Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard + Fistful of Monsters Expansion Review by WizKids
Quick Glance: Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard + Fistful of Monsters Expansion - WizKids
Game Type: Party
Number of Players: 3-6
Mechanics: Simultaneous Action Selection
Release: Base Game 2016, Expansion 2018
MSRP: $20 Base, $20 expansion
Introduction/Overview: The dragon is dead, huzzah! Now it’s time to divvy up the dragon’s gold hoard. Unfortunately, your party-mates don’t agree to your idea of a 50/20/20/10 split. Even though you did most of the damage, and took that arrow to the knee. What better way to settle your differences than lobbing spells at each other? That’s the premise behind Rock Paper Wizard, a party game designed by Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim, and Josh Cappel. The Fistful of Monsters expansion adds wandering monsters and other items to help expand gameplay.
Gameplay: Just as the punny name of the game implies, Rock paper Wizard is indeed a group game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with a wizard’s hat and robe on. On a turn, each player studies the “spellbook” of cards that are placed face up on the table. Then once each person has determined which spell they want to cast and on which fellow adventurer they are going to go after, everyone says “Rock Paper Wizard!” and simultaneously points their spell (hand) at their intended target. Players then go around resolving their spell. The spells usually involve moving towards the dragon hoard, or pushing an opponent backwards along the path.
If ever two wizards target each other with the exact same spell, a Wild Surge occurs! A wild surge is kind of like a showdown in the old card game War. Each player draws a random spell off the top of the deck and resolves that instead. Then the wizards closest to the hoard get 5 gold, the wizard in 2nd gets 3 gold. Once a wizard gets 25 gold, the game is over, most gold wins!
The Fistful of Monsters expansion adds just a couple new twists to game play. First, it adds 6 new spell cards that can just be shuffled into the spell deck. Next it adds a deck of wandering monsters. These monsters can’t directly be attacked by the players, but they can do damage if the players find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. The monsters automatically take damage each turn. When they are defeated, each player gets a card from the magic item deck (also new with the expansion). These are mostly one time use items to help you gain some advantage in the game. Overall, the expansion doesn’t add much complexity to the game, but does add in a slight extra bit of decision making and strategy that is greatly appreciated. There is no need to work your way into this expansion. It’s easy enough to teach as though it were part of the game from the start.
Rulebook: The rulebooks are big, bright, and full of pictures. Just the way I like my books in general. I don’t have any complaints about the rules.
Theme: It’s a unique twist on the fantasy genre to have the whole game take place AFTER the climactic battle. Even though I like the wandering monster mechanic...I have to wonder, wouldn’t the party have defeated this monster BEFORE fighting the dragon?
Set-Up/Takedown: It only takes a minute or two to shuffle up the cards and unfold the board.
Components: Here I will go on record with the nittiest of nitpicks in the history of picking nits. The Fistful of Monsters box was made double the depth of the original box. The thinking being that everything could be easily stored inside of it. The thing is that the expansion box is ever so slightly smaller than the original box. So the original manual and the game board don’t quite fit. I think with a little “motivation” I can get it to fit, but it seems like such a minor thing to ensure that the new box is the correct size.
Other than that, I cannot complain at all. WizKids knocked this one out of the part. The spell cards are oversized, and the hand position illustrations are very clear to understand. All the cardboard tokens are nice and thick. I would like the player tokens to be a bit bigger, but they are functional.
Final Thoughts: Rock Paper Wizard surprised me. I’m typically not a fan of party style games, but this one was a lot of fun. I can see this as a great game night ender, or a game to play with your role-playing group while you’re waiting for the person that’s bringing the pizza to get there.
My play groups did make one note consistently: as we are all getting a bit older (most of us are in our 40s) some of the hand positions are a little painful to make. And since you have to go from a fist to the hand position rather quickly, it’s easy to kind of fumble around and give the appearance of cheating. Also, it’s just strange to try and remember to point your symbol at someone. We thought that it would be nice for there to be some option for alternate ways to play without the hand gestures.
All of those are fairly small quibbles in the end. Rock paper Wizard really surprised me. It’s a fast paced game with just the right balance of tactics and luck mixed with a fun play mechanic that works well for all ages.