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Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, and for your information, a review of Elixir

23 January 2008

Tuesday’s gaming session got canceled, so let’s talk about a card game I got to play this weekend: Elixir. The jury’s still out.

My friend who brought it over, my teen, and I played. Player starts out the game with some spell cards. Each spell card has a value from 1 to 4, and each player starts the game with a group of spells with an equivalent total value (11, in our case). The value of the spell is the number of ingredient cards needed to complete the spell, and there are some magic items to aid or hinder players as they try to gather spell components.

The reason I’m on the fence is that spells have game effects once played. Spells with four ingredients seem almost overly powerful. I got hit with one 3/4 of the way through the round that basically made me start the game over.

Spells with one ingredient are annoying. I got hit with one that required me to say "Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle" every time I spoke during the course of the game or give up an ingredient if caught. I also got hit with a similar spell that made me say "For your information…" during every utterance, and I found the gag wore thin over the 45 minutes it took to play the game! "Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, and for your information, it’s your turn."

And, there’s one spell that we took out of the game because it had mild sexual undertones, and we felt it wasn’t appropriate for my teen. It involved having to seductively remove an article of clothing, though I don’t remember what triggered it.

I think the designers of a game like Elixir should either refrain from going into PG-13 and R territory, or if they go there, make it easy to remove those portions of the game when the kids want to play — I think an R-rated version could be fun to play at a party when the kids aren’t around. Just the one card seems like a careless decision, and makes me question the integrity of the rest of the game.

Despite it all, I look back on the game affectionately. Maybe I’ll give the game another try.

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