I picked up Rock Paper Wizard from the local gaming/comics store on Free Comic Book Day (the day when every year, I end up buying more games than comics). It was the last copy left in the store, the clerk had just said, "This game is supposed to be a lot of fun, but every time I go to buy it, someone grabs the last copy."
Well, he shouldn't have told me it was fun, then!
The concept of Rock Paper Wizard is fairly simple. Three to six players are wizards who have just cooperated to defeat a dragon. Now it's time to get the gold! The dragon's lair, however, is still coursing with ancient and wild magic, and the wizards all find themselves in the clutches of vicious greed. So, they start cursing each other in their attempts to get the most gold.
The set up was straight forward, and it took about five to ten minutes to learn how to play. The game is, as the name suggests, a version of the classic Rock Paper Scissors, but a bit more complex, because there is a deck of cards with different hand symbols that are, in fact different spells to cast on your opponents. There are three categories of spells, and each spell does something different. Some take gold from an opponent, some move them around the game board, either closer or further from the treasure. The game is suggested for players ages 14+, but I think players younger can definitely play with some guidance.
The instruction booklet is very clear with lots of illustrations and diagrams to help. Resolving the spells, that is, making sure the effects of the spells happen in the right order to the right players can be a little tricky (which I think is the reason for it being for 14+--younger players can definitely do it, but I think at least one older person is necessary to help with the logistics), but once you get the hang of it, things move along pretty easily. During my test run there were a couple magical entanglements, but nothing that couldn't be figured out. Something that might be helpful is having a pad of paper nearby to take a few notes in order to keep things straight.
I found the game to be fun and funny. Players can definitely get into character and be a bit dramatic with their spell casting. As I said, the mechanics are easy to master, and the game is fairly short, around 20-30 minutes to play on average. The artwork is great, the pieces are made of sturdy cardboard, and the gameplay is very engaging. I think it's safe to say that WizKids has a winner here for great gaming with family and friends!
Melanie R. Meadors is an author of fantasy where heroes don't always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. She has edited two upcoming genre anthologies, MECH: Age of Steel and HATH NO FURY, and is the science and pop culture blogger at The Once and Future Podcast. She studied both physics and astronomy at Northern Arizona University. You can find her at her website, melaniermeadors.com, on Facebook, and Twitter, @melaniermeadors.