Mystic Scrolls

We took a good look at our board game collection today and we noticed that we have a lot of fantasy themed games. We decided we have to start gaining more diverse themed games, starting from tomorrow then of course. Because today was still a cheat day with adding Mystic Scrolls! The dices alone sold us already on this game with the beautiful design, but when we saw the gameplay, we knew we had to add it to our collection. On the other hand, with us trying to sort as much by color as possible, we were still in need of a purple box…

How to Play.

For the setup each player chooses a character. There are four characters to choose from and each one of them has their strengths and weaknesses. Also take the starting spell cards from the character you choose and place them faceup in front of you. Take five dices and a stamina counter that can be placed on space 35 of your health. Place the right amount of dices in the middle of the table in good reach of all the players. The number of dices depends on the amount of players participating. Lastly, shuffle the scroll cards and place them in a pile on the table. Place the top card face up and in easy reach of all players. Now you are ready to begin.

The game is played in three phases, starting with the running phase. This round is played simultaneously. All players take their five dices and start rolling at the same time. You can reroll as many of them as often as you like to try and get the matching symbols of the spells in front of you. Once you get all the symbols of a spell you wish to cast in the next phase, take the dices and place them with the matching symbols on the spell. All dices also have to be placed at the same time on the spell, you can’t already place one matching symbol and then try to roll the others. You are welcome to set aside dices with symbols you wish to keep and to only reroll three dices for example. Since you always throw five dices, take any new dices from the supply in the middle of the table. If you have just completed a spell with three matching tornado symbols for example, take three new dices from the supply. If there are not enough dices left, you may shout ‘STOP’. All players then have to stop rolling and casting immediately. Unfinished spells will not be cast in the next round, even if they were just placing the dices on the card. Not finished, is not cast.

You can only cast each spell in front of you, but you can also try and claim the scroll card of the deck on the table. Scroll cards have an unlock cost, which means most scroll cards will need five cards the first time you claim them. But if you manage to claim them, they can cost less dices in the next round. If you want to claim a scroll card, you have to roll all the symbols with the dices and place them at the same time on the card. You then have to shout ‘STOP’ and the running phase will end immediately. You may them take the scroll card and place your new spell in front of you. This will already be cast in the next phase.

Then comes the casting phase, this round may also be played simultaneously, but you can also take turns resolving each cast spell. On the bottom of each spell card, you will find what the card will do once casted. You can heal yourself, or damage other players for example. In the rulebook you can find a good appendix showing what each symbol means. For each completed spell with the right dices on it, you resolve the effect. Start with the healing step and add up all the numbers next to the healing icon. Then move your stamina counter forward for the same amount. Next, count all the damage you cast. Unless a card states otherwise, the damage will go directly to the player on your right. Some spell cards may ask you to also roll a die in order to see how much you heal or attack.

Then it’s the end of the round. If there are any players at this points who’s health is reduced to zero, they are out of the game. They will place all the scroll cards in the discard pile and return their five dices to the box. Also adjust the size of the dice pool to the amount of players again. If this step is resolved, or there aren’t any defeated players, return all but five dices to the middle of the table, discard any unclaimed scroll cards and reveal a new one to begin a new round. The game will end when there is only one player left. He or she will then win the game and will have the knowledge of all of the mystic scrolls!

Playthrough of the game.

Starting our first game, not knowing the iconography that well and not sure yet what to do, we start rolling. We also played this first game with two people who normally don’t play board games. In the first few seconds, Tomasz already manages to cast a spell with his dices and takes new ones from the pile. Then realization starts to sink in with everyone and we all start rolling like crazy. You hear frustrated noises, dices rolling, someone yelling they had this icon already five times rolled, a lot of laughing and a lot of tension. Then there are no more dices to take and we hear someone shouting STOP ROLLING! We then noticed we could breathe and relax again and see what we had actually done. After the first casting phase, we remembered what icon meant damage and what meant healing and we were ready for our second running phase. After a tense countdown, we started rolling for our lives again trying to cast as many spells as we could until the dices would run out.

This was just one of the many fun examples we have had with this game so far. The fight in the first phase is very real, not only for your own spells, but also the scroll spells can be very powerful but also hard to obtain sometimes. We love the chaos and fun in the first phase a lot and we think it’s the best part of the game. The best part is that this game is explained in five minutes and the people we played with that never play board games had a lot of fun with it as well. The components in this game are also of good quality with the most important feature the dices. The design of the dices are really nice and they also roll very good. The icons on the dices are also well readable and have very different colors so you can see very fast what you are rolling. Because of the many scroll cards this game has, it will also be different every time since every scroll card has a different unique spell on it. What we liked as well was that it’s not to much luck based since you can reroll as many dices as fast as you can and there are also spells who only need one or two icons for example. But you can also try to go for the scroll card immediately to and if you succeed in this fast, you will block your opponents since they will have to stop in the moment you claim the card. There are surprisingly many strategies in this game you can use.

Final Thoughts.

Mystic Scrolls is a fast paced dices rolling game where you have to be the last man standing in order to win. With many spells to claim and cast, the game will be different every time. The game is very easy to learn and explain which makes it an excellent gateway game to play with four people for example, but we also loved the game with us two only. The quality of the components and diversity of the cards and spells is really well thought trough and makes it easier and more fun to play. But the game has a surprisingly amount of strategies to try. You could block your opponents with going for the scroll spell in the middle, since claiming this would force your opponents to stop rolling dices, or you can simply try to cast as many spells as you can to attack and heal, before someone shouts ‘STOP’. We absolutely love this game and I even think this is our new favorite gateway game to introduce to people new to board games.

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