Quick Look: Wish
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Year Published: Just launched to Kickstarter (Link at the bottom of this review)
In Wish, you aim to gather the most Victory Points. Accomplish this by fulfilling Wish cards using amassed Crystals, matching them with Wishing Person meeples of corresponding colors. Construct Monuments with the meeples you collected and fulfill your Destiny card. Navigate this enchanting world with precision, leveraging your mastery of Wish cards, Monuments, and Destiny objectives to claim victory as the most accomplished Djinn.
Disclaimer: The publisher provided the prototype copy of Wish. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.
I recently hosted a game night with a relatively inexperienced couple, and spent several weeks mulling over which game to serve up as the evening’s entertainment. Having almost 100 games in my collection, you would think this would be easy, but rather sadly, most of our offerings are in the mid to heavy-weight difficulty levels, so my wife and I spent about 2 weeks in advance weeding out the games we felt would be the best fit for the couple we were hosting.
Our initial list included : Overboss, Ticket to Ride, Ierusalem, Dark Tower, Downforce , Return to Dark Tower, Galaxy Trucker, and Clank! Yes, a few of the games (Ierusalem, Dark Tower) may have been a bit above the challenge level of what one might ordinarily dole out on a premiere night for gaming, but thematically speaking, we felt these could have worked.
Even though my wife had been more keen on Ticket to Ride, I would be loathe to do so. For one thing, even though it served as our own personal “gateway game” years ago, I felt that it would be taking a huge step backwards for me (being a bit too much on the uncomplicated / boring side of things for my liking) such that I would personally feel bored dedicating a night to this game.
The second reason for me is that as mentioned in my Downforce review, I try to give attention to games that are not quite as mainstream—Ticket to Ride is often found in even book stores, if that says anything, and Downforce is seldom as seen on shelves, so I do want to try to give some of the smaller fish an ample opportunity whenever a chance arises to do so…
Now coincidentally, I had received a prototype for Wish (the game I am talking about now for the purposes of this review) the same week I had been scheduled to host my game dinner with friends. The game night has now come and gone by, and left me with time to start playing Wish, and I feel that in retrospect and hindsight, having an eventual full production run of Wish would have alleviated most or all of my concerns about utilizing Ticket to Ride as a game night.
And I am again loathing to try to compare Wish to other games when I should be talking exclusively about Wish right now in the fairness of the grand scheme of things. But I do feel that a frame of reference is essential to why I am drawing other names into this conversation.
Alas, time is short prior to the games’ launch (a shipping delay reduced my capacity to write as an extensive of a review as I normally do), I will need to gloss over some of the gameplay details a bit, but I will say that, viewed in a certain light, Wish feels like Ticket to Ride in some of its functionality, but ends up adding an extra layer or two of complexity that make it a great stepping stone into slightly more complex gaming experiences.
So yes, I liked it, and wish that we had had Wish as an option for our aforementioned meetup with friends.
Now, finally delving into the theme, Wish is a 2-4 player game in which players take on the roles of Djinns / Genies who are trying to fulfill as many wish’s as possible (represented by gaining VPs).
As one may expect, players will be traversing a board and collecting resources (crystals in this particular case), which can be utilized in various combinations to fulfill wishes of various colored meeples on the board.
Each Djinn also sports several asymmetrical abilities. There is a Water, Air, Fire, and Earth elemental Djinn that players can utilize, and each has their own thematic abilities. The Air Djinn for example can create wind paths directly on the board that only they can utilize to speed up travel on the map. The Earth Djinn can “grow” their own resources when needed.
Each Djinn will be able to Manifest different actions depending on where they are located (essentially allowing different interactions depending on the iconography on the area they are on.
These include :
Draw and Discard Wish Cards
Gain Trickery Tokens
Spend 1 to gain 2 crystals
“Regular” actions available can include using special abilities, moving, fulfilling wishing and building monuments (allowing more VP to be earned). You can even unlock another set of action combinations by fulfilling a certain number of wishes later on in the game!
One nice think about the asymmetrical Djinns is that they each have different combinations of actions available. For example, they are all limited in the number of actions they can take each turn, but their player boards are all configured distinctly. Whenever you place one of your action tokens on an area that has a choice of two actions, you essentially lock out the action in the slot for the rest of your turn, so careful decisions need to be made. However, some Djinns benefit from having an identical action located on another slot, enabling them to get more versatility in certain respects than other Djinns who lack access to being able to employ the same skill multiple times per turn. So this can lead to some interesting asymmetry.
