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Reiner Knizia is one of the most famous and prolific board game designers of the past. His work spans the '90s classics such as Ra as well as Modern Art, all the way through modern classics such as The Quest to El Dorado and My City. When his name is mentioned in a game new to the market, like Witchstone in which he was co-designer with Martino Chiacchiera, you sit in awe and pay attention.







In the fold-out, large board there are a myriad of bright components. There's an array of wooden witch and owl tokens and two shapes of plastic crystals, one in each one of the four colours for the players. Plastic is often cheap looking, but we know it's low-cost, but stones cut don't cease to have the same appeal, even if they're not real.







The board's own design enhances the theme through the use of one large crystal ball alongside various other items of magic paraphernalia including a wand and pentagram. There's a deck of cards as well, but it's functional but not as extravagant as that on the box and the board. A few sheets of cardboard sprue provide the necessary components. They're durable enough and include a cauldron deck for every player as well as an entire stack of tokens.







Each turn of Witchstone begins by placing one tile from their hand inside their cauldron. The tile are double hexagons with two symbols on either end as well as two icons that show the actions you are able to undertake during your turn. If you're able put a symbol against a matching one already in your pot in the same way, you'll be able to execute that action twice, or more when you're increasing size of the group of icons.







It's clear from the start that this is an intelligent, shifting puzzle to enjoy. You're caught three different ways, between the tiles on your table to take the action you want to make right now and creating symbol groups to take in the future. If you're playing this puzzle properly, these groups will permit you to take large number of actions in the final stages of the game. These huge combos frequently trigger additional actions within them, which makes them challenging thrilling and exciting all at once.







One way to do this is to move crystal tokens. They're a part of your cauldron or block tile spaces, so it's good to eliminate them. If you are able to move them toward the lip of the cauldron you'll get two or more bonuses, depending on the place exactly they end up. Additionally, you can find a black crystal at the centre of the cauldron that gives you double the effects if you get it to the edge.







The two main points of this article are Witchstone. One is the way that all the mechanisms cross paths by the way crystals are bound up with your cauldron strategy. Another issue is that guidelines are not intuitive, confusing and taming io peppered with irritating exceptions.







Although Witchstone contains all the trappings of being a game that is about magic, including its witches, crystals, and owls, it's actually not just about anything. It's just an abstract design encased in a sorcerer's cloak, as a way to mix diverse play styles and mechanics. In addition, while the marriage offers the game plenty of variety and depth, it's also the case that the rules don't match with any real-world activity and are hard to internalize.







Let's take a look at other actions available to show these ideas. Energy actions allow you to have control over connecting spaces between boards. They are leaning into witch actions that mean the ability to move your objects onto the main board and then move them around. In the first place, certain spaces earn tokens which you can use to cash into bonuses. In this way, you can see how the game's mechanisms are interconnected and yet there are also a myriad of rules-of-the-game exceptions, that we won't detail, to learn.







The next two mini-games involve the pentagram as well as the magic wand. Pentagram actions let you move your token through the five points of the board symbol, gaining points or tokens. They can be put into bonuses or added to the cauldron in order to make larger symbol groups. The wand acts as a race to reward bonus actions. the first person to cross certain points in the track will earn twice the amount.







Each of these activities have the potential to earn you points which will help you get closer to winning. Due to the circular nature of each of these paths and interconnect, it's not surprising that Witchstone makes it hard for players to decide where to start to develop a plan. However, it comes with a clever option in its final act and that's the scroll. The scroll allows you to select a single card from a deck of cards that is face-up. Some of these offer incentives for actions while others grant more points by being successful in certain mini-games. They can be a good basis for strategizing.







Games with a myriad of methods to earn points is common. It's so common that there's the specific name given to this style: "point salad." While strategic and deep, they're often complex, static mathematical affairs. It's a fact that Witchstone is a good fit even with its warts and all but thanks to its stunning visual dressing as well as some interesting ingredients like those lively late-game combinations, it is able to stand out from the rest of the pack. If you're new to or are unsure about this genre, Witchstone might just have some magic that draws you in.



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