Disney Sorcerer's Arena Board Game Review
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Disney Sorcerer's Arena
WBG Score: 8
Player Count: 2-4 (but really 2)
You’ll like this if you like: Unmatched, Funkoverse, Smash Up
Published by: The Op
Designed by: Sean Fletcher
Disney characters are cute. They are friendly, funny, and familiar. So, have you ever wondered what would happen if they all had one big fight? Yeah, me neither. It's a funny choice of theme for a fighting game. But the Disney IP sells, the characters are cool, and surprisingly, this game really works!
How To Play
This game has a brilliant rule book. It guides you through the rules in four simple chapters. The idea is that you play the game four times, each time bringing in new rules until you understand the entire game. You can then play the game in either mode, making it suitable for any age groups desired difficulty, or the full thing, safe in the knowledge that you learnt it all. It brings a streamlined and accessible way to learn the full game in a fun way. What a great way to do it.
Sorcerer's Arena is all about points. Can you get to the points total before your opponent, or have the most points when the cards run out. Points are acquired from starting your turn on one of the three points spaces, or reducing one of you opponents hit points to zero to claim their point value. In chapter one, you learn the core mechanics about starting with six cards, then drawing one, before running through a movement then action phase. All very simple.
It's a quick game. In a race to 12 points, you will battle off as either Mickey and Aladdin or Gaston and Ariel in a two player, two characters versus two character battle. Players can move two places or play a movement card specific to that character for specific character movement, and then attack for two damage any adjacent character, or play an attack card.
Status effects can be added to players and in this chapter Mickey's Magic Broom is introduced which allows the player using Mickey to draw the top two cards of their deck and re-order them in any way. They then draw the top card, and if this is a magic card, they gain another magic broom effect. The magic broom effects work with many of Mickeys cards allowing for some powerful attacks. There are many other effects in the game, but learning this first one really helps you understand the core mechanic of this part of the game.
Chapter Two introduces a three versus three mode, (which is the full game) as well as a draft to pick characters at the start. In this core set, there are eight characters to choose from. They are all unique and work very differently with each other sorcerer.
In this chapter, you also learn that turn order is very important. Not just in terms of who goes first, but which character goes after whom. Players will order their three order tiles in their own desired preference, and then they will reveal them. The character with the lowest initiative value shown on the tile will go first.
As with game one, standard movement each round is two movement points per player, or you can play a movement card. But you are now told you can discard any movement card for any player to add one extra movement to any players movement phase. Likewise for the standard attack, you can discard any attack card to turn a standard attack of two into three. The game now runs to 20 victory points which is the full total.
This brings in the most rewarding changes with unique character abilities now being used. Each character will now have its own unique standard movement and attack value, as well as its own skill, bringing in a new phase after the movement and action phase, the Skill phase.
The Skill phase allows players to do more things each turn, based on their own ability. It may allow a player to have an extra turn if a specific card is revealed from the top of their deck, or to recover health, or add a status effect.
You would have noticed lots of things on the cards during the game you haven't used yet. Most notably the gears symbols on the player cards. There are four kinds. Fire, Shell, Heart, and Wind. Each time you discard a card, you will start working your way towards your characters gear requirements. When you meet this, you can upgrade your character by banishing the required gears, and flipping your character card. This will add a new ability to your character for the final addition to Sorcerer's Arena.
You now know the entire game. There is also a team mode, which allows two player to compete against one or two other players. But really this game excels in a one versus one battle.
Learning the game in this way, across four games, is so easy. It makes what ends up as a low to medium weight game, so simple for most ages to learn and play.
Working out what each character's main strengths and weaknesses are, and forging powerful threesomes is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed discovering this game, and seeing which heroes and villains worked best together. They all feel so unique, and once you get to the end of chapter four, and you see the full scale of each character's powers, you really get an idea for how best to combine certain characters.
Ariel does not deliver much damage but she is a great healer. Sully and Gaston have some powerful brute attacks. Maleficent and Mickey have some incredible spells and powers to attack with. Demona has the ability to move to any space and attack multiple sorcerer's. Aladdin can be very stealthy, moving through the crowds with ease to help his fellow summoners, and Dr. Facilier (who ever that is!?) can shrink and fluster his competing sorcerers with his magical spells.
It's a great mix of characters, although Demona and Dr. Facilier seem a little niche! But what this game is ripe for is expansions. In fact, one is already out! Bringing three new characters including Stich! What a joy. I want to try that one asap!!
The card play in this game is so clever. Most gamers will be surprised at how much you can do each turn. The game has hidden depth, with some very interesting and exciting opportunities to do some really cool things. I am a big fan of combining Sully's brute strength, with Ariel's healing abilities and have everyone's favourite blue monster rampage his way through your opponents, whilst Ariel keeps him fresh for battle turn after turn. All the time, Maleficent or Mickey would be fighting in the background at a distance using their spells to pick people off.
Its a great fun romp into the Disney world, in a way you may not have seen it before, that brings so much joy and laughter to the table. The standees are gorgeous acrylic, full coloured works of Disney art, and I just love to watch them dance across the board.
I would like to see some variety in the board in future expansions, with perhaps some tiles to add to the board that bring in more variety based on where you are. At the moment, it is just a rush for the centre spots and a smash-em-up battle once all characters are there. This is fun, but does make the rest of the board someone redundant. It also works best in a two-player game, but is marketed as a 2-4 player, which is true with the team battle. But I think this really should be considered more a two-player game.
In the future there are so many other characters I would love to see. Tigger fighting Daisey Duck. Goofy in a battle royal with Lady from Lady and the Tramp. And perhaps even Jessie and Rex fighting against some of the seven Dwarfs. It would all be a lot of fun, and I am here for the long haul.