Developed by: Cliff Stornel
Published by: Cliffside Games
Player Count 2-5 players
Play Time: 30 to 60 min (40 – 45 minutes sweet spot after first playthrough)
Cast the Ritual is seeking funding on Kickstarter and launches in late October/Early November. I will update this page when the date is final.
What is Cast The Ritual?
Cast the Ritual is a neat little hand management game where you play as spell casters competing to “Cast the Ritual” and in return receive ultimate power. The game is played of over 3 rounds (Rituals) and players are racing to match their Lab (hand) with the sequence for the current Ritual.
One of the many positives of the game is the ease of play, but also the iconography is easily translated. A novice gamer can understand card icons like the following:
Shield: Are defensive cards used to react to negative effects towards the player.
Sword: Are the attack cards that manipulate other casters hand.
Potion/Component: These are the elements needed to cast the Ritual. The Component cards can also be played for their spell effects instead of a Ritual component. Cards also have the ability to have their empowered effect on the bottom of the card. In order to activate the empowered effect, a player must combine and play two matching adjacent cards or played along with the Lightning in a Bottle (Jar) Card.
Cost: Each card has a purchase cost. The cost in gold is paid by playing card trading in a specific amount of cards.
The Spell Casting Roster
There were a decent number of casters in the prototype I received. As you can see the final art is not present, but I do have a sample for one of the characters. Each character has a power that influences actions and activates the empowered effects for cards. There are more powers, but you get the idea.
Race to The Ritual
Turns in Cast the Ritual are fairly simple because of the clear walk through on the player aid. Here is an explanation of the actions you can take on a turn. I hate sounding like a player aid myself, but the game runs that smoothly. One of the most interesting mechanics in Cast the Ritual is you do not shuffle your hand or prepare your hand to start. You must manage your hand as is. Don’t worry, you have a lot of options on your turn.
Draw a card from the Market to your Lab (hand). It’s important to remember that the card must be added to the left side or your right side.
Change the position of one card in your Lab. This can be any card.
Now you take one of the following actions. Any card that is played is activated and then discarded to the Trash (discard pile).
- Work: Draw one card from the Market or Trash pile. Sometimes drawing from the Trash is a better strategy is a better strategy then going blind….you choose.
- Prepare: Move a card one position in your Lab. That’s one movement left or right.
- Shopping: Spend a number of adjacent cards to purchase to a card from the Market or the Trash.
- Play a card and resolve. At this point you can play cards for their normal power or play an matching adjacent set of cards their empowered effect. Pay attention to the spell caster’s ability so you don’t miss out on the instant activation of the cards you play.
- Cast the Ritual: If the cards are in order you have completed the Ritual for the round
- Discard: You must discard you hand to the limit. The hand limit is 5 plus the current the current number of the Ritual. For example, the second round of the Ritual will have 4 cards. Your hand limit would be 9 cards.
When the player casts The Ritual, this begins the end of the round. The player who does it first receives the highest points, but there is one more turn for other players to complete The Ritual as well. If they complete The Ritual, they receive a slightly lower number of points. The final points are awarded if any player has partially completed The Ritual. If the game becomes highly competitive, I found that you can make a serious comeback as long as you are scoring every round. I like the idea of all players having an opportunity to put some point on the board.
Cast the Ritual was a surprise game for me. I asked Cliff Stornel to review this game, but I wasn’t entirely sure if would be this good. My lunch time crew had a ball playing it because of how easy quick the game is from set up to finish. The gameplay doesn’t take any crazy out of the box risks, but Cast the Ritual has just enough head scratching during each turn to make it a pleasant experience. The mechanics of shifting the cards through your hand is an interesting mechanic, but it’s easy to forget the rule out of habit. I have to be honest here, I am very impressed with this little card game. If I had to say one negative, I don’t care for the artwork. I tend to not allow prototype artwork to sway my opinion anyways so I’ll leave it at that. I believe that Cast the Ritual is worth your money…In my opinion of course!
Thank you for your time!
I hope you like my preview of Cast the Ritual. If you have any additional questions, please comment below. If you would like to continue the conversation, please give my site a follow or head over to Twitter and follow me @jambapg. I would appreciate it!
A copy of Cast the Ritual was provided by Cliff Stornel for review.