Dinosaur Island (2017) review
* Warning : all the components presented in the photos of this review come from the KS version, the retail version may be slightly different. *
Who hasn't dreamed of being able to manage a park of living dinosaurs? To be able to play with DNA while offering its visitors an intense and magical experience ? Dinosaurs were for dreamers, then Spielberg pushed the concept even further with his movie Jurassic Park.
Since then, there has always been this desire to find a game with a gameplay equivalent that could take us back to this wonderful adventure. Strangely, few games with this theme have emerged. There was an old MB game that came out many moons ago, but we were far from the possibility of managing a Jurrasic style park. License costs are certainly very high, fear of attacking this well loved monument, or simply a lack of interest ... The reasons are certainly varied to why a game like this never came to market.
Since the release of Jurassic World, licensed games have emerged. Aimed at the family audience and not necessarily the gamer, who wanted to control the management of the park itself. In 2017, an "expert" game came to Kickstarter and surprised us, with this thematic flavor: Dinosaur Island from Pandasaurus Games.
The first thing that was surprising in this game was the art. Everything is very flashy (maybe too much?) Illustrators Kwanchai Moriya (Catacombs), Peter Wocken (Dead of Winter) and Anthony Wocken, had free rein to their madness and offered us unique and surprising visuals. A breath of fresh air in a world where production tends to be more and more standardized. This art gave a unique cachet to this game. Clearly, from its aesthetics, it can be cutting.
The designers Jonathan Gilmour (Dead of Winter) and Brian Lewis (Titan of Industry) offer us with their game, the opportunity to be at the head of a company that embarks on the exploitation of dinosaurs to attract tourists into their amusement park. Does it remind you of anything?
Everything is there. Creation of dinosaurs (thanks to the recovered DNA), creation of enclosures, levels of security, booths of goodies, food stands, attractions, specialists, dinosaurs, ... Even the rules offer a lot of tributes and funny references.
We are in a game as faithful as possible to the monument that is Jurassic Park without having the film footage and stepping on any rights.
In Dinosaur Island, the goal is to make your park lively as possible. Playable for 2 to 4 players (you have also a solo mode), each is the head of a scientific corporation. Your park is represented by an individual player board, on one side is the possible locations, on a kind of grid and on the other the actions that your workers can do. The game is played in several phases.
The first is the specific resource search. You are going to send your scientists to bring back DNA, to find dinosaur "recipes" (yes I do not know what else to call it), or to transform them into mundain workers.
We are in a fairly conventional job placement. The choices are represented either by dice or by locations, as is the case for dinosaurs. Moreover, there are two types of dinosaur"recipes": Herbivores and Carnivores. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Herbivores are easier to create and generate fewer problems but they attract less visitors. On the other hand, Carnivores are the opposite.
The taste of danger brings back more people. With Carnivores, you have two types : small and large (which are more difficult to create). I take the lead and I answer you right away ... Yes, there is the Tyrannosaurs. Each species of dinosaurs is represented only once. So if you like this one especially, buy it immediately!
During the second phase, you will be able to recover equipment, build buildings and recruiter specialists to improve your park. No, you can't find John Hammond, Dr. Grant or Ian Malcom ... Though, if you look a little closer, maybe...
So you can get goodies, attractions or food stalls, each of which yield different benefits. The equipment offer you new actions for your workers. Specialists are there to give you bonuses during the game. Be careful, all places are limited and it costs money. If nothing interests you, it is possible to recover DNA instead. Each player will have the right to two purchases. Apart from taking the tile that interested the other players, the interaction is low.
Here in the third phase, each player will use their workers to develop their park. It is at this moment that we will create our dinosaurs for example. What's the point of a park without dinosaurs? To come into the world, these charming creatures need a type of DNA according to their "recipe". They will bring you victory points at the end of the game but especially points of interest, that's what makes the audience come. They will also need a large enough enclosure. Apart from the joyous aspect of genetic transformation, it is at this stage that you will be able to improve your security, your money (advertising costs) and your paddocks. Here, everyone plays at the same time.
