Mawihtecs Boardgame reviews
Board Game Exposure
Champion of the Wild
Big Imagination Games
A Preview by
What is Champion of the Wild?
Champion of the Wild, Is a social card game based around the concept of animal Olympics style events.
You along with your rivals take on the role of animal trainers from around the world.
Will you choose the animal that is best suited to the events revealed?
Choose wisely or you might end up feeling like a fish out of water!
What do I get in the box?
50 Event Cards
42 Animal Cards.
6 Undecided / Ready to Vote Cards.
90 Voting Tokens (15 in each player colour).
1 Rules Sheet.
Events and Animals.
The Event and Animal Cards in Champion of the Wild are split into several categories.
In the Event Cards selection you have the categories of,
Speed, Power, Endurance, Technical and Team events.
In the speed section you might have the “100M Sprint”.
Power might give you “Eating Cream Crackers” (yes honestly).
Endurance might have them performing “The Bulldog Clip Challenge”(ouch). Or will the Technical and Team Events have you playing “Hide and Seek” or “Animal Stacking”?
Picking the most suitable contestant is definitely going to be a challenge.
The Animal Cards are split into Sea Creatures, Reptiles, Birds, Mini-Beasts or Land Mammals.
It is entirely possible to find a Giant Pacific Octopus up against a Common Chameleon, an Emperor Penguin, a Back Garden Ant and a Fruit Bat.
Or some even more unlikely selection.
How do you play?
The gameplay in Champion of the Wild is at heart a social thought experiment.
You begin a game by shuffling and setting out the five event decks.
The randomly chosen “event selectors” then take three cards from their selected event deck and choose one of those events for the round.
Once all three events are chosen they are then revealed and the relevant event conditions are set out (water/flying/contact etc.).
At this point the competing trainers are each dealt seven animals cards out of which they must pick the animal they believe will be the most successful in all three events.
When all the trainers have chosen.
They reveal their choice, then starting with the first trainer they explain their thinking and reasoning behind their choice with the aim of convincing the other trainers.
After everyone has made the arguments for their chosen animal. All trainers cast their votes by allocating an event token to each animal (or the first 5 in a 6 player game).
Once all three events have been conducted in this way. The animal with the highest number of points wins.
The Rules Sheet is laid out in a straightforward manner with all the iconography well explained.
WOW sounds weird!
This potential mixture is what gives Champion of the Wild its appeal.
It would be all to easy to say “Out of a Lion, Cheetah and Zebra who would win?”
Instead the need to “compