Quick Look: The Wilderness Board Game
Designer: Rafael & Luiz Henrique
Artists: Henrique Mueller, Caio Peral
Publisher: Boardgame Adventures
Year Published: 2023 Coming to Kickstarter links at the bottom of this review
The Wilderness Board Game is a memorable, solo, or cooperative adventure experience for 1-6 players. Set in a beautiful dystopic world where nature has reclaimed the cities. The Survivors will have to fight a horde of wolves and a giant Beast to create a safe heaven amid this chaos.
With unique mechanics, The Wilderness Boardgame will challenge your communication and resource management skills. Gorgeous miniatures of different sizes for the Beasts, Wolves, and Survivors, besides an immersive narrative and world-building.
The Wilderness Boardgame is a unique experience for fans of the Boss Battler and Dungeon Crawler genres. As well as lovers of dystopian stories and mystic creatures.
The Wilderness is a new boardgame coming to Kickstarter in the near future (2023?), and can be played as a solo or co-operative adventure style survival game, set in a dystopian world which has been reclaimed by nature.
Each scenario / quest should take no longer than 60 to 120 minutes to complete.
Rules & Setup:
The rules are laid out in a very organized and logical way, and they clearly walk you through how the game is played, and how to both set up the game area, and what components will be required in the particular quest you are playing through.
There are plenty of pictorial examples within the book to assist in all aspects of set up and game play / turns, as well as examples for all 3 ‘factions’ in the game; i.e. Survivors, Wolves and Beasts.
The rulebook I received with the prototype game was not fully complete, as not all the scenarios were listed, and not every monster was detailed in it, only the two I got with my copy, namely Kitsune & The Revenant.
However, what was in the book was more than adequate to show how the game will work, play and evolve as you go through the scenarios. I’m unsure how many scenarios will be in the finished book, as my copy only had numbers 3 and 8 (which I set up and partially played through).
The back page was given over to a handy reference sheet, much more useful than a page for just another piece of art in my opinion
All in all, a very decent ruleset, laid out with thought and care, and in a sensible order. Some rulebooks I have received with even finished games have jumped around more than a trampolinist after 10 energy drinks.
Theme and Mechanics:
The theme of the game is as above, a dystopian world that has seen nature take back control, and can be described as a fantasy, co-op, adventure dungeon crawler and boss battler.
You will need to battle and defeat whatever comes your way, whilst gathering new items, completing a quest, and managing your resources to ensure none of the survivors die along the way, as this means instantly quest failure.
The mechanics are very well thought out, and should keep players engaged as you play out the scenarios that will come with the game, and maybe these will even form a much longer campaign as you play through each one gathering experience points as you complete each quest, as well as maybe coming up with your own quests once you have done those in the book.
As there are quite a few survivors, the quests can, I assume, be played with different characters to change them up, and give some replayability.
The Survivor with the first player token can take / use up to four actions on their turn which can include Trade Gear, Upgrade Weapons, Fight, Explore Ruins and Search for Supplies. Once a player has taken all the available actions, or as many as they wish to take, then play passes to the next player, and they do the same, and this continues until all players have completed all their actions.
Once all the above is complete you then move on to the Wolf Phase, which consists of them either attacking or moving towards a survivor. If no Survivor is being tracked then they don’t move, and they always stop moving if they encounter or hit a Survivor model.
Once the Wolves activation is complete then more will spawn in the ‘nest’ areas on the game board, and their turn will end once this spawning action is completed.
The third phase is that of the beast being used in the particular scenario or game you are playing through, and it will perform 3 consecutive actions against the survivors. Because of its size you will be able to see these actions coming and will have time to defend yourselves against the beast, and each beast is unique in it’s abilities, personality and behavior, and their attacks differ depending on their attack cards.
Once the beast has completed their actions / turn, the starting survivor passes the first player marker to thier left and a new turn begins.
Games are won by the survivors if they complete their mission / quest without any of the survivors being killed. They lose the game if even one survivor dies, or if any specific goals are not met as outlined in the Quest requirements.
If you have more players than the scenario allows, then you can play as the wolves or as the Beast itself.
Each tile that makes up the board is made up of 9 individual squares, referred to as ‘zones’, and you can move between zones that have a shared border, unless blocked by something, like a wall, and each zone can only contain a maximum of
If the above limits are ever reached, then this blocks other survivors or wolves from entering that particular zone.