The fourth phase is the fastest. We check each park one by one and the doors open. We draw a number of tourists equal to our fame. But beware, some tourists are not there to just visit. But pose more problems, than profits. In front of all that are the crowds and is your security sufficient to protect them? Because if you have been too greedy or unscrupulous, your dinosaurs can, for a very short moment, break out of their paddock and have fun with your visitors. Nothing serious. After all, some deaths do increase the fame of a park, no! ... No? Ah! ... So you will lose a few victory points based on these unexplained disappearances. But rest assured, they had still paid their entry before their death. Also, since the world has a short memory, the next turn, your park will reopen. You'll adjust your score and start again.
The end of the game will come when all public objective have been won. These randomly chosen goals at the beginning of a game can be modulated to increase or shorten the game. There is also a “first come first serve” race between the players.
Dinosaur Island is a game with simple rules. You explain and understand everything quickly, without having to go back to the rule book. Games can be more or less long and none are really alike. I'll admit it, I love this game. And yet, let's be honest, it's not perfect. Besides its design (pink dinosaurs!), one of my first critiques is that it appears to be a solitary game. Indeed, apart from a little pressure on the objectives or which dice to choose in phase 1, the interaction is very weak or non-existent. Players create their park in their own corner and then occasionally look at where other players are. Usually, this is something that bothers me.
But, I admit that I let myself be so transported by my imagination in this game that it does not remove my pleasure. And, it always makes you smile to see another player forget the importance of security. In general, game does not offer a very difficult challenge. It is rare to be really stuck and we always end up doing what we want... almost. For players looking for complexity, you will be disappointed. Another point more anecdotal, the customization of the park is also a little limited especially by meeples dinosaurs that closely resemble the others (but hey, it would have been much more expensive to have different meeple dinosaurs for each species). There is no such thing as a specialty or a specific thing to watch depending on the dinosaur taken. It's pretty generic.
In spite of all that, I continue to love this game. I dreamlike feeling transports me into the game. Its simplicity makes it easy to take out and play. No need to go back to the rules at every game.
The replayability is present by the choice of public goals, the choices during the game and what the dice offer ... The material is very nice and quite neat. I see myself at the head of an entertainment company, choosing my dinosaurs carefully, develop my park, protect (or not) my visitors ... This game really has a magical aura.
I think the relation to Jurassic Park is not insignificant. If the game was talking about something else, with the same mechanisms, I'm not sure it would please me as much. The theme and the nostalgia therefore occupy very important places in my appreciation of the game. The first player token, a visitor's bracelet for the KS version, puts you directly in the mood.
Dinosaur Island is a particular game. The choice of graphics, the choice of the gameplay, the choice of theme, everything has been carefully worked for our greatest pleasure. We can of course expect more. After all, with such a theme, our imagination is racing very quickly. More customization, more differentiation, more challenge, more choice ...
But then we would have a different type of game. Finally, is not it the will of the authors to have created a simple game but not too simplistic. A game open to all and playable by the vast majority, while keeping a strong identity and an ounce of difficulty? In any case, I can only recommend this game, which even if it does not invent anything and remains fairly traditional (a mix of mechanisms), makes you plunge into of your childhood dreams . A success simply.
Note that following the success of the game, an expansion has been realised. Totally Liquid offers the possibility to play up to five, new types of dinosaurs (sailors), new paddocks, new specialists ... A new experience that I will review soon.
At the same time as this expansion, they released a special version for two players, Duelosaur Island. If you are interested, I could also review that for you?
Technical Score 9/10
The components of the game are very good quality. The boards are hard cardboard, very resistant. The meeples are funny. The rules are well written and everything is installed quickly. The graphics and the choice of colors can disorientate or even run away. Yet this daring choice brings a breath of fresh air into the current production.
BGG Score 9/10
(Excellent game. Always want play it.)
A game with simple, catchy rules that makes you relive the adventure Jurassic Park. An excellent game to spend a good moment of reflection between players or with you family.
Combined Score 9/10
Great Score for very good game. And now it's over to you...
Barry's first impressions
The game does capture the essence of building a theme park. With so many tiles to buy, cards to collect and different Dinosaurs to play with, there is a lot of replayability. But with that come a big load of boards. A board for each phase, is a little too much for a coffee shop to play with, but everything is thematic and interesting.
