Today, Team Gameosity is putting some time towards our degrees in the Dark Arts by doing a Kickstarter preview for Studies in Sorcery – a game of set collection, card drafting, and necro-alchemy!
This prototype copy of Studies in Sorcery was provided to us for our consideration and possible preview. We reserve the right to request a finished copy of all games we preview, but aren’t otherwise compensated.
In Studies in Sorcery, you and your opponents take on the roles of students at the Academy of the Dark Arts. It’s your last semester and everyone is vying for the title of Valedictorian by finishing their master theses in Alchemy, Sorcery, and Reanimation. Whoever earns the most credits for their projects wins!
Studies in Sorcery is played over 16 rounds which are depicted as weeks of a semester on the Moon track. At the beginning of the game everyone will start with a research grant, 1 project card, and 1 thesis card which is your secret objective. Each turn you must take 1 action, which could be starting a project, digging for new materials, cram, or making progress on your projects.
You can purchase a project using your research grant or any number of materials whose value adds up to the project you are purchasing. You can purchase as much as you like from the display, but be careful because those materials you are spending are the same ones you might need to finish your projects!
Each project will have requirements that you can use materials to fulfill. To get new materials cards you must dig which means that you will flip over the first grave card. Then you must decide if you are going to take that card or try the next grave. If you pass on a grave pile, you must add a new card from the grave deck to the pile you left behind, meaning future digs at that pile will have more cards available. If you pass on all the piles you can either take the top card of the grave deck or a Candle or Vial card from the market.
Time is limited in Studies in Sorcery and you’ll want to finish as many projects as possible, but while all projects give you points, some also give you access to unique abilities and extra materials! If you have completed projects with the action icon on them, you can use your action for the turn to activate them. These actions can do things like allow you to take additional turns, take extra materials, commit extra cards to projects, or remove negative points from projects. There are also projects that give you bonus points for other projects that you or your neighbor complete.
While both our chosen strategies felt viable when we were playing, the fact is that the more abilities you gather in Studies in Sorcery, the less the randomness of the card draws affects you – and there is a lot of randomness here, to be fair. The ingredients you draw from digging are random, as are the available projects, so you might have your shadowy heart set on completing a specific set, only to find that those projects just aren’t coming up for grabs. And this may bother some of you more than others, but there is very little interaction, meaning that when someone starts to gain an advantage and pull away from the pack, there’s nothing you can really do about it aside from just try to win harder.
All in all, though, we had fun with Studies in Sorcery. While the randomness sometimes left us spinning our wheels a bit, when we treated it more as an engine building exercise and less like a point grab, we found the gameplay to be easy to engage and pretty fun. Even though it’s a protoype, we already love the artwork and can’t wait to see what the finished product looks and plays like!