The Development of Wizard Card Game
Ken Fisher of Toronto, Canada first conceived the card game “Wizard” at his lakefront cottage in Haliburton, Ontario. He wanted a card game that he could play with his wife and young son as well as other vacationers during the quiet evening hours. Building on the basic game play of the traditional card game “Oh Hell,” Ken modified some of the rules and added 8 additional cards, 4 Jesters and 4 Wizards, which radically improved the game. The rules are very simple, but the strategy involved in playing Wizard makes it both enjoyable and challenging.
Ken was not new to the games industry. Earlier, he had created “Super Quiz” which generated six popular “Super Quiz” books and three successful “Super Quiz” board games as well as a syndicated “Super Quiz” newspaper feature which continues to be carried by over 30 North American newspapers.
Wizard Card Game was self-published in 1986 with a first production run of 10,000 games. In 1991, fueled by an enthusiastic public response to Wizard, a complete graphical redesign was undertaken which brought the card-fronts essentially to their present design. In 1994, Ken Fisher granted world rights to U.S. Games Systems, Inc. of Stamford, Connecticut. The overall quality of the cards was vastly improved and the current card back was instituted. A deluxe version was later created, which included bidding wheels. Bidding coins were also added to the product line, which indicate to other players the number of tricks won and remaining to be taken.
Since its introduction in 1986, Wizard Card Game has been translated into 15 languages and is sold in China, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Japan, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Russia to name a few countries. In 1996 a license was granted to Amigo-Spiele for manufacture and distribution in Germany of a Fantasy Wizard version.
In 2003, www.wizardcards.com website debuted providing free online play of “Wizard” for players around the world. The annual Wizard World Tournament is held in a different country each year. In 2011 the Wizard Card Game app was launched for the iPhone and iPad.
Wizard Card Game is a five-time Games 100 selection and a recent winner of the Dr. Toy Best Classic Game Award. Wizard Junior Card Game, a colorful version developed for younger players, received a 2007 Creative Child Preferred Choice Award. In 2012, the Wizard product line was expanded with: Medieval Edition Wizard, Large Index Wizard Card Game, and Oversized WizardScorepads.
What has made Wizard Card game so enduring all these years? The rules are simple and easy to learn... but mastering the strategy is the real challenge. One card is dealt to each player on the first round, two cards on the second, and so on. Players bid the number of tricks they think they will win. Make the exact number of tricks bid and you win points; too many or too few tricks and you lose points. The Wizard and Jester cards add a wild element to the strategy; Wizard cards always win, Jesters always lose.
FunAgainGames describes Wizard as is “pure fun, challenging, baffling and simply habit forming. Wizard is quickly becoming the most popular card game of the decade.”