I did enjoy playing the game although I felt it was unbalance with this “short term memory” world. If a visitor died tragically at a theme park, there would be a bit of bad press and the loss of income or point. This game captures that. But a massacre at a park should be devastating to a park owners score...not here.
Globe Twister (2018) review
Many people spend many hours connecting tiny pieces of cardboard together to complete one image. My wife and daughter have just started doing one right now. A 1000 piece puzzle of London landmarks. Eventually this puzzle will be glued together and then hoisted up and mounted on a wall somewhere in our house. Hopefully out of my sight. This is something that I think we are all addicted to as children. If fact, this pastime has been turned into a board game, called Puzzle Battle. Where players are racing to complete their puzzle before the others.You can check out a review I did here.
The natural progression was then the slide puzzle. A plastic or wooden framed toy with an image, broken into many squares and left with one space in which to shuffle the pieces into the correct order. This too has been transformed into a board game.
In Globe Twister, players are trying to put their memories of their holidays back together. The game comes with five unique individual images for five players. And one universal image on the back of these double-sided tiles. Again it’s a race to finish your puzzle before the other players but unlike puzzle battle, it’s not just a one on one affare, plus you can adjust the difficulty level for each individual player. And on top of that it is a logical programmation game.
Players will have a handful of cards and each card will have an action depicted on it. For example one card will have a rotate a tile 90° left,while another card, 90° right. There are cards that will make you switch the positions of two tiles, either adjacent or on the opposite side of this 3 x 3 grid. The other neat twist to this concept is the fact that you’ll be placing these cards in an empty frame that represents the 3 x 3 tiles of your image. The position that you placed your card in this frame will corrisponde to a tile, dictating its action. Each space can only contain one action card. So as soon as you have placed all the actions that you can possibly do or are a little out of actions that you need to do you can stop.
So you'll be racing to use your logic to get these tiles into the right spaces. Each card that you have has one unique action whether it be a rotate or a move. And placing each card in its correct space becomes very important when it comes to your turn to carry out your programmation.
Your puzzle will be given to you at the beginning of the game from another player who will be shuffling the tiles before hiding them behind an image of the final photo. Sometimes your puzzle will be handed to you, and a majority of those tiles will need rotating. Where as the puzzle you shuffled for another player may just need them to place their tiles in the right space is, without rotating. This is where the only technical bug of the game lays. In its unfairness of the shuffling, may require one player to do more programming than another.
Where this could be great is where adults are playing against children and the adult gets the harder puzzle. It’s not really that big bug as it only affects the generic image that has only one orientation. Where as the unique images can be made any way up, the puzzle becomes which way is the quickest to complete.
If you are the first player to finish programming, you will place your image over your puzzle and turn the sand timer. This gives 30 seconds for the other players to finish playing cards before the end of the round. Then players will, one by one act out their programmation. And this is where the fun begins.
The programmations are carried out in reading order, meaning that the first card in the top left hand corner of the frame activates first. After it has activated or there is no card there, it goes to the next card to the right of that. And all the way down to the bottom right hand corner. Fun you say! Well yes, sometimes you will move a tile to a different position where you have a rotate tile. And if you have not correctly thought this through you may rotate the tile that didn’t need rotating. This can lead to giggles from your children if you are playing against them. Or banging your head against the table when you’re playing against your friends.
After everyone has carried out their programmation you start again. Just until one player has completed their image, ending the game.
This is a perfect game for a family or for people new to hobby gaming, due to the fact that it is relatively simple. You are doing a picture puzzle and everybody can relate to that. I just think the adjustment of the difficulty level is an added bonus. As there are two powerful cards that can be removed for experience players. These allow tiles to move anywhere that you wish and rotate at any angle you wish too. A major rule with these cards is once they are used they are removed from the game. But if you see fit your children could keep these cards and carry on using them throughout. Also the images reflect the varying degrees of difficulty. The five unique images are very colorful and very mixed with their design. They are also very much like a fish lens image going all around the outside of the puzzle. Where is on the backside of the universal image, has a horizon.
Gameplay is relatively quick and within 10 minutes, your puzzle will be complete and you'll probably play again with a different image. Unfortunately it lacks more images that could add to replayability. Maybe down the road they’ll be a new version with a 4 x 4 grid and more picture postcards for you to complete.
The art is jolly and colorful and the components are of good quality. The rulebook does and exceptional job at explaining everything in good detail, from each of the different cards powers to how the programmation works. It also has some suggestions on how to play without the timer or without the frame. And there is even a solo mode, where you will have to complete a set puzzle in a set amount of turns. This could be very interesting when playing with experience players. Either as a group logic puzzle cooperatively. Or as a competition to see who can complete their puzzle the quickest. It’s all packed into a nice small size box which makes it a nice game to take away on holiday. There is enough game play here for young children. And with the imagery of different cultures from around the world will give them something to talk about as they play. I do enjoy the logic puzzle aspect of the game but it gets a little old, too quick.
Technicals score 9/10
Small and portable. Simple and well presented. Colourful and easy for anyone to play.
My BGG score 7/10
(Good - usually willing to play)
A good logic puzzle that is 10 minutes of fun, then sadly forgotten.
Combined score 8/10
and now it's over to you...
A Handful Of Stars (2017) review
A Handful of Stars is the latest game in a "Deckbuilding" trilogy by designer Martin Wallace. This trilogy was initiated by A Few Acres of Snow and then followed by Mythotopia. As often with this designer, the classical mechanism is transformed into a rather interesting mix. In this series of games, Wallace has fun with deckbuilding. We start with a mechanism that we know but we will quickly end up with a gameplay quite different.
A Handful of Stars is a very playable game even with 2 or 4 players. The story is set in a science fiction universe where a very strategic confrontation will take place. You’ll embody a faction, an alien race and our goal is to conquer the galaxy. A Handful of Stars is a game that does not forgive, especially with only two players where the conflict is even more brutal. At three or four players, the forces involved can balance out and unofficial diplomacy plays a non-trivial role.
Aesthetically, the board and the overall rendering is beautiful. It sounds stupid to say that, but Wallace games are not famous for their graphics especially those edited by Treefrog Games (of which this was the last). But rest assured, we plunged into the "normal" when we talk about the tokens spaceships.
Each player starts on their native world, chosen among the choice in our hand. We embody one of seven alien races available. Each being asymmetrical. When set up, the planets that make up the galaxy are randomly placed. This ensures tremendous replayability, as even roads that connect planetary areas can be blocked by black holes. The initial arrangement of the board will only rarely be identical. This will also affect how the players start the game. Indeed, from one game to another, you may be lucky and begin with an advantageous start ... or, if you don't, pretty disastrous one. But you’ll have to deal with it. You don't become Emperor of the Galaxy without challenge.
Every planet under your control brings you cards. These cards will be your deck. Do not forget that this is a deckbuilder ... with an integrated 4X system ... or the other way around ... The more you will spread in the Galaxy and conquer systems, the more you will be present on the board. But the bigger you get, the bigger your deck will grow. The need to purify your deck or draw THE ONE card you need, will therefore diminish according to your warlike appetite. This aspect, thematic level, is reminiscent of an Empire lost in the middle of bureaucracy and its inertia due to the amount of planets controlled.
The concept of deckbuilding is quite important in the game. But not in the traditional way. Indeed, here no rivers of cards to buy. The cards that will form your deck will come from your conquests or your ability to invest in technology. With six cards in your hand per turn, you can play as many as you want. At the end of a round, you only draw until you have six cards again. Yes, we can keep cards from one turn to another. You don't have to play all your hand during a turn. But the more cards you keep, the less you renew your hand. In order to plan future actions or put aside cards until the right time, we find the action , thanks to Wallace, to "Reserve." In A Handful of Stars, on the individual player board, we have two "Reserve" slots. The first slot stores cards based on its capacity limit. This is one of the possible actions that gets rid of your hand or your deck while keeping the ability to play them later. The second slot is for some special cards that will have a permanent effect as long as they are visible. This is a very important notion in the game and above all very useful.
With the help of the resources present on the cards, we will gradually build our civilization. Each card can have several resources, but only one is used when played. The choice can sometimes be difficult. There are four resources available. Developing your research, allows you to acquire new technology cards. Recovering energy sources allows you to move. Acquire a special kind of material that will be used during spaceflight. Finally, capturing or pacifying populations will allow to settle on new systems.
