Alright, I Want To Cast A Spell
Being a wizard is a pretty common nerdy fantasy. That's basically the entire point of the world's most popular card game after all. Sorcerer is a deck-drafting game from White Wizard which puts you in control of wizards, not just any wizards though, evil wizards! Each player is tasked with destroying two sections of a city before the other player, and they use spells, artifacts, and minions to accomplish this.
The first thing you're probably going to notice when opening the box, once you've popped out all those tokens, is just how well the box itself is designed. There's a huge chunk of space right at the bottom just for storing cards. The space also has separators and a big wedge of foam which not only helps to sort your cards but keeps them from falling over and provides you with a huge amount of excess space for any expansions you might purchase. Aside from that, the dice, tokens and character pieces all have their own spaces too. Very nice.
The rulebook for Sorcerer is also pretty well-made. Thematically it fits the setting, looking like a leather-bound book of spells. Inside the rules are explained in detail, but not so much detail that it gets dull to read. In fact, you can pick up everything you need to know to play within a few minutes of skimming. This is also helped by the fact that the game boards you play on have a cheat-sheet built-in which explains the order of turns and what you need to do during each phase.
Once you get down and actually start playing things start to get interesting. In a good way. At first, it might all seem pretty standard. You have mana to spend on spells, can cast effects, minions or items and have to try and do damage to your enemies side of the board. There are a few key elements of the gameplay which do stand out, but really it is the deck-building that the biggest differences lie.
The different cards in Sorcerer are split into 3 categories, each with 4 different themes each to make mini decks. There's 4 character decks, 4 lineage decks, and 4 domain decks. Each mini-deck comes with a specific mechanic and a player skill that you can use without playing a card during gameplay. You can either draft the different characters, domains and lineages or shuffle the skill cards and randomly assign them to players.
This method of drafting rather than crafting your decks helps to keep things fair and balanced, as well as adding a decent amount of re-playability. There's also some nice flavor added to the game because once you've got all your mini decks selected and shuffled together you also get a specific title. For example: 'Ariaspes, The Necromancer of the Haunted Forest.'. It's a cool element and really makes you feel like an evil sorcerer.
Once you've got your deck put together and you know exactly what sort of evil title you'll use to CRUSH YOUR FOES the game can begin. In the standard version of the game, players alternate taking actions until you both run out of action points to spend. You can raise your mana, draw 2 cards, cast something and move your minions around the field. The field is made up of 3 separate areas, you have to try your best to destroy them before your opponent and you can do this by summoning minions and moving them around the field to attack the different locations.
The different mechanics and themes of the deck types make Sorcerer a pretty intense game to play. Because you and your opponent alternate taking actions, you have a very reactionary sort of gameplay going on. You could plan out all of your moves in advance, but if you fail to take into account what the other player(s) are doing then you might end up getting burnt...literally.
Once both players have taken all of their actions, the game moves into the battle phase. During the battle phase, you cannot use any cards that aren't already on the field. Basically this means that your casting phase becomes prep for your battle phase, and then your battle phase is entirely hands-off. You do have specific abilities which can be used during battle, from both your minions and their equipment but also from your 3 class cards.
The class cards are a pretty omnipresent force throughout each game of Sorcerer. The character, lineage, and domain decks each have their own separate ability cards that remain face-up on the field. They cannot be destroyed or interfered with, and often can really make or break your chances of success. The 4 most important abilities are tied to the different lineages that you can choose from, which also give you the most cards for each deck and have the biggest influence on your deck's theme.
The 4 lineage abilities are key to your victory. They can either buff your creatures, damage your opponent's creatures, or even in the case of the keepers of progeny lineage give you access to an entire secondary resource pool. As you can probably tell these different abilities are insanely useful, and are all pretty well matches up with each other, if you use them right. There's no one power that feels like it outweighs any of the others, and that's pretty much the case with the main cards as well.
No matter what combination of mini-decks you get, you'll end up with a relatively decent deck. This does mean that you need to understand all of the mini-decks and how they work before you can say you've fully mastered the game, but it also makes for more interesting battles because you don't have to concern yourself with an opponent that is overly powerful or has a bad match up. No matter what you or the other players draft, games of Sorcerer tend to be pretty even if all the players are matched in skill.
The bottom line:
Sorcerer is a great card game that provides a fun, quick, well-balanced experience straight over the box. If you're into a well-thought-out storage system, then you might find this game ASMRs you all over the place. The theming and mechanics are perfectly suited for a grim fantasy adventure, and it's always fun to imagine yourself as the bad guy. Plus you get to destroy the streets of London with magical powers. What's not to love?
Get this game if:
-You've always wanted to be an evil wizard.
-You're after a card game with more drafting then deck-building.
-You want a game in which you get a different title each time you play.
-You enjoy a well-balanced game that never feels too one-sided, assuming that your opponent knows what they're doing.
Avoid this game if:
-You're not into dark colors and themes. ;
-You want to be able to directly build your own deck.
-You're not goth enough.
The copy of Sorcerer was provided by White Wizard Games
What do you think of Sorcerer? Will you be trying out the game in the new year? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.