The Princess Bride: As You Wish is a card game for two to six players ages 10 and up designed by Daniel Solis with illustrations by Felicia Cano. It plays in about 30 minutes.
In As You Wish, you play one of the characters in The Princess Bride, collecting scenes from the movie with icons you need to fulfill your quest.
How it works:
Each player is dealt a character card, which will partly determine the symbols the player needs to get points at the end of the game.
Each player takes one card and puts it face up in front of her. This will be the first card in that player’s quest.
The player whose card has the highest number becomes the dealer. The dealer draws cards equal to the number of players plus two or three, depending on the number of players and then places two or three cards face down on the table. The rest are placed face up.
Each card has a colored spine and a symbol. The spine tells how the card will be scored. White cards allow players a point for every card in their quest with the corresponding symbol. Blue cards allow players to get points from the corresponding symbol in their neighbors’ quests. Green cards are used for their symbols.
Some cards also have poison symbols. When a player reaches four poison symbols in their quest, they must turn cards face down until they have three or fewer poison symbols.
The player with the lowest number chooses one of the cards on the table and adds it face up to the quest. Play continues until the dealer’s turn. The dealer must take two of the remaining cards.
The game ends on the round that a player reaches nine cards in his quest.
Then players count their points, and the player with the most points wins.
Why you might buy The Princess Bride: As You Wish:
The game should please movie fans. All 75 quest cards have a photo from the movie, and most have a quote, as well.
The symbols you are collecting fit your character, too.
The gameplay, and especially the scoring, is unique. Forcing the dealer to take two cards moves the dealer closer to ending the game, but perhaps not with the cards he or she wanted.
Some quests only score if the player has eight or more cards, so being dealer is important. But being dealer too much limits the player’s choices.
There’s a surprising amount of strategy in such a small game, and that’s because the cards are balanced very well.
You’ll be paying attention every second of the game. You need to know what your opponents are doing and how you might capitalize on it. Or block them.
Why you might not buy The Princess Bride: As You Wish:
I’m an unabashed Princess Bride lover. Having the quotes and pictures is pure fun for me, so it’s hard to separate the gamer in me from the fan. I’m not sure non-fans would like the game as well as fans.
Depending on what cards come up, it can be very difficult to get what you need, and unless you’re the dealer, you have no control over that.If you can snag a white or a blue card, you’ll have more choices, but sometimes they’re just not available to you. Then you’ll be staring at a sea of useless cards. If you are the dealer, chances are someone will take the cards you wanted before you can get to them.
Even though it’s 30 minutes, the game can feel a bit short. It sometimes seems as though you’re just beginning to build your quest when the game ends.
I really enjoy As You Wish, and I think it’s the perfect gift for a Princess Bride fan. I’d have a harder time buying it for myself because of the price.
It won’t be for everyone, but if you like playing with all those pictures and quotes, it may be for you.
The game looks light, but it isn’t as intuitive as some. Among the people I played with, this was the hardest of the three Princess Bride games to connect with (though it was their second choice; Battle of Wits was the uncontested favorite).
People understood what to do, but not necessarily what was optimal. Everyone liked it, and they felt like they needed to play it more to get better at it.
That is okay with me, since they were willing to try again. If you’ve got a group with a little patience, this game offers some nice surprises.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of The Princess Bride: As You Wish from Game Salute. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.