The possible actions are quite numerous: put cards in reserve, move, recover cards technologies, play cards technologies, create front posts, settle on habitable planets, create your troops, remove a single card, discard one card or pass. To be honest, the last two actions are not useful in this game. Among all that, we can only choose two per turn.
One of the important points of the game is the fight. To become Emperor, peace is beautiful but it does not last forever, especially when others have the same goal as you. Suddenly, it poses a problem quickly. We realize that the Galaxy is not so big and that if someone could disappear, it would not be as annoying. The attacker will therefore go to the neutral planet or one belonging to another player. For this, they must spend energy to move their ships or bases. Each having it's own fighting force. We then have two possibilities. If the target is neutral, we look at its strength on the token. If the attacker has at least +1, they win. They can stay to eventually later settle down on that planet. If it's a player, the fight can become bloodier. Once the attacker has moved, the defender has the opportunity to do the same (also paying with energy). Players also play potential technological cards. They compare their forces, then half of each of the armies are slaughtered (rounded up or down depending on who wins). The winner remains, the loser flees their home (otherwise they perish). It's a violent game. Those who do not like to suffer or to be attacked, look away NOW! In space, the law of the strongest reigns supreme.
But how does this fierce struggle end? Again, Wallace has created a pretty clever system. The central mechanic is deckbuilding, therefore each player has their own deck to build. Once their deck is empty, they shuffle it. So far so good. Except that once a player (anybody) shuffles their deck, the turn token is moved one step further. When it reaches the end of the track (depending on the number of players), it's game over. Management and speed with which one will or will not play their cards, will count enormously. If player play too fast, or someone's deck is too small, the game will move much faster.
A Handful of Stars is an extremely clever game. Wallace has once again create a unique game in its mechanics while drawing heavily on what exists elsewhere. The tension is ubiquitous. The game is nasty, brutal and doesn't forgive much. The replayability is enormous due to the random set up, the choice of its race, and the way of playing ... The interaction is very strong. You must constantly monitor the others. Their place in the universe, their ability to move, the number of times they puts to mix his deck. Many factors to consider for a game that ultimately is not so calculating. With this game, I feel that Wallace has reached the end of his approach : transcended and transformed the essence of deckbuilding to make it even more intense and concrete. Be careful, the duration of the game is quite important. A game that will not leave you indifferent but that will require several plays before it can be tamed.
This game also has a small taste of bitterness. Even though it is very good, it will always have this little end flavor. Indeed, this was the end of Wallace, not to create games fortunately, but the adventure of his company, Treefrog. It may be anecdotal but it counts for me. This game is a little unnoticed as of its release and continues to be hard to find. Maybe it's a bit of that ... Anyway, if you like the 4X system and the deckbuilding go for it, you're in front of an excellent game.
Technical Score 7/10
You either like or don’t like old school graphics of this game. All components are correct without being extraordinary. Rules are very minimalist in their design but are ok.
BGG Score 8/10
(Very good game)
A very good mix between 4X and deckbuilding. Naughty and ruthless, the war is raging and will leave no one indifferent.
Combined Score 7,5/10
And now it's over to you...
One of the greatest films of our time is Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” I believe.
It was such a gritty, realistic view of the future. A group of co-workers on their way home, after a long haul, are requested to pull over to check out a vehicle that has crashed. When one of the team brings back a pet that picks them off, one by one, while they are stranded in the middle of nowhere. Leaving them helpless and alone.
Well, that’s kind of the story. The things I love about the film are its cramp corridors, the slow tension, the isolated setting and the philosophy of the creature. Things that make for good horror and storytelling. In the past, thanks to technology, we have had the chance to experience this situation by playing the Playstation 3 game, Dead Space. And now we can kinda capture that experience on our table top.
You may have missed out on it’s original release as it was a Kickstarter only project, with two pledge levels. The basic game and version with 3D board. Luckily, it is coming back to Kickstarter as of February the 14th 2019, with some promised new bit for those who own the first version and the opportunity for those that missed its first tour around the sun, to catch up.
