Posted by: gschloesser | August 1, 1971

Elfenland

Various uses for the Wizard cards.

Alan Moon’s Elfenland captured the 1998 German Spiel das Jahre, a remarkable achievement.  The game has sold in excess of 200,000 copies and is still going strong. 

Of course, as is recent tradition, the winning of the Spiel das Jahre means expansions and spin-offs.  El Grande has Konig & Intrigant and Gross InquisitorMississippi Queen has Black Rose.  We now await a flood of Elfenland expansions.

The first is a set of four Wizard cards, known as the ElfenWizard, which can be added to the travel card deck.  During the course of the game, they are treated just like other travel cards.  The card is used in the fifth phase and has a special power:

The player can use the ElfenWizard card to take a ‘magic flight’.  That is, he may put his elf boot token into any city on the board and continue on from there if he desires.

After using the ElfenWizard card, it is placed back into the deck.

That’s the rules as written.  However, several feel that the ElfenWizard cards are too powerful.  Thus, a variety of alternative uses for the cards have been proposed:

Jonathan Degann:  You can use an ElfenWizard card as above, but at a cost of either one or two victory points.  You must return a city marker (or two, if you choose that option) to the board.  You can decide onto which city it is placed.

Jonathan Degann:  ElfenWizard cards can take you to any city of your choice … but it must be one you have already visited. 

Mik Svellov:  ElfenWizard cards can be used to travel any one route and are ‘unblockable’.

Toyohiro WabuchiToyo of Tokyo of Japan has devised a rather extensive variant utilizing these cards and it is reprinted here, along with his comments, with his kind permission:

  • A player is only dealt cards to replenish his hand up to 8 cards each round (which is the Amigo rule). 
  • Each player can use an ElfenWizard card only ONCE during the entire game.
  • To use the ElfenWizard, a player must DISCARD the following number of movement cards immediately, the number depending upon which round of the game is currently in progress:

1 card if you use the Wizard in Round 1
2 cards if you use the Wizard in Round 2
3 cards if you use the Wizard in Round 3
4 cards if you use the Wizard in Round 4

The discards may be in any combination, just as in a Caravan move (naturally, a Caravan may include any number of Wizard cards).

For example:  Player A, having 2 ElfenWizards, 1 Raft, 1 Unicorn and 2 Trollwagon cards in his hand after reaching a second city during Round 3, now decides to play a Wizard by discarding 2 Trollwagon cards and another Elfenwizard card.  After the jump, he has only 1 Raft and 1 Unicorn in his hand.

Toyo’s comments:  “All in all, my variant simply adds another agony:  Which is better?  Discard these unnecessary three cards, joining a Caravan; or teleporting with the Wizard?  Should I use the Wizard now, or keep it till a later round?”

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