- For ages 8 and up
- For 2 to 4 players
- Approximately 30 minutes to complete
- Active Listening & Communication
- Counting & Math
- Logical & Critical Decision Making
- Strategy & Tactics
- Risk vs. Reward
- Visuospatial Skills
- Hand/Resource Management
- Bluffing and Misdirection
- Child – Easy
- Adult – Easy
Them & Narrative:
- Find the Book of Shadows and claim it as your own
- Gamer Geek rejected!
- Parent Geek approved!
- Child Geek approved!
Traditionally, a witch’s Book of Shadows is destroyed when the witch passes on. In some rare cases, books are considered to be too valuable to the Coven to be lost. A great and powerful witch has died, but her Book of Shadows is nowhere to be found. The witch that finds it will have access to powerful spells and old secrets. For witches, knowledge is power and power is worth fighting for.
Find It & Bind It, designed by Phil Cartagena, Josh DeGregorio, and published by Cray Cray Games, is comprised of 12 Witch tokens (in 6 different colors, 2 per player), 6 Player Reference cards, 9 Book cards, 37 Spell cards, 1 Row Marker card, and 1 Column Marker card. The cards of as thick and as durable as your standard playing card. Our Witch tokens were actually small meeples, which were made of wood. The artwork on the cards is a mix of classic paint-on-canvas and Photoshopped images.
The Book of Shadows
To set up the game, first shuffle the Book cards and deal them to the table face-down to create a 3×3 grid. Place the Row Marker card and the Column Marker cards in the top-most and left-most Book card row and column. The resulting card placement is referred to as the “Field”.
Second, shuffle the Spell cards and deal 3 to each player, face-down. Players should look at their cards, but keep them hidden until played. Place the remaining deck of Spell cards to one side of the playing area. This is the Spell draw deck for the duration of the game.
Third, give each player 2 Witch tokens of the same color, placing any not used back in the game box. Starting with the first player and continuing in turn order sequence, each player places 1 Witch token to the Field. Any Book card can be used and there is no limit to the number of Witch tokens that can be placed on a single Book card. After everyone has finished placing their first Witch token, players again take turns and place their second Witch token. The second Witch token cannot be placed on the same Book card as a player’s previous placed Witch token (two Witch tokens of the same color cannot be on the same Book card).
Fourth, give each player 1 Player Reference card that matches their Witch token color.
That’s it for game set up. Let the hunt begin.
Magic and Memory
Find It & Bind It is played in turns with no set number of turns per game. A player’s turn is a sequence of actions. IF the player currently has 2 Witch tokens in play, they can decide which to use. The action sequences are summarized here.
Take Two Moves and Prep a Spell
This action sequence allows the player to move 1 of their Witch tokens twice or 2 Witch tokens once, and then prepare a spell. A single move is shifting a Witch token from its current Book card to an adjacent Book card in the Field. Movement is always horizontal and vertical. Diagonal movement is not allow. A player can move into, through, and stop on a Book card that is occupied by his Witch token and opponents’ Witch tokens.
Preparing a spell allows the player to draw up to a maximum of 3 Spell cards unless the player’s Spell card hand size limit has changed. Or, if the player likes, they can discard 1 Spell card and draw another, but only if the total number of cards in their hand is within their current hand size limit.
Take One Move, One Action, and Prep a Spell
This action sequence allows the player to move 1 of their Witch tokens, take an action, and prepare a spell. Movement and preparing a spell is completed the same way as described above. Actions include the following:
- Take a normal move
- Cast 1 Spell
- Discard all Spell cards and draw up to hand size limit
- Bind the Book of Shadows
Casting a Spell is done by playing a Spell card, announcing its effects, and then resolving it. Most Spell cards can only be used during the player’s turn, but there are a few that can be used during an opponents turn. There are also some Spell cards that specifically protect the player from other Spells and most Spells can be dispelled (prematurely terminated before being resolved). When played, Spells will be discarded except for a small number of Spell cards that are removed from the game once played. Icons are provided to help players understand how the Spell cards can be used.
Scrying allows the player to take a look at a face-down Book card that currently has their Witch token on top of it. Doing so will cost the player 1 Spell card, which is discarded when the player announces their action. Then the player carefully peeks under the Book card and continues with their turn.
If the player knows where the Book of Shadows is in the field, either through scrying or deductive reasoning, they can move both their Witch tokens to the Book of Shadows and announce that they have found the ancient spellbook, claiming it as their own. At which point the player flips over the Book card to show everyone they are the most powerful magic user or a big dummy. Eight out of the nine cards in the field are red herrings, so don’t mess up.
Take One Action, One Move, and Prep a Spell
As described above.
Return One Banished Witch
If the player incorrectly guesses the location of the Book of Shadows when attempting to bind it or is the target of a foul spell, one of their Witch tokens will be banished. A banished Witch token is removed from the Field temporarily and placed next to its owning player. It’s possible to have both Witches tokens banished, but the game is not lost for the player. Banishment is temporary, although it can slow a player down. If both of the player’s Witch tokens have been banished, the player MUST spend 1 turn to return 1 Witch token to play. The Witch token is placed on any Book card the player likes. If only 1 Witch token is banished, the player may retrieve it when they like at a cost of their turn, placing it on any Book card except the one occupied by their other Witch token.
