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     " Maybe when the newer additions come out and they fix some of the rules up, maybe then it will be worthwhile. "

      Title: Wizard in Training, from Upper Deck

      Format: Trading Card game

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: Play as one of several students at the Dragontooth Academy trying to pass the graduation test. Play with spells, duel characters, and items as you try to pass 5 wizard levels by collecting Dragonteeth from your opponent. Yes, it is impossible to say that without sounding like a nerd.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Playability: Okay, can I just ask… why dragonteeth? I mean, can’t I just beat the hell out of somebody with my awesome magical powers? All right, fine, you’ve set down the ground rules and they work fairly well. Basically, you take on the role of one of the graduates of the school. You actually have a card representing your fledgling wizard (or you can make a picture of yourself and play yourself as the one graduating). There’s nothing about the game that makes it inherently unplayable. There’s also nothing about the game that makes it particularly worth playing. The game is fairly standard fair. You cast your spells; you summon your creatures. Blah, blah, blah. … One thing that bugged the living hell out of me though, I think this is the first card game to be released as patchware… See all of the cards have a funky symbol in the corner. One would imagine that these symbols are some kind of power area, or some kind of bonus giver, or something. Nope. When consulting the instructions you learn that this feature will be implemented in future releases. What the hell? So do they know what it does and they think they’re going to tantalize us with the grand mystery? Listen, Doyle this isn't, it is not even Scooby Doo. The alternative is that they just didn’t finish that feature and finished it anyway with some kind of lame ass excuse. Either way it’s a sorry state of affairs. 2 out of 5

      Aesthetics: The artwork on the cards is decently done. The artwork is all very cartoonish in nature. That’s not really a bad thing, and lends itself to the relatively juvenile premise of the game. There are some fairly cool looking creatures. Still, you’re not going to be seeing masterpieces of artwork. The cards are arranged rather sensibly. You won’t find yourself hunting for any of the "vital" information. 3 out of 5

      Learning Curve: The rule set is fairly simple. You should be into a game fairly quickly. There are a few twists and turns that may catch you unawares, but make sure both players have gone through the rule-book (as opposed to one trying to explain it to the other) and you should get the gist pretty quickly. Now this will get you started. Winning games is a bit different, and has a bit to do with luck and skill, as all card games should. Once you actually start having to consider what you’re doing (as opposed to just playing the funny looking card) you’ll find things get quite complicated. That’s not a bad thing for a card game. 4 out of 5

      Balance: Apparently when developing the combat, they said, "Hey, why do our cards just have a power rating? Everybody else has attack and defense!" Working quickly, they masterminded a screwed up attack and defense combat system that basically negates the need for attack and defense. Essentially, the card with the higher value wins. There is no advantage to having a card with good attack but bad defense, and vice versa. What this means is that if somebody gets a card with a nice high total, they win. Making dueling a poor proposition at best. Luckily you don’t have to gain dragonteeth from combat; you can also get them by playing items. Which means if one guy has a bunch of high numbered items in his deck, he goes up levels nearly instantly. Still, items (such as weapons and shields) only add a fixed amount of benefits when attached to dueling characters, so that at least is balanced out. All in all, there are some bugs to be worked on (and since it seems they’ll be doing that with Wizard in Training patch 1.21), but it’s not horribly off balance. 2.5 out of 5

      Value vs. Cost: Well, with the eventual cost of the booster packs needed to assemble a decent deck, and the added hastle of actually finding people to play this thing with you… Let’s just say this isn’t looking good. 1 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Maybe when the newer additions come out and they fix some of the rules up, maybe then it will be worthwhile. Until then… it’s got some unfinished business it definitely needs to take care of.

      The Good: Decent artwork, and relatively easy to learn

      The Bad: A completely out of whack combat system, unused feature.

      The Overall Ugly: Dragonteeth? Come on, any wizard worth his salt knows it’s all about frying the opponent with fireballs. Period.

      What it's Worth: A good laugh at the people buying it.

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