook: you cast spells by making hand gestures, which I’ve dubbed wizard gang signs. As soon as I heard this elevator pitch, I was in. Perhaps it’s the wannabe role player in me that keeps trying to come out, but any time I can pretend to be a wizard casting spells in a game, I am instantly hooked.

Some wizard gang signs are easier to make than others.

The gameplay of Rock Paper Wizard is so simple that it’s surprising no one has thought of it before. Every round, there is a row of spells laid out on the table. The spell cards are big, making them easy to read and forever angering the fervent card sleevers with their irregular size. Each spell card has a unique hand gesture and ability associated with it. Red cards are attacks, blue cards are movement and defense, and green cards let you acquire gold. The iconography is a bit confusing at first, but you quickly start to figure out what it says, making skimming the cards even easier.

Simultaneously, players say “rock, paper, wizard” and then make the gesture, pointing at an opponent. In turn order, spells are resolved and you steal gold, counter spells, or move your or opponents’ characters forward or backward in the cave accordingly. Do this until someone gets 25 gold and the game is over. If you’ve ever played the popular party game Ca$h 'n Guns, you’ll instantly feel at home in the chaotic targeting and shouting at your friends and loved ones.

PSA: These spells do not work outside of the game. Not that I tried them or anything…

Fans of the Dungeons & Dragons will appreciate the familiar spell names in the game, but you don’t need to know anything about the universe to enjoy the game. Rather, the D&D label is just a cloak with +1 to theming on top of a short party game. Though the game amuses me immensely, it’s got some flaws. For one, the scoring is a little weak and too friendly for my tastes. The friendly ties mean sometimes you feel more “Wow, I didn’t deserve that!” than “Ha-ha! Things worked in my favor!”. Still, it keeps the game moving at a decent pace. A constant back and forth of gaining and losing gold would prolong the whole experience. Any longer and the ridiculous nature of the game would far outstay its welcome. This is a party filler game, not the main event for the evening.

Don’t tell WizKids that I’ve considered replacing the standees with meeples.

Rock Paper Wizard is equal parts random and ridiculous, with a sprinkling of take-that. If you are expecting any level of depth, then teleport yourself back to Hogwarts immediately. The fun in the game comes from laughing at others misfortunes, inability to properly form the hand gesture, and yelling obscenities when someone takes your gold and pushes you out of the cave. I appreciate games that let me be silly for a few minutes and give into some childlike play. Though there is probably some level of amusement in the game for most crowds, someone who is a bit too serious will easily be irritated by the premise and gameplay. So, know your audience with this one. However, as a light, silly filler, this absolutely fits the wizard’s bill. And I mean “silly” in the most flattering way possible. Besides, I can guarantee that this is the best game with wizard gang signs that you’ll ever play.