I was recently provided with a copy of a game called The Institute for Magical Arts. Nigel got his hands on an early copy and wanted me to take a look at it and let him know what I thought. The game was designed by Steve Finn of Biblios fame and published by Dr Finn’s Games.
The Institute for Magical Arts is a two-player card-based game that has you rolling dice and assigning them to actions that let you collect or cast power stones. The institute itself is a magical school where the head teacher, Dr Phineas, has disappeared. Players take on the roles of wizards and attempt to defeat each other in order to take control of the school. To do this, you cast your power stones on to cards available from a market filled with magical items and a selection of characters. Each card in the market has a cost and a surpass value. You must cast enough stones onto a card to meet the cost, however, if your opponent is also casting stones onto the card you must surpass your opponents stone count by the surpass value.
For example – imagine a card costs three stones and has a surpass value of two. If you and your opponent have two power stones on that card and you cast your third, you will not win the card. In this situation, even though you have cast the cost in power stones, you have not surpassed your opponents stone count by the surpass value of two. In order to win the card, you’re going to have to cast another stone (without your opponent casting anymore on to the card) in order to win it.
By obtaining cards, you score points and through a series of other methods you also earn charm cubes (worth a point each). The game plays until either you, or your opponent, reach a winning score and take your place as the head of The Institute for Magical Arts.
The Institute for Magical Arts – See it played!!
As I’ve said in some of my previous posts, I’ve started creating a series of YouTube videos explaining how games are played and taking a look at what you get in the box. The Institute for Magical Arts is one of the titles that I’ve chosen to do this for, so if you want a detailed explanation of how the game plays and what comes in the box, then take a look at my new video below.
GamesQuest joins The Institute for Magical Arts
After a few plays of The Institute for the Magical Arts I came to the conclusion that I liked it. There’s lots of fun elements to the game and I particularly like the dice allocation mechanism for selecting actions. I was actually quite interested to find out more about Nigel’s, and GamesQuest’s, involvement with The Institute for Magical Arts so I sent him a mail asking about it – here’s what he had to say:
One of our regular customers Julian, who loves the service we provided him, recommended us to Stephen who was a looking for a partner in the UK. Stephen contacted us in October 2014 and following an open and honest dialogue we concluded that we would be the perfect fit for Kickstarter fulfilment within the UK and Europe. I’d like to think that our cost-effective pricing had something to do with it.
With GamesQuests dynamic reach in the UK and Europe, linked with the fact that we’ve done such a good fulfilment job for Stephen, it was a natural progression to look at RETAIL exclusivity in the UK for The Institute for Magical Arts. As part of this, we’ve committed to Stephen that we will demonstrate the game at all of our Insomnia shows and the UK Games Expo. We also plan to submit The Institute for Magical Arts as a nominee for the UK Games Expo awards. When GamesQuest get enthusiastic about a product, we back it!
When, where and how can you play The Institute for Magical Arts?
So, there you have it, a brief description of The Institute for Magical Arts, a video detailing how it plays and a piece of GamesQuest history. If you want to know more about this fun two-player game, or even take part in a demo session, the GamesQuest team will be demoing it at Insomnia events throughout 2015. The first Insomnia event runs from the 3rd-6th April, so come along and check it out!
If you have any specific questions on how the game plays then feel free to leave us a comment here, or on the YouTube video, and we’ll try our best to answer those for you.
Finally, if you’re interested in buying The Institute for Magical Arts, then grab a copy from the GamesQuest store while stock lasts!
Driven Instructional Designer by day, board game fanatic by night! Tom has a long background in eLearning design and is a strong believer that story and narrative are crucial to creating excellent learning and gaming experiences. A passionate blogger, game reviewer and play tester, he enjoys spending his time playing games of all genres.