Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Sunday 17 December 2017

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Mystic ScROLLS

Game: Mystic ScROLLS

Publisher: Drawlab Entertainment

Designer: Evangelos Foskolos, Stelios Kourtis

Year: 2017

You are a young magician, with a thirst for knowledge. You have searched the enhanted forest and found a temple with an enormous library, filled with all the scrolls and knowledge you've ever dreamed of. The only problem is that some other magicians have also sumbled upon this source of wisdom. Luckily you know a few basic spells and you can cast these to try and defeat for opposing magicians, as well as tryig to catch some of the scrolls flying through the air.

Mystic ScROLLS, as you may be able to tell by the pun-tastic name, is a dice rolling game. In the game, you and up to 3 friends are trying to roll dice as fast as possible to achieve the combinations to cast spells, heal yourself, damage your opponent and obtain scrolls so that next turn you can hurt your opponent even more. So how does it play?


In Mystic ScROLLS each player chooses one of the four mages. These four mages also come with three spells that they know at the start of the game. You also give each player 5 dice, and place a common pool of dice in the center, with the amount depending on player number. Each turn 1 new Scroll card is played into the center of the gaming area, this acts as a common spell that anyone can cast.

When a round begins each player rolls their dice, they can choose to pick up and reroll as many dice as they want as many times as they want. When they are happy with the results on their dice they can assign these dice on the matching boxes on one of the spell cards in front of them, this spell is now cast. After casting a spell you pick up dice from the common pool until you have 5 dice again, which you roll and cast more spells. Eventually there won't be enough dice for someone to pick up back to 5, at this point the round immediately halts and spellcasting begins. Alternatively as soon as anyone casts the scroll in the center of the table the round ends and they gain that card permanently as a new spell.

The game setup for two
At the end of a round all spells go off, spells usually do one of 2 things: heal or attack. Healing happens first, restoring health to your character (up to a maximum of 40). After healing you attack, all damaging spells affect only player to your left, reducing their health. Should anyone's health be reduced to zero then they are out of the game. Victory goes to the last one standing.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Mystic ScROLLS looks very appealing at first glance, the art does a wonderful job of drawing you in to this world of powerful, though certainly a bit unstable, magic that you can use to decimate your enemies. The characters have some good variation, and I like how each one focuses on a certain colour, you'll soon find out that picking up a scroll or two that don't use your character's focus is a great way to cast more spells. The dice are nice and chunky, they have a good weight and the symbols are all very clear, all in all they feel good to roll, which is important as you will do that a lot.

The three different magicians with their unique artwork - Their starting spells each focus on a different dice face.
Unfortunately when it comes to actually playing the game I felt rather let down. I get that this is a dice rolling game and any dice-based game will have luck as a major factor, but Mystic ScROLLS has given you little to stack the odds in your favour. When you have 6-sided dice with 6 unique symbols and you can easily be re-rolling one or two dice just waiting to get the 1 symbol you need, the game can be tedious. Try rolling a dice over and over until you get a 6, that's the excitement in much of Mystic ScROLLS' action phase.

I would have really appreciated some more variest spells in the game, almost all of the spells simply do a set amount of damage or healing. Occasionally you get some that do both, and then there are a few oddballs that do more damage the more spells you cast, or do d6 damage. I would ahve loved to see some spells that let you have a couple of free rolls before everyone else next round or other similar unique powers. Rolling dice can be a fun game mechanic, but it doesn't make a game fun in itself, unfortunately Mystic ScROLLS doesn't have anything else to add on top of dice rolling, you simply roll as fast as you can, and hope you can beat your opponents.

Fi’s Final Thoughts 

I was excited for Mystic ScROLLs when I read that it was a real-time dice rolling game. What I failed to realise was that all of the real-time dice games we own are cooperative, meaning that when you have bad luck, at least the whole group is having bad luck. Also, all of the similar games I enjoy have some method of luck mitigation, in fact that's what makes them games instead of a dice rolling competition. Sadly Mystic ScROLLs felt a bit like a game of 'who can roll dice the fastest'. If you roll faster, you simply have more chance of getting the right combination, then you can take more dice, giving you more and more chances, whilst someone else might be desperately trying to roll one dice to get a certain face to get a 5 dice combination to take the centre scroll.

The only way you seem to be able to mitigate your luck is to go for the scroll cards in order to diversify the dice rolls that you will find useful, but focusing on a scroll means that in one round you need to roll 5 dice faces perfectly. In a two player game, your opponent might get the chance to roll 19 dice whilst you're perfecting those 5!

We've had one game that was close and two games that were complete white-washes - there's no real skill in coming out on top, it's just plain good luck. It's only a 15 minute game and one of the occasions we were in the right mood to enjoy some dice rolling and I guess it would make an OK filler, but there's just better 15 minute games, there's better quick dice rolling games and I'd rather pick one of those to play.

The Good
  • It's a quick game that anyone can play.
  • It has good quality components.

The Bad
  • This is a competition of who can roll dice the fastest and get lucky.
  • There's nothing you can do to mitigate your bad luck.
The Verdict
4/10 Mystic ScROLLs is a dice rolling luck-fest, with very little decision making and a lot of frantic rolling.

Mystic Scrolls was a review copy provided to the Board Game Exposure reviewer collective.

1 comment:

  1. Check out The Gameshelf Reviews, they have a similar name and shtick.