You are determined to be in ‘reach’ of another model if you are in the same zone as them, or share a border with them if there are no walls between each model. Some actions can only be performed by models when they are considered to be within ‘reach’ of another model, while some actions will only affect models that are classed as ‘surrounding’ another model, I.e. diagonal to them.
A survivor can perform the following actions on their turn, to a maximum of 4, in any order:
- Reorganize / Upgrade
A quick overview of these actions are;
Movement – is from one zone to another, not diagonally, and only if the area is not already at it’s maximum allowance, including moving through it.
Reorganize / Upgrade – the player can change which items their survivor is carrying and is simply in their inventory, or if the correct card is in their possession they can also upgrade a weapon in their possession.
Search – actions are performed in zones that have a Scavenge Spot, and only one can be performed per turn, even if it is a free action, After the search is done the player takes a card from the item deck and then reduces the dial indicator by one to show that another available item has been scavenged. If the dial reaches zero, remove it from the board.
Break – actions allow a survivor to exchange weapon cards with a break icon for an upgrade card of the same color and symbol.
Trade – actions can be performed between survivors who are within reach of each other, exchanging cards and reorganizing their new items.
Supply – actions are performed on either the survivor themselves, or on another within reach. The survivor who is the ‘target / recipient’ of the supply receives the affect of the card and it is then discarded.
Objective – actions are taken to interact with the objective token, and some are of different colours, based on the mission / quest.
Combat – actions are taken to attack a wolf or beast by an equipped weapon, be it melee or ranged.
Each wolf killed or wound inflicted on the Beast will gain the survivor an experience point.
Artwork and Components:
The game will come with some extremely detailed and beautiful miniatures of not only the survivors you will play, but of wolves and giant beasts, and will prove to be a unique experience for gamers who enjoy both dungeon crawler style games, as well as boss battlers.
The art in the rulebook is very nice, and helps to clearly define the game and how it plays / what you can do.
The ‘board’ is made up of several 170mm square tiles, and each scenario will tell you how to utilize them during set up, they are clearly labelled both front and back, and a diagram is shown in each scenario listing on which ones to use in that particular quest.
The cards are nicely done, and the player and monster boards are very nicely laid out, and are of extremely good quality card.
You get dice with the game 6 of each type, D6 & D10
The rulebook is well done, the player and beast boards are exceptionally good, made from 3mm card stock and will prove to be very resilient if played repeatedly.
The miniatures, if produced in plastic to the same standard as the 3D printed ones I got with the prototype, are going to draw in a lot of people, as they will be easily useable in other tabletop miniature games and perhaps even for your RPG games as well. The detail on them is exquisite, with The Revenant being particularly awesome.
I liked the combat as it wasn’t complicated and drawn out, and the game seemed to flow at a nice pace when played solo, and I can only hope the same will be the case when multiple players are involved, although there will obviously be more discussions about who will be doing what on each turn.
The only thing I didn’t like was the size of the cards, and whilst this might seem like nit picking, it’s just a personal thing, but I can fully understand why they are the size they are as it keeps the size of player boards down as the cards sit on the boards in specific spaces for them, I.e. to show what gear etc. you have at any one time. For me playing card size is much nicer.
I’d also like to see recessed boards as an option in the Kickstarter as these are always nice so that markers don’t get dislodged during game play when tracking health etc.
In conclusion, I liked the Wilderness. It isn’t trying to be ‘too much’ (and I don’t mean that in a negative or derogatory way) as a lot of Kickstarter games are these days, and by that I mean I have backed and received far more complicated games than this appears to be, that I thought I would enjoy and play over and over, only to find that the length of time to set up, and the amount of stuff to sort out before you even get down to playing just stopped me taking them off the shelf.
The fact that the scenario I played had only 6 tiles and the game area was fairly well contained meant I can/could easily see players getting this out when they want to play a game of this genre and type, but don’t have the time or inclination to spend an hour getting it all ready.
It is also a game you can easily teach to non-gamers and younger players in my opinion, as the rules are easy to learn, and the actions are pretty self explanatory and will be learned within a turn or two of playing.
I think this game will garner a lot of interest when it hits Kickstarter, and one you should keep an eye out for, or you could simply be left in ‘the Wilderness’.
Players Who Like:
If you like Dungeon Crawlers or Boss Battlers I think you’re going to love this, but also, if you play games like the Walking Dead miniatures game, and maybe Zombicide or similar post apocalyptic themed games then this will be right up your overgrown by nature alley.
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Carl King- Reviewer