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Wandering Towers

Designed by Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer, Wandering Towers is a game for 2-6 players where you are moving wizards around a clockwise circuit to get them to the Ravenskeep Tower. You're not just able to move your wizards tho', you can also move the towers they are on, and when you land a tower on top of another tower with a wizard on it you get to fill a potion (ie: flip a potion token), and you also need to have flipped all these to meet the game's win condition. Whether you move a wizard or a tower, and how far, depends on the cards you play from your hand of three cards. You need an exact number to land a wizard at the Ravenskeep Tower but there are ways to manipulate the 'board'...

Tho' you need to have filled your potions (4-6, depending on player count), you can additionally use filled potions to buy a 'spell' from the market display. This will allow you to take an additional action. The two basic spells just give your wizard or tower an extra ordinary move but you can add in spells that let you piggyback on the movement of another player's wizard or even make counterclockwise moves. There's a spell too that lets you move to the top a wizard that's on a tower that's been stacked on. Adding all the spells into the mix helps to turn Wandering Towers from a light family game into a surprisingly tight strategy game, but players have a strictly limited number of potions available to them so you have to use the spells sparingly.

What adds to the sense of fun is the fact that Ravenskeep Tower doesn't stay put: it moves around the circuit whenever a wizard meeple lands on it. That makes this a dynamic game: more chaotic if you're playing it as a light family game but one that you can plan for and take advantage of if you're playing as a strategy game where you're able to anticipate in advance where the Ravenskeep Tower will end up.

Whenever you land a tower on top of one that has an opponent's wizard on it, you'll be 'imprisoning' that wizard (the wizard under the stack can't ordinarily be moved) but then moving the combined tower will also be taking any imprisoned wizards towards Ravenskeep, so this doesn't feel like a 'take that' game. The rules specify that players aren't allowed to peek under towers once they've been placed, so there's a strong memory element to Wandering Towers as you try to keep track of the locations of all the imprisoned wizards. The 'no peeking' rule is one you may need to relax when playing with younger family members.

With art by Michael Menzel, ABACUSSPIELE and Capstone Games have done a good job with the production of Wandering Towers. It's a game with great table presence so you're certain to find players drawn to it. Tho' it requires some fiddly pre-assembly before you can play, the box is designed to accommodate all the towers in fully constructed form, so assembly is just a one-off task. The game includes rules for solitaire play but the Board's Eye View team have enjoyed Wandering Towers most with at least four players. Even with a full complement of six players, tho', the game plays quickly: you can expect to magic up a winner in no more than 30 minutes.

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