The Witches is the second of Martin Wallace’s Discworld board games. It follows Ankh Morpork.
In Ankh Morpork I found myself dropping friends in heaps of trouble for fun and to win the game. In The Witches I found that you were often better off helping each other out – particularly when it came to stopping for tea – if you wanted the game to have a winner at all.
With trouble breaking out all across the board and players needing to cooperate to defeat it while wrestling with their own victory challenges it would be understandable if Arkham Horror leapt to mind. But no; The Witches isn’t like that chaos. Yes; there are elves (pure evil) that might leap out from a trouble spot and they will end the game if they get too numerous (only three) but this is a family game. The Witches is fun where Arkham Horror can feel desperate and loss inevitable.
The Witches has players zoom around the board dealing with trouble in order to gain victory points. Sorting out trouble takes luck – a roll of the dice. There’s some card play skill involved too but you need the dice to like you. If things start to go wrong you’ll pick up “Cackle” points which count against you, making it harder until you can find another Witch to stop and have a cup of tea with.
Take cups of teas, some old favourites from Terry Pratchett’s series and combine that with luck and cooperation and you have a game that’s suitable for most players. You don’t need to be a board game geek to enjoy this one. This is a game that you can wheel out in front of the family at Christmas and get a good experience from. To Martin Wallace’s credit The Witches is a very Pratchett-like experience.
Will hardcore gamers like this one? They will if they’re Pratchett fans.
This is a pretty game too. Like Ankh Morpork the map/board is well illustrated and stylish. This feels like Discworld. The tokens are good quality and the artwork engaging. You don’t need to find players who can suspend their disbelief. There can be no doubt that you’re in a Discworld situation as you begin.
The game says 1 to 4 players and age 10 and up. I think this is fair. You’ll know yourself if your kids are better gamers than the average 10 year olds and if that’s the case I think they’ll cope here.
I’ve played the game a few times now; each one feeling different from the one that came before. I’ve not been timing but my feeling is that we’re getting quicker at it too (if you discount our stops for real cups of tea – a side effect from tea being a key part of the game itself).
One for the family and all Discworld fans. It’s also a good way to make up with friends after a game of Ankh Morpork.
My copy of the The Witches was provided for review. The game has been donated to the Edinburgh Games Hub and play tested with members there.