Rainy Day Game's Board Game Review of Wildlife:
Wildlife in Summary
The winner of Advanced Strategy Game of the Year 2004 from GAMES Magazine!
The theme is evolution. Starting in your home territory, you have to mutate and fight your way to dominance of the land. The Wildlife board game is one of the best realizations of this evolution them we've ever played.
Each player takes a species of wildlife with different abilities in different terrain. For example, crocodiles can live, reproduce, and fight in water while eagles can't even enter a water region. However as the game goes on species will adapt and mutate, gaining new abilities in new territories.
As you watch the tiles of the species ebb and flow across the land, the Wildlife board game attains a real sense of evolution. With the theme tightly connected to the mechanic, this is a refreshing change from a lot of other German Games.
The Wildlife board game takes place on an island with many geographical regions: mountains, desert, forests, water, etc. Each player assumes one species of wildlife which can take different actions on the different terrain. The most advanced ability is attack. If a creature has that ability, they can perform all the lesser actions. The abilities, in order from most advanced to least, are attack, multiply, move, and no action. For example crocodiles have the full range of abilities in water, but cannot even move into a desert region.
Players recieve their initial populations and place them on the board. From there you can move, multiply, or attack other wildlife to try to dominate the sectors of the board. These are done via a set of cards. Players are dealt a hand and on each hand must play three. At least one of these cards must be auctioned to the other players. You can play up to two cards yourself. Most of the cards are terrain cards. These allow you to take an action (move, multiply, attack) in the named area. Other cards will allow you to evolve (gain more advanced abilities in certain terrain types), mutate (take an ability from another player), or create game events.
The auctioning of the cards is important. The currency of the game is "food", and food can be interchanged with victory points and a rate of 3 food = 1 victory point. When a card goes up for auction, other players bid food for the right to the card. If they like, they can dip into their victory points to finance important card acquisitions. But watch out, bid too high and you'll be caught with an expansive card in your hand and way behind in the scoring track.
How do you get victory points? As the wildlife moves and fights across the board, regions will fill up. Once a region is full, it is scored, with points going to the first and second most populous species. In addition, there are 3 times in the game where all regions are scored and points awarded. These scoring rounds give points, but the real effect is to reward successful species with food. This gives them more resources so they do not have to auction as many cards, can perform more actions, etc. It's survival of the fittest!
The end of the game comes when players run out of wildlife markers and can't place any more on the board. You then compare your victory points (don't forget to convert any food over to points before the end!) and declare the winner.
Who should buy Wildlife?
Maybe not the best choice for first timers, this is one of those work-horse games that will take you through many game nights before it's retired to the back of the game closet. The rules are easy to understand, but there is a good strategic battle of wits in this game that will keep your interest long after the fist play. So basically, any of your guys reading this deep into a board game review are prime targets for a trip into the world of Wildlife.
The Manufacturer's Board Game Review of Wildlife:
A struggle for survival millions of years before our time.
Millions of years ago the first men fought with other creatures for survival. By their ability to adapt to new types of terrain, they were able to flourish and eventually dominate the Earth. In this evolutionary game, players control up to six types of creatures indigenous to different regions of the land: Eagles (mountains), Bears (forests), Crocodiles (water), Mammoths (plains), Men (savannah), and Snakes (desert).
Each player takes the role of one of these six creatures, and tries to expand their herd and learn new abilities. As long as there is enough room in the region for all of the animals, the creatures can live together in harmony. Otherwise, battles erupt amongst the creatures for control of the region. Now, the success of the creatures depends on how well they adapt to their new terrain.
Which creature will grow its herd and develop the best strategy for survival?
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