But should you back it?
As always, I am here to help with my first impression of the game. And I have compiled them into a video and a written article that you can see below. Yes, I love the theme, and yes, I love this genre of game, so take that into consideration when I say that I can’t wait to play it again. And as always, I hope that this helps point you in the right direction to decide if this is a Kickstarter for you, or not.
Wildlands (2018) review
Wildlands is one of the latest games by designer Martin Wallace. If this name still does not tell you anything, it's high time you go and find out more and try out his games. He has created a few dud games, but usually, most of them are very good, and is one of the most original and talented authors since the 90's. He is credited with titles such as Age of Steam, A Few Acres of Snow and God's Playground. All very good, I tell you. In 2018, there were no less than three publications of his games that were available. Two from a Kickstarter: Auztralia and the new Brass: Lancashire. And one that went direct to retail: Wildlands. It is this title that we will talk about here.
Wildlands came out at Essen 2018 from Osprey Games, a rather surprising English publisher. Little known to the general public, Osprey Publishing specialize in book publishing or wargame rules. Their origins include famous wargames / figurine games like Frostgrave, Dracula's America or Bolt Action. They did not neglect the board game, by branching out and creating Osprey Games, with titles like Escape For Colditz, The Lost Expedition, London (another Wallace). An editor searching since a few years to stand out.
Following a fierce battle between Good and Evil, the capital of the kingdom has been ravaged. It is indeed in the middle of this territory that the final struggle took place. The victory of the Good was not without consequence and the capital was carried away leaving Wildlands (hence the name of the game) devastated.
Today, enemy factions find themselves in search of treasure, glory and fame. These are your goals, as you play one of these factions and impose yourself against others.
Wildlands is a game for 2 to 4 players, based in a fantasy world. Each player embodies a faction composed of several miniatures (5 per faction in the base game). The four factions are The Guild, The Lawbringers, The Gnomads and The Pit Fighters (one per player, of course!). Each offers a different gameplay. Not in the mechanisms, but in the way of apprehending and controlling them. To impose yourself? Nothing easier. You just have to be the first to win 5 points. You will earn one point if you manage to recover a crystal of your color or if you knocked out an opposing figure. A character out of play will of course not return. Once a player loses all their miniatures, he loses. So beware of being too adventurous.
In the game, there are two types of actions: default and flags.
When you play a card with your character icon :
Each card has several icons. When a card is played, you can activate only one miniature regardless of the image and the number of symbols. Yes, the whole game is based on choice. Doing this or that action will deprive you of other choices.
You also have Wild cards that give you three choices : move any character, draw two cards or interrupt. Interrupt is another rather malicious gaming mechanism. With such a card, you can intervene in an opponent's turn.
Once a player has finished an action during his turn, you can play a card for its interrupt ability and play as if it were your turn. But be careful, that player too can do the same, as too can the other players. Very quickly, everything can come one after another and can lead to hurt. Once each player has stopped and played their actions, the game returns to the current active player.
That's all? Almost. The game gives you the freedom to play as many cards as you want, but at the end of your turn you will only draw three cards, with a seven card limit to your hand. And when you interrupt a player's game, you won't draw again until the end of your turn.
With an air of a skirmish game (clash of small bands), Wildlands offers a little more than that. You can try to kill the characters of the other faction but you can also very well win without doing a single point of damage. And claim the shards of your color. Or even do a mix of both. It's a very competitive point race. You must constantly pay attention to what the other is doing. The interaction is very strong especially with the potential threat of an interruption on your turn.
We are clearly in a game that will not please everyone. Its strengths can also become its weaknesses. The impression of an omnipresent chaos (linked to the interruption mechanism). The great presence of luck (linked to the draw of cards that will determine the possible actions). The immediate victory without finishing the round. And the ease of access are some of the many points which can scare or even remove many players.
But Wallace is a well-known designer for cleverly mixing German-style gaming mechanisms with Ameritrash style. Wildlands is no exception to the rule.
Chance is indeed present, whether from the set-up or in full play, it is the cards that will allow you to carry out your actions. Sometimes, when you don't have a good hand, it can make you angry. But it's also one of game's wills, to force you to adapt to each situation. It is almost impossible to get stuck if you know how to change strategy at the right time.
