Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Martin Wallace


No. of Players:
1 - 4



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

The witches is the second of three games by Martin Wallace in the world of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. After last year's successful Ankh-Morpork Discworld-fans were eagerly expecting this new game to continue the sage, and in The Witches we are no longer guided through the streets of Ankh-Morpork but to the province Lancre, where we - as trainee witches –- have to solve a lot of different tasks for becoming professional witches. Important for the fans is the fact that we will once again meet a lot of well known characters and situations of the discworld books. This begins with the trainee witches like Tiffany Aching or Annagramma Hawking, who all have their special abilities in the game, and so the way we act in the game will depend on the choice of our characters. Also, we find experienced witches like Nanny Ogg or Magrat Garlic, who help us solving the different tasks. And -of course - the places we can visit are also taken from the books.


In the game we have to move our characters from one place on the board to another to solve the problems that are occurring bit by bit. We begin our turns by drawing a card that shows us at which place the next problem (quest, opportunity...) occurs. The problem itself is taken from an outlay that always shows us the next problems to come. The different problems are arranged in an increasing difficult level, so that - like in a good dungeon crawler - the game will get tougher while the player characters are getting stronger.

Quite surprisingly, the problems are solved in one of the simplest ways you can imagine in a game: First, two dice are rolled. All dice with a cackle symbol are put aside, they count as zero for the result. Then we can play cards from our hand that can give us additional points. Alternatively we can run away to prevent damage, but if we decide too confront the problem, we finally roll two more dice, add up all results and then the total of all four dice plus the cards must be higher than the difficulty level of the problem. For each dice with a cackle we must take a cackle token and one more in case of a failure. Additionally, a failure at the more difficult tasks can result in more, negative effects.

Solved problems are taken by the player and –- depending on the difficulty level - they count as victory points at the end of the game. Too many cackle tokens and a failure at some of the more difficult tasks can result in Black Alliss tokens, amd these count for negative victory points in the final scoring. So it is better to prevent them, for example by drinking tea at Granny Weatherwax, but on the other hand this will last some time, resulting in an immediate end of the player´s turn...

New cards are taken at the end of our turn. apart from their usefulness when solving problems, these cards can also be used for the moving phase and some other special effects.

For fans of Terry Pratchett´s works this second Discworld game by Marting Wallace will be worth the money. Once again the game features some great artwork, and every Pratchett enthusiast will easily identify the places and personalities he can visit and find in the game. But what does the game offer for the rest of the players? Honestly, I must confess that I had expected a more sophisticated game by the famous author. The rules take you well into the game and the available mechanisms work smoothly, and in addition the graphics provide for a dense atmosphere. But still the game appears to be a bit outmoded. It is more or less comparable with a simple dungeon crawler of the 80s. That is not bad, at least if you have a liking for rolling the dice to determine your results, but still, for me there is missing that ´certain something´ which can be found in a lot of other new games.

So maybe The Witches is more a game for the whole family or even a children game? This could be true by the mechanics and the story, but the game box says it is only for children of 13 years or more. This is something I cannot fully understand, because I had no problems playing it with my nearly eight year old son. Maybe the problems are the reason for the age rating. A broken arm, death or fever are truly problems which can be understood by younger players, but it´s more difficult to understand the sense behind ´childhood´ as a problem. But apart from that detail, I cannot see a resaon why smaller children should not understand the game. Maybe for them, as for me, it lasts a little bit too long. Anyway, family game or not, to my mind The Witches is definitively the weaker game of the two Discworld games released so far, and so, unless you are a real fan of Terry Pratchett, you should have a closer look before getting involved.

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Copyright © 2014 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany