Right now, the Bell household is knee-deep in the world of Harry Potter.
My wife loved the Potter books. Now that my daughter is reading-age, she has pounded her way through all seven of the books herself. We took her to Universal Studios in Orlando last fall and she had to be physically ripped from the park by the end of our vacation there. Every time we go somewhere that has Harry Potter toys, Harry Potter LEGOs, Harry Potter clothes, Harry Potter school supplies—you name it; she wants it all.
It should be no surprise, then, that a board game featuring wizards trying to get to a wizarding school before a ghost catches the players would be a massive hit in our house.
Enter Wizardry to the Power of Three (2016, Pegasus Spiele), a game that casually borrows from the world of Hogwarts then adds the element of the game Memory to the proceedings. With flavor text like “to…see the flying brooms…they heard the grown-ups talk about”, referring to “wizard students”, I don’t think anyone is confused about where we are.
And that works. Games borrow liberally from other worlds all the time, and for a light, 15-minute affair, Wizardry to the Power of Three (Wizardry for short) landed well with the family.
“Now, Where Was the Porcupine Again?”
Wizardry’s set-up is quick. Players select one of the six wizard pawns and start just a few spaces ahead of the Willy the Warden Ghost, a ghost-shaped pawn that is in pursuit of the players. Working together, the players take individual turns rolling three dice that have various shapes on them known as Lumies. These Lumies help light the path for players to run to the wizardry school before Willy catches any player, ending the game.
The Lumies are a shy lot, so they are hiding under 16 of the 18 tree tiles that are scattered around the outside border of the game board. When a player rolls the dice, the Lumies pictured have to be found in the trees; players can ask for help as they try to remember which Lumies are hiding under which trees.
Wizardry, then, turns into a game of Memory—one that starts out as a minor challenge, then gets slightly easier on every turn as players try to remember where, say, that Lumie castle, spider web, or leaf really is. Of course, not every turn is a guarantee even after you are supposed to remember where that giant porcupine Lumie is hiding, especially in a lower player count game!
As much as I loved The Quest Kids—my favorite family game from 2021—it is a guarantee that you are going to win. We’ve played The Quest Kids more than 20 times and we have never lost.
In Wizardry, especially with only 2 players, you are occasionally going to lose. I like that, because games like this could use the tension and Wizardry has that, especially when Willy is creeping up on you!
Also, one of my favorite parts of Wizardry: you can work as a team until your pawn reaches the 4th space from the doorway to the school. Then, you are on your own to roll dice and remember where the symbols you rolled reside. Late in the game, you will probably be OK here, but it’s not a guarantee, especially if you have a couple of tree tiles that haven’t been flipped yet (tiles are reset after every player’s turn) and you can’t rely on your partners to remember.
The players do get a couple of advantages that scale with the difficulty levels provided. There are +1 tokens available to move any player ahead one space, and there are reroll tokens if you come up with a roll that provides symbols you haven’t seen yet and Willy is creeping up on you.
Great Game, if You Love Wizards
If you don’t need to scratch the Potter itch, there are many other versions of Memory-style gameplay that come recommended, especially for the price.
But Wizardry landed well in my household because of the IP-adjacent game world. Games are quick and my 5-year-old was very adept at the Memory concepts featured in the game, so our entire family got into the act of playing Wizardry.
I don’t think this one will have staying power; we already have a good system for how to remember which tiles are where, and we are already playing on the “Hard” setting (one +1 and one reroll for the game). Still, Wizardry is a nice diversion while dinner is being prepped, and tearing it down to put it back on the shelf is a breeze.