Now it may have you scratching your head why I would mention Ticket to Ride when there aren’t any train lines to connect in Wish. That would be where Wish cards come into play.
The Wish Cards would be the functional equivalent of Ticket to Ride’s Destination Tickets. Throughout the course of the game each player will be able to draw and discard Wishes that depict various colored crystals the players need to acquire in order to Fulfill a Wish and get essential Victory Points to win the game. Fulfilling the requirements when taking the Fulfill a Wish action on your turn allows you to permanently lay down your Wish card from your hand onto the table and accrue one or more immediate or long-term game benefits in addition to the VP generated. In addition, they will take the meeple whose wish was fulfilled, again which are in various colors.
A benefit of fulfilling multiple wishes is that it will gradually allow you to acquire more and more meeples. Once you acquire certain color combinations of meeples, this can allow you to build monuments when traveling to certain areas on the board, which not only give you more VP, but they will also allow you or other players to keep utilizing the meeples on the monument for fulfilling wishes in the future. A side perk, is that if another player ever utilizes the meeples on your monument , you gain additional VP. So that is a nice bonus!
The game continues until the camel / caravan meeple reaches traverses its entire path along the map, and the duration for a game is never static due to randomly drafted movement cards every round, each of which generate different movement amounts. The camel meeple can also be utlized for trading during the game, which is a nice thematic side bonus, even if there are other places to trade on the board, having a more mobile option can be used in your favor if planned accordingly.
With this being a very basic summary, let’s move on to my main areas of observation, keeping in mind that this is a prototype and subject to change.
For the most part, this initial printing seems pretty solid. Card stock and tokens are all really good quality, and crystals are all wonderfully colorful and tactile, as are the wooden monuments and meeples.
However, I do have a concern with the Djinn standees. While I love that they are acrylic, at this point in time, the thermal image is only printed on one side, making it sometimes difficult to see the art on it when viewed from an opposing angle. Hopefully the standees will have printing on both sides when the full game is released.
The rule book in my opinion could stand to have a thorough English revision prior to publication, as I did notice a lot of grammatical, punctuational and structural issues in certain parts. The rules were nevertheless easy to comprehend, but I could definitely see some room for improvement in the writing itself. The layout itself is fine, it is just a matter of fixing the typos and such.
The art itself stands out very well, and is exceptionally drawn, encompassing something that seems like it came right out of Disney’s Aladdin while nevertheless finding a way to be unique in its depictions.
what matters most. Wish works really well as a bridge to more complex games. And again, I must reiterate that my personal collection has a large gap between the more “basic” complexities of games and the more advanced / middle level ones like Ierusalem and Dark Tower. I often wish that there was something that could offer more of a middle ground, and this is where I feel Wish excels. While not quite middle-weight in its difficulty level, it isn’t quite beginner level either (which I would categorize Ticket to Ride as), which is a nice balance to have in my book. And more to the point, it is nice to have a middle-light game sporting asymmetrical abilities.
Indeed, one reason I chose Downforce over Ticket to Ride for my game night had to do with the asymmetrical Power Cards that particular game utilizes to give players a sense of distinction over the others. Ticket to Ride offers no such distinctive abilities, but otherwise has a great theme. And that is one thing that I sensed the other players really enjoyed once they had a grasp of Downforce’s mechanics ; they really loved having a special perk or abilities.
I would imagine that Wish, with its combination of asymmetric abilities and relative simplicity would make players feel special and unique while simultaneously being strategic. Though not the most engaging in terms of player interaction, it nevertheless offers up a hearty dose of competition, especially as players seals off opportunities for other Djinn’s as they rack up fulfilled wishes and monuments.
All in all, this is one game I hope to employ again in the future when hosting another similar game night. If the occasion arises again, I will be sure to share my thoughts! But all in all, I would say Wish is another great way to bring more casual gamers into the scene.
Find out more at BGG.
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Jazz Paladin- Reviewer
Jazz Paladin is an eccentric at heart — When he is not learning to make exotic new foods at home, such as Queso Fresco cheese and Oaxacan molé, he is busy collecting vintage saxophones, harps, and other music-related paraphernalia. An avid music enthusiast, when he is not pining over the latest board games that are yet-to-be-released, his is probably hard at work making jazzy renditions of classic/retro video game music tunes as Jazz Paladin on Spotify and other digital music services.