Theme and What is it?
Enchanters is a card drafting strategy game in which you strive to create the most powerful enchanted item imaginable to help you defeat monsters and subsequently get points to eventually win the game.
Sounds epic right? Keep reading!
Card drafting and deck building are some of my favourite mechanics especially when done right or mixed with other mechanics. Unfortunately Enchanters focuses on the card drafting side of the game to such an extent there really isn’t much else going on. You have no hand to manage and for the most part you have no abilities to help you through your adventure (there are a couple of exceptions to this but they are few and far between)
You begin the game with nothing but your fists, a basic enchantment (place holders) and a row of cards in front of you where you’ll adventure. You also randomly select a village that will give each game some small variance when it comes to rest actions. I’ll explain more about that in a second.
Each turn you can either adventure or rest. When you adventure you choose a card from the row in front of you, the first spot in the row is free but if you want to skip that card to get something better down the row you need to pay one crystal for every space you skip. In doing this you’ll begin to amass a potentially stronger and stronger weapon with powerful enchantments attached.
Each time you take a card the row moves down and a new card is drawn. Eventually monsters will start appearing and you better hope you’ve chosen your items well as you will eventually need to fight them to get the points you’ll need to win.
If you can’t afford to buy an item or fight a monster this round you can rest. Each village will give you a different benefit for resting, normally good but sometimes with negative effects. For the most part when you rest you’ll either gain crystals or life, both of which are crucial for a crystals get you items and any damage you take as the game continues goes down as negative points at the end if the game.
The game ends once the deck and the adventure row have been completely exhausted.
The game play is simple and ticks along nicely with very little down time at all. There is no analysis paralysis involved in this game as the options are clear and minimal for each turn. Take an item, fight a monster or rest. Easy.
But is it too simple?
Game Build Quality
All of the cards, villages and player aids are all of the highest quality. They have all been given a silk finish and you can really tell the game producers really wanted to make this game look and feel special. The tokens are of a fairly standard card stock but they fit their purpose.
The artwork in Enchanters is outstanding, I applaud the creative designers for the keeping the items and enchantments consistent in theme and the same goes for the monsters and dragons too. They all feel unique but all fit into the same universe without question.
My personal experience of Enchanters couldn’t really be defined as “fun”. It felt like we were just going through the motions and more often than not your next turn was pretty much being dictated to you by the action the previous player just took. They either left you with something good to pick up or you were faced with possibly lessening your current weapon or enchantment, fighting a monster and taking more damage than you wanted or resting in a turn that would possibly help out your opponent in the long run.
Also there is almost zero player interaction, most of the “ take that” mechanics built into the game happen by accident as a consequence of picking up a specific item or beating a specific monster. You didn’t plan for it to happen, it just happened to be your next logical move.
Age Range & Weight
The designers have recommended 14+ but I’m pretty sure I could teach this to my 5yr old in about 5 minutes and she would easily grasp the mechanics. There is nothing in the art or gameplay that would justify an age restriction so I would personal think its ok for pretty much any age range.
I truly wanted to love Enchanters! The art work is stunning and the product quality is outstanding but the game its self has been boiled down to such a simple format that I can’t see me bringing this back to the table. It also fits in between categories as almost a filler but with a slightly longer play time meaning you still have to put a decent chunk of time aside to play especially if you play with 4 players.
Also, I appreciate the fact that the designers created 6 decks and all the decks aren’t used in each gam meaning the combinations of items will always be slightly different, the fact of the matter is that you cycle through every card in the stack every game so you see every monster possible, every weapon available and every enchantment out there. After a few games there were no surprises. We knew what potentially could come out of the deck and what to look out for and what to avoid.
Enchanters has recently seen an expansion come to Kickstarter called Overlords so perhaps the expansions fixed some of these issues. I truly hope it does as Enchanters had great potential… It just needs something a little bit more.