Review: Magicka Mayhem

  • January 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
  • review

The following is a review of Magicka Mayhem, received as part of the Amazon Vine program.

Messy Rule ‘Book’ Requires Future Updates or House Rules

First, while a friend and I started playing the Magicka PC game, we didn’t get far before quitting. So I have only a minor understanding of the video game that Magicka Mayhem is based upon. However, this game requires no knowledge of the source material.

Next, I have to talk about the most unfortunate part of this game, which is the rules. Instead of using a rulebook there are 13 double-sided cards which contain information about the game. Unfortunately, most of the cards aren’t numbered, and there are many things that aren’t covered by the rules, or were all over the place, requiring a good deal of jumping back and forth between the cards.

There’s also not much information (from what I can see) on whether wizards/creatures can have more health/shields than the card allots, nor whether you can have multiple creatures summoned at once.

The shield/health/creature health tracking cards also leave much to be desired in that while it says a coin or token could be used, however the circles are far too small, even for the small colored clear gems that I once used for tracking health decades ago when playing Magic: The Gathering. We ended up using paper and pen to track this instead.

To play Magicka each player is a wizard that can use one or more element cards to cast spells or summon creatures. Unlike some games, any extra elements used to cast spells are lost, but you’re able to cast as many spells as you can per turn. However, there’s a chance (depending upon the rules you play, requiring a coin or six-sided die) that mayhem might ensue when spells are cost, changing the initial effect of the card.

There are also beam spells, which cause damage for three turns (unless defended/cancelled with a shield), and summoned creatures which stick around and can (seemingly) attack other wizards after the turn they’re brought into play.

For a four player game we seemed to take a little more than an hour, due to not being able to plan too far in advance. Not being able to stockpile elements also requires a bit of work balancing which cards are played when, and therefore most players end up with some cards in their hands and some set aside in one or more piles to play later or keep.

For the most part people seemed fine with the game, but the mess of a rule ‘book’ resulted in some people kiddingly joking that I was making rules up as I went, as I tried to find where it actually had the rule on the cards.

Ultimately, there’s plenty of other games I’d rather be playing. The mayhem aspect of the game is quite interesting, but the elements aspect somehow plays oddly. The rules should have also been a book, or they should have been better laid out, with important aspects, like how the card exchange works, put in the same place as it is originally introduced.

For these reasons I give Magicka Mayhem three of five stars. Once you understand the rules the rule cards won’t hold you back as much as they do during the start. But as I mentioned before there’s other games I’d rather play.