Having 2 Witch tokens in play is only necessary if the player wants to reveal the Book of Shadows. Otherwise, having 2 Witch tokens allows the player to cover more ground in the Field, but having 2 such Witches is not required to play most of the time.
Master of the Book of Shadows
The game continues until 1 player successfully finds the Book of Shadows and successfully binds it. This player is the winner.
To learn more about Find It & Bind It, visit the game’s web page.
The Child Geeks quickly learned, played, and loved Find It & Bind It. The younger Child Geeks had very little knowledge of the meta game that was being played at the gaming table, with opponent observation and bluffing, but nevertheless did very well. According to one of the younger Child Geeks, “I thought this was just going to be a game where we find cards, but it’s all about being faster and smarter than the other witches.” Which is to say, the Child Geek is calling attention to the player’s need to be as swift and as efficient as possible in finding the Book of Shadows. There are only so many cards in the Field and time is short. Another Child Geek said, “If you use the Spell cards right, you can learn a lot of information, but you learn more from watching the other players.” This Child Geek is very observant and absolutely correct. When the games were over, the Child Geeks all voted to approve Find It & Bind It.
The Parent Geeks were also very pleased with the game, finding it to be small enough to travel easily, quick enough to play several games in an evening or afternoon, and light enough to play with inexperienced players. The only aspect of the game that had the Parent Geeks concerned was the game’s seeming lack of depth. According to one Parent Geek, “The game sounds interesting, but I wonder if it will be a game I will want to play a second time. It doesn’t sound like there is much to it.” The Parent Geeks learned that Find It & Bind It is a small game that demands a great deal of attention. According to one Parent Geek, “This is neat game. It’s small, fits easily in my back pocket, but always has me leaning over the table, feverishly attempting to win.” All the Parent Geeks voted to approve the game, finding it to be a good fit for their family gaming table.
The Gamer Geeks liked what the game was all about, but didn’t once think it was a game for them. According to one Gamer Geek, “There really isn’t much to do here other than find the book and then grab it before the other players. It lacks the kind of depth and strategic game play I want in my games.” The Gamer Geeks did recognize that there were elements of abstract strategic and tactical game play to be had, as well as an interesting meta game between the players. This is what they liked about Find It & Bind It, but the game itself lacked the kind of heavier game play they crave. As one Gamer Geek put it, “There are a lot of great games out there that I don’t want to play. This is one of them.” The Gamer Geeks voted to reject Find It & Bind It, banishing it from their elitist gaming table.
Find It & Bind It is one part Memory, one part Deduction, and one part Abstract Strategy. None of which overpowers the other aspects of the game, providing an interesting blend of exploration and tactical game play with a never-ceasing sense of urgency. Bluffing is also required, as players never want to let opponents know what they did or did not find. Keeping information locked safely away while at the same time hunting for it is not as easy as one might first assume.
The mortar that keeps the game together are the Spell cards. These give the player the ability to pick, poke, and punch each other at opportune times. It’s also what makes the game fun, as several Spell cards allow the players to move Book cards around in the Field. I was concerned that a player would have an unfair advantage if they were dealt a better or more practical Spell card than their opponents. Turns out that my concern was only partially justified. If a player has, for example, the “Augur the Occupied” Spell card (shown above), they are able to get a lot of information very quickly. Information in this game is the key to victory and one could correctly assume that the player now has a tremendous advantage.
But you would actually be wrong and here’s why. Information is this game is not given in a vacuum. When a player looks at a card in the Field, the player’s opponents are watching him very, very closely. An observant player will be able to determine which opponents is still looking for the Book of Shadows and which feels confident in the Book of Shadows location. Information is abundant in this game and information is power. For those who are savvy enough to know what to look for, they will never be lost in a cloud of uncertainty.
Which is not to say that there isn’t a lot of uncertainty in the game. Players will be assuming a great deal and stumbling around until they start to get a better feel of where the Book of Shadows may lie. It’s also possible that a player may stumble upon the Book of Shadows early, which is neither a good or a bad thing. Find It & Bind It is about collecting information and then doing something about it. Time is the player’s biggest enemy in the game, as the proverbial clock starts ticking to the end the moment the players begin to flip cards over.
I was pleased with Find It & Bind It. It’s not a terribly difficult game or a deep game, but it’s a good game. It’s light enough to get to the table quickly, keeps me engaged, and always feels like a new challenge, despite lacking any surprises. It’s one of those games you keep on your gaming shelf because it’s solid and reliable. It won’t be the best game in your collection, but it will be one you keep. If you enjoy games where deduction and bluffing go hand in hand, where time is always against you, and an opponent may become an unwitting ally, then do play Find It & Bind It. While it might lack magical greatness, it most certainly has a lot of charm.
This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.