Grab your faithful familiar, construct your books of spells, and start the race against the other wizards to win the Annual Grand Rite. This is Spellbook and in our review, we'll have a look at how you play, and if it's any good.
What Is Spellbook?
Spellbook is a tabletop board game where players race to score points by learning spells and storing material on their familiars. Each turn, players move through 3 phases. In the Morning phase, players can take 1 Materia of their choice from a central pile, or 2 random Materia from the pouch.
During the Midday phase, Materia can be placed on the track on your familiar, and in the Evening phase, the right color of Materia can be spent to learn the matching spell. Each spell has 3 different levels, which cost increasing amounts, with increasing abilities.
The game ends when a player learns all 7 of their spells, or the last space on the Familiar track (16) is placed and then players total up their points. Final points are made up of how far they got on their Familiar track and the spells they learned, which are worth varying points depending on the level learned.
How Does Spellbook Play?
Spellbook is an interesting race game, with each player picking up Materia and trying to build up spells, but there isn't a lot of interaction between the players, other than trying to work out how many points they have as you build towards yours.
During the first few games of Spellbook, players use the spell cards with a single star, building up through the 2-star and 3-star spell cards and then randomizing by drawing 1 from the 3 cards of each color for variety in future games. These increasingly stared spells aren't more powerful, just slightly more complex. This variation does make each game different, as you can never be sure which spells will be drawn after the first few set spell games.
The randomness of the Materia draw keeps games interesting. You want to put a Materia on your Familiar each turn, but you don't want to use Materia you use for spells, but you don't know which Materia you're going to draw each turn, and in future turns. You also want to go for the highest spell level when learning a spell as it offers more points at the end and a better ability. But you don't want to hold out for them as you can only learn 1 spell a turn.
How Many Players Does Spellbook Support?
Spellbook can be played with 1 to 4 players. The more players, the longer the game, but other than the time for each player's turn, no more complexity is added for larger player number games. Solo games are played against an increasing points track using the back of one of the Familiar trackers. At the end of each turn, a Materia is placed on the track, and the points start to build up from turn 5.
What Are Our Final Thoughts On Spellbook?
Spellbook isn't a hugely deep game and there isn't a lot of interaction between players, but it is a fun race, with a lot of replayability among the randomized spells. It offers a solid solo mode, which with the lack of player interaction, actually plays the same as a multiplayer game. It's also not an overly long game, which makes it great for filling space between other games, or while you wait for other players to arrive for a game night, or just as a fun icebreaker in a new group as you don't have to worry about picking on another player.
Should I Buy Spellbook?
If the lack of player interaction doesn't bother you, and you're looking for a quick resources race game, then Spellbook is quick to learn and easy to play and plays well with all player numbers between 1 and 4.
The copy of Spellbook used to produce this review was provided by Asmodee UK