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Designer(s)Tom Jolly
Publisher(s)Jolly Games, Fantasy Flight Games (2012)
Publication date1985
Playing time15-60 minutes

Wiz-War is a board game created by Tom Jolly and first published in 1985 through Jolly’s company, Jolly Games. It is described as a "beer and pretzels game".[1]

The board in Wiz-War is made up of individual segments that form a labyrinth that the players must navigate. The layout of is different each time the game is played and can also be modified by players during gameplay. Wiz-War uses cards to represent (among other things) spells cast by players. Some concepts, like magical combat and hit points, should be familiar to players of Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games.

After spending nearly 15 years out of print, Wiz-War was released in a new 8th Edition by Fantasy Flight Games in February 2012.


The first edition of the game had an extremely low production value and consisted of photocopied typewritten rules, simply designed two-by-three-inch cards, silkscreened cardboard boards, and photocopied chits, all contained in a clear plastic Ziploc bag. Jolly silkscreened the game boards by hand.

Later editions featured slightly more sophisticated game materials (such as a box), but the essential simplicity of the game has been preserved. Several expansion sets have also been published, including additional cards and board segments, allowing for more players.

After the release of Wiz-War 7th edition in 1997, Wiz-War went out of print for many years, and lengthy delays around the release of the Eighth Edition led many to consider it vaporware. An Eighth Edition had been mentioned at Tom Jolly's website for some time, and had also been announced on the Chessex web site since at least 2002.[2] In November 2009, Tom Jolly announced in a post on wizwar.com[3] that he had canceled the contract with Chessex and had reached agreement to republish the game with a new publisher.

Jolly's new publisher, Fantasy Flight Games, released Wiz-War 8th edition in February 2012.[4] Fantasy Flight Games has indicated that the new Wiz-War edition has been redesigned to make for faster gameplay and to clarify card effects.[5]

Prior to February 2012, copies of the game could be very hard to find, but were sometimes available on eBay. Dedicated players frequently made their own equipment, ranging from the simple to the elaborate. The cards and board designs are available on the Internet. Wiz-War has a small but very dedicated following, and the game's creator seems to encourage creativity and innovation within the Wiz-War community.


An example of an elaborate homemade wood Wiz-War board. This board configuration includes a seventh homemade board segment allowing for larger games.

Wiz-War is a turn-based board game that takes place in a stone dungeon. Each player is a wizard, represented on the board by a cardboard wizard token, and starts the game on a particular segment of the board. The center of this segment is the player's home base. Each player has two treasures, also represented by tokens, located in that player's segment.[6]

Cards are dealt to each player to represent spells that may be cast, objects (both magical and mundane) that may be used, and other actions that may be taken by that player. These cards are generally discarded when used and can be replenished throughout the game. Each player begins the game with fifteen life points that can be lost in a variety of ways.

A player wins by either placing two treasures belonging to other players on his or her home base, or by eliminating all other players.

The relative simplicity of the game is deceiving; turns can be structured in a highly complex and sophisticated way to take maximum advantage of the cards in a player's hand and avoid interference by other players.


John Wick called Wiz-War "an exercise in cutthroat strategy" and "a damn funny game that will make you cry."[7]


  1. ^ D. Dugan & Company, Inc. "Wiz-War - A beer and pretzels cult classic!". Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "Chessex.com". Archived from the original on August 6, 2002. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  3. ^ WizWar.com Website
  4. ^ "Jolly Game's Wiz-War". Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  5. ^ "Fantasy Flight Games Wiz War Minisite". Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  6. ^ "WizWar.com". Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Wick, John (2007). "Wiz-War". In Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 369–371. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.

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