The game sees players taking on the role of newly recruited members of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. With the Eight Great Spells missing from the Unseen University the future of the Disc hangs in the balance. Each player is tasked to collect and return a number of the spells to the university before it is too late. Each player selects one of four Guilds to infiltrate, Thieves, Assassins, Alchemists or Fools. Their chosen Guild Card will give them a specific selection of the Great Spells to collect and grants them a unique Guild Ability which can be used to hinder their opponents. It is also used to mark the players Charm, Guild and Magic abilities, which can be developed throughout the game.
There are twelve locations on the board where players may charm (or bribe) volunteers to join them on their quest. The characters are split into three Volunteer Decks each representing the range of inhabitants who might be found in different locations within the city; Lords & Ladies, Man & Beast and Shades & Shadows. Each Volunteer is assigned a set of skill attributes which can be used individually to protect the Spells, or combined with those of other volunteers and used to complete the Wizards Challenges - five tests of strength, brain, and worthiness which the runners must complete in order to enter the Unseen University with the Spells. A selection of enchanted scrolls, weapons, armour and magical items can be purchased by players to equip their volunteers and boost their attributes.
For 2 - 6 Players