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Board game review: Abracada What? is a family game of wizardly deduction
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Abracada what? is a fun, family-friendly game of deduction with competing wizards. - photo by Ryan Morgenegg
The game Abracada What? by Z-Man Games has a lot going for it. It is easy to learn, lasts about 30 minutes, accommodates two to five players, and has a fun wizard and magic theme. At the core of this family game is the mechanic of deduction that is used in a fun and entertaining way.

In the game, players represent wizards trying to earn the most points by casting all of their available spells. Each round every player is given five spells and six life points. If a wizard runs out of life points or casts all of his or her spells, the round is over. The person who cast the most spells that round scores three points, and those who survived with at least one life point score a point. The first one to eight points wins.

The unique aspect to the game is that only a wizards opponents can see which spells they have. So a wizard must guess which spells they have when they cast them. Spells are numbered one to eight and each one has a different effect. The lower the number of the spell, the more powerful it is. However the quantity of the spells are equivalent to their number. For example, there is one No. 1 spell that causes every other wizard to lose life points and there are eight No. 8 spells that heal one life point.

Dont be fooled by how simple this game is to play. To guess what spells a wizard has, a player must use deduction, observation of other players' facial expressions and a little bit of luck. When a spell is successfully cast, it is placed on a community board that shows all the spells available in the game and what spells have already been cast.

The artwork and game board are family-friendly and depict the spells and wizards in a fun, light-hearted way. The game is reasonably priced at $35 and contains some beautiful and unique components. The game moves quickly and is entertaining even when it is another players turn. This is a quick, light game perfect for families.