Mage Wars is a tactical board game, a combination of a card game and miniatures game, combining the best elements from each genre. The game is played on an arena game board divided into square areas called "zones", which regulate movement and the placement of objects. Each Mage (player) starts in a corner of the arena, opposite his enemy.
Each player holds a spellbook, from which spell cards are pulled out as they are cast during the game. This has the feel of being a real Mage, turning the pages of your tome of magic, as you plan your strategy each turn. A point system allows you to choose spells for your spellbook, with more powerful spells and spells outside your schools of training costing more points. You have full access to cast any spell you want each turn, allowing for an unprecedented level of rich strategy and tactics. Many of these spells – such as creatures, equipment, and enchantments – are placed on the board and become objects in the game. Creatures can move around the arena, and attack each other and the enemy Mage. Attacks deal damage, as well as interesting special effects such as Burn, Corrode, Stun, Daze, Push, Cripple, Paralyze, etc. Creatures can be destroyed when they receive too much damage, or can be controlled by powerful curses and enchantments, or contained by walls and other creatures.