Wiz-War: What Does it Mean to be Attacked?

Note: The previous case about Hex Hex was somewhat light on rules quotes, partially because the rules in question are quite simple, but mostly because I don’t own the game or have access to it anymore.  I posted it because I needed to get some cases up and other than that, I thought it was a good, in-depth example.  Readers wishing to submit their own cases should look to this one, rather than the Hex Hex case, for an example of what kind of rules info should be included with submissions.

In this case, we answer the age-old question, “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?”  The case arises from a game called Wiz-War.  In this game, each player plays as a wizard trapped in a labyrinth together with the other players.  Each must use their items, spells, and cunning to achieve the objectives – killing the other wizards and stealing their treasure.

The dispute arose when I was playing Wiz-War with some friends and, quite frankly, doing rather poorly.  I was down to just one health point left and had retreated to an isolated corner of the labyrinth to try and recuperate and develop a comeback strategy.  To further aid in my objective of remaining undisturbed, I had cast the Mist Body spell on myself.  Among other things, Mist Body has the following effect: “You cannot attack or be attacked.”  I wasn’t concerned with the limitation of my offensive capabilities, as I wasn’t in any shape for a fight, and I assumed that not allowing any other player to attack me would afford me some time to recuperate, at least until the spell’s duration ran out.

A clever opponent, noticing that I was on the run as well as on my last legs, and determined to take advantage of my disadvantage, moved into position and cast the Psychic Storm spell.  He thought the wording of the spell would let it work around Mist Body’s defensive property.  The relevant text of the Psychic Storm spell is as follows: “Strike target square and all adjacent squares (even through walls, but not diagonals) with a howling storm of power… Each wizard or creature caught in the storm… suffers magical damage equal to this spell’s energy.  This spell cannot be evaded.”  It is also important to note that every spell in Wiz-War has a type and Psychic Storm is an attack spell.

I reasoned that because Psychic Storm is an attack and Mist Body states that “You cannot… be attacked,”  I would suffer no ill effects.  My opponent countered that Psychic Storm “…cannot be evaded.”  Even if Mist Body didn’t count as evading the spell, he reasoned, it specifically didn’t target me, a wizard, but rather “…target square and all adjacent squares…”  I just had the misfortune to be occupying one of those squares.

I was pretty sure I was right, but after a short debate, the entire rest of the gaming group was persuaded by my opponent’s logic.  I wasn’t being attacked, my square was, and by an attack that “…cannot be evaded,” to boot.  Disappointed, I conceded the argument and therefore the game.  My wizard perished in the midst of a terrible Psychic Storm, and I congratulated my opponent on both a debate and a game well-fought.

That was quite a while ago now, and I’ll openly admit that I was biased at the time by the fact that I would not only be disadvantaged, but lose the game entirely if the decision didn’t go my way.  When the time came to decide this case, I reexamined all the relevant rules and I was having a very hard time deciding.  Both cards seemed to use pretty absolute language and I had a hard time determining which one should trump the other.

In an effort to provide some more insight into which spell was more potent, I decided to do a little research.  Many game companies will provide official clarifications and corrections to their game rules when they are incorrect or unclear.  Wiz-War is currently produced by a company called Fantasy Flight, which, in my experience, is a well-run company which puts out quality products and is genuinely concerned with customer satisfaction.  A quick Google search of the game’s title brought up the official page from the Fantasy Flight website, and under the Support section, sure enough, I found a FAQ page.  I browsed through it and didn’t initially find anything helpful or relevant.  I had almost given up hope when I reached the very last question:

Q. Can a wizard under the effect of “Mist Body” be
A. Yes. The wizard cannot be attacked and does not suffer
damage from attacks, but can be damaged from other
causes. For example, “Destroy Wall” can damage a wizard
under the effect of “Mist Body” because it is not an attack,
but “Psychic Storm” cannot.

I guess I should have trusted my first instinct. Winner: immovable object.

Until next time, happy gaming, and I hope to see you in court!