Wizard Review

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The Fantasy Trip WizardThe Fantasy Trip Wizard Review

The Fantasy Trip Wizard Review by David Lent

Stop! Read my review of Wizard’s sister game Melee here before reading this review, because I will not be repeating any information here that was already covered in the Melee review. This review will just cover the differences between the two games and will be very short.

Wizard is the sister game to Melee. Melee is an individual combat system with melee and hand-to-hand combat rules, while Wizard provides spell-casting rules. Wizard can be played with Melee or alone. If you want a complete roleplaying game, check out The Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition.

The components in Steve Jackson’s re-release of Wizard are very similar to Melee’s. The counters are die-cut and represent wizards, monsters, walls of flame, animals, fantasy creatures, weapons, etc. Wizard’s map is wider than the map in Melee, but has shaded areas that represent tunnels. It also includes a 24-page rulebook and a reference sheet. The reference sheet is very useful, because it lists all the spells and a dexterity adjustment table along with stats for all the monsters and animals.

Character creation in Wizard is very similar to Melee. However, this game uses IQ in addition to strength and dexterity. IQ is the number of spells a wizard may know and the maximum spell level they can choose from. In addition, your IQ determines how well you can resist illusion and control spells. You have 32 points to build a character with and a minimum of 8 must go into strength, dexterity and IQ. That leaves 8 points to customize your character.

After a character’s stats have been created, you must choose the spells that wizard will know. There are missile, thrown, control, creation, image and illusion spells.

The most notable missile spell is fireball, which does D6-1 damage for every strength point used to cast it. This spell can kill your opponent outright if you spend enough strength points. However, if you miss you will have very little strength left.

Thrown spells act directly on a character or object, but do not do damage. They can create slippery floors, make a character invisible or give him stone flesh, which resists damage.

Control spells take over the targets mind and make him follow your commands. They either target humanoids or beasts. A controlled character will do anything you ask except kill itself or attack a creature that is more than twice it’s strength. If ordered to do either of these, the creature gets a savings throw to attempt to break the spell.

Creation spells create walls, fire, wolves or images and illusions. Fires damage any creature in that hex on the turn it was cast. In addition, animals and low IQ creatures will not enter that hex. Images and illusions are what make this spell casting game unique. Images just look like something they are not and may not fight. If it is hit or touches something it is dispelled. However, illusions not only look like something, but they can do anything the creature they represents could normally do as long as the enemy “Believes” the illusion is real. If a successful disbelieve roll is made, the illusion is gone. I really like how this game seems to focus more on images and illusions than most spell casting games.

Spells in Wizard use up strength to cast. If your strength points drop to zero after casting a spell, you are unconscious. Otherwise, if they drop to -1 your character is dead. In addition, you lose strength points whenever another character does damage to you.

Wizard is a fun game by itself, but it really comes into its own when combined with Melee. When combined, these two games make a very rich fantasy combat system. Wizards and fighters work together well and it’s far easier to take on a giant or dragon with both classes than with just one class alone. I recommend this game, but highly recommend that you combine it with Melee.

Buy your own copy of Wizard here.

View the components in the First Look video below:


  • Easy to learn
  • Plays fast
  • Characters can level up
  • Has a diverse collection of creatures to fight against
  • Characters can be customized
  • Illusions and images are focused on more in this game than other spell casting games


  • Fireball can end a fight too fast


Rulebook Clarity - 7
Fun - 8
Originality - 7
Component Quality - 7
Replayability - 7.5
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