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The Village Crone: A Bewitching Experience

The Village Crone Box

The Village Crone!
(All photos of Fireside Games product were taken and edited by KristaG)

Continuing with the “spooky” theme for games this month, the next game on my list was The Village Crone. Compared to last week’s game (Skull), it is a full on board game with more in-depth strategy and longer play. The Village Crone was released in 2015 by Fireside Games and was designed by Anne-Marie De Witt. Each of the 1-6 players chooses a Witch character to play as they compete to claim the title of Village Crone for the town of Wickersby. However, similarly to Skull, the game mechanics remain the same regardless of character choice.


My favorite of the 6 Witches is Sorcha. I’m not sure if it’s due to her red hair or her spider familiars, but I love her…

There are 6 different Witches to choose from: Zavrina, Elsbeth, Beatrix, Hephzibah, Rowena, and Sorcha. Each has a unique set of Familiars ranging from spiders to cats to crows as well as an individual look. It is these differences that allow a bit of role-playing. Listed on the back of each character blind is a list of spells and their requirements. Not only does a player need the proper ingredients, but there is also a spoken incantation that must be said. This is potentially one of my favorite features of the game as it gives me a chance to add my own personal “Witchy” flare to my chosen character (usually Sorcha as she is my favorite of the 6!).

The game also features a modular game board with multiple possible layouts, creating a unique experience for each game! Depending on where each of the 6 village locations (the Forge, Farm, Mill, Tithe Barn, Lord’s Manor, and Village Green) ends up, some layouts are more beneficial than others. For example, the Village Green is the spawn point for newly summoned Familiars so having a more central location can be more beneficial than being on a far edge. I like that even though the rules give you layout examples, the actual placement is still done at random. This gives the game a lot of replayability, which, to me, is very important.

Populated Map

An example of the populated map of the village of Wickersby. Each game tends to have a different layout, which I love!

Once players have chosen their character and the village of Wickersby is laid out and populated with Villagers and Ingredient cards, the first player is chosen by discerning the player whose birthday is the closest to Halloween without going over. The chosen first player is given the Broom token. Each player then receives 1 of each of the 3 levels of Witch’s Scheme Cards, which earn players points upon completion. The more difficult the card, the more points a player will receive. The cards are kept private until completed and quite often, as each player moves towards their goals, they will find themselves in direct opposition of what another player is trying to achieve. Players will get to place their first 3 Familiars in any desired location for free (the remaining 2 will need to be summoned if a player wishes to use them) as well as collect 2 Ingredient cards from the chosen locations. Ingredient cards are used for spell casting and the combinations needed, as well as their incantations, are all listed on a player’s character blind (a.k.a. “Spell Book”). Note: Eye of Newt Ingredient cards act as wild cards.

Example Scheme Cards

Several Witch’s Scheme Cards that a player can try to complete to earn points. The first player to earn 13 points wins the game!

Each turn is completed in the following order: Tithe, Move and Cast Spells, Harvest, Move Broom. The round starts with each player tithing 1 ingredient face down to the Tithe Barn as payment for living in the village. Going in turn order, a player can move Villagers and/or their Familiars up to 6 spaces total and cast as many spells as they have the ingredients for. There are 8 different spells that can be cast: Summoning, Love, Transformation, Switching, Conjuring, Protection, Binding, and Fortune. Each one has its own unique combination of Ingredient cards and an incantation. Spells can be cast for numerous reasons such as trying to complete schemes, strategically hinder other players from completing schemes, protecting yourself from another Witch, earning extra Ingredient cards, etc. However, should a Witch forget to speak their incantation aloud before starting another task and another Witch catches it, the spell will fail and all Ingredients used are lost. Once each player has moved and cast all of their desired spells, every player draws 2 Ingredient cards for each of their Familiars in a Location. After everyone has done this, the Broom token is moved to the next player, and the next round begins. The first player to complete enough Witch’s Scheme Cards to earn 13 points, wins the game.

The Village Crone is a game I’ve wanted to purchase for quite some time as I tend to like spooky, witchy things like this (you may or may not remember my love for Cauldron from last year…). Though I was a little skeptical because no one I spoke to personally could really tell me much about it, I picked it up anyways. I am honestly quite happy that I did. I love that I can act out my character with some role-playing, yet I don’t have to keep track of a character sheet like I would if I were playing a pen and paper RPG. I find game play works surprisingly well with just 2 players as well as with more (as of the time of this review, I have not tried the solo variant), which makes it a great addition to my personal collection. Each round is played through fairly quickly so no player is left waiting long for their next turn, which makes it good for children and adults alike. Though some may be discouraged by the theme, I do feel that the game can be played with older kids (potentially as young as 8 as long as they have reached the reading level required for reading the “Spell Book”) as well as adults. I can’t wait to play this one again soon!


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