Wizard presents itself in absolutely the same way that the most boring of mass market productions do, in an ugly box, sitting limply on a Walmart shelf, or introduced by your grandparents when they’ve run out of various political topics to run you through.
This is the single greatest tragedies in modern gaming. Wizard belongs on the highest pedestal in the most selective gaming collections. It may be just a fairly straightforward trick taking game, with the added twist of just a few special cards and yet I’ve gotten more stand up and cheer moments from this than a hundred co-ops and ameritrash games combined.
The strategy is difficult enough that mastery can be chased for a long time, but understandable enough that you can fully grasp when things have gone superbly or terribly for you and cheer or cuss appropriately. It also begins with a slow ramp up, so that you can feel out the strategy while the point stakes are low enough. The last hand having no trump is a subtle trick where a lot of variance gets added so that the ending is usually always in doubt, but it doesn’t feel like the strategy was stripped away. The price point is also incredibly attractive. Even the “deluxe” edition is still more affordable than most hobby game fillers. I know I’ve banged the drums for a lot of games, but out of everything I’ve reviewed so far, Wizard is the one I truly believes deserves more attention and the one I’m happiest to evangelize.