The ability to interrupt the game of another brings, it is true, a little surprise effect, but it is far removed from "great chaos". Performing this action is both dangerous for the opponent but also for you. Because if you miss your shot, you will start your turn (and enemies' turn) with greatly reduced possibility. And it can hurt.
As for the immediate victory, which isn't very rare for a skirmish, it adds a real pressure to the game.
Wildlands seems like a simple game, maybe too simple. And yet it's not.
It has the huge advantage of offering high accessibility. The rules are short but above all very easy to understand. Even if you can explain the game in less than 5 minutes, it does not mean that a player will master it. Each faction offers a very different gameplay in its reactions. For example, while one will go more towards melee confrontation, the other will go to dodge and speed. You will have to try to adapt, to best your opponent, who will do everything to take the advantage. It isn't uncommon to think and search for the best use of your hand, what card to play or not to play. And when is the best time to play it. The interaction is really ubiquitous. Whether it is your turn or not, you must always have an eye on the situation.
Freedom and adaptation are two words that fit perfectly well with the game. You have many choices, and you have a lot of freedom to accomplish them. But each action will be done to the detriment of another. You will therefore have to think carefully and accept the fact that we can't control everything. At the same time, this is not the goal of this type of game where the "take that" is very anchored.
Contrary to what you think, the game is short, or very short if you do not pay enough attention. This duration thus makes it possible to avoid the impression of not being in control and the frustration that can result from seeing one's actions fail while the plan of the other unfolds without a hitch. But it also offers the opportunity to play the revenge and try the different factions without having an impression of weariness. Still, of course, you have to like the style of games.
So, what's in the box? Inside, we will find the four factions with their deck of cards and colored bases, gems, damage tokens and a double sided board. Yes that's all. There is not necessarily a lot, but it is true that for the price of the game, it may surprise you. Going a little further in the inspection, we can see why and understand it.
The general composition, without being exceptional, is well made. The front and back board offers two battlefields with slightly different rule sets. The rendering is clean and visually pleasing. The art is by Alyn Spiller and Yann Tisseron. Particular care has been given to the miniatures. They are sculpted by Bobby Jackson (CMON) and Tim Prow (expansions of Cthulhu Wars). Despite a style a little retro for some, they are beautiful, fine and detailed. They have benefited from a black wash (rather well done) that gives them a real stamp (a bit like in Mechs vs. Minions). Good to be honest, when you remove the inserts (plastic), it's still a big empty box. The inserts are a little smaller and space to accommodate future expansions would have been appreciated. We also hope in the future, new colored base to avoid having to remove from the miniatures at the end of each game (at the risk of damaging them).
We still feel that Osprey took care to do a great job and wanted to offer a visually attractive game at the expense of a high price.
Wildlands is a game a little too much unnoticed after Essen 2018. It clearly didn't have the success it deserved. The price is unfortunately not foreign to me. It's really too bad especially since it's a good game and it does, not matter the number of players. In dual, it will offer you a more tactical challenge. At 3 or 4, the tension is higher and situation reversals can occur at any time.
Although it is true that the theme is quickly forgotten, the game is nervous, immersive, fun, fast, smart and cunning. Due to its high accessibility and simple rules, it could easily be used to introduce to non-skirmisher players.
Wallace and Osprey have already announced to follow their range. A first expansion was released shortly after the base game : The Unquiet Dead. This one offers a new faction (made up of 6 nice miniatures) that can be used instead of another, or that can serve as a neutral encounter. Be careful though, this expansion doesn't allow to play 5 players.
In 2019, other expansions are planned: whether new factions (the Adventuring Party with new rules) or new map.
A very good surprise, if you have the opportunity to try it do not hesitate a second.
Technical Score 8.5/10
Even if there is sparing amount of components, everything is really good. The miniatures are beautiful, detailed and well done. The wash effect is great. The rules are short and effective.
My BGG Score 8.5/10
(Very good - enjoy playing and would suggest it.)
Easy to play, easy to get out, easy to learn but not so easy to master. The game is super fun and offers a good challenge.
Combined Score 8,5/10
And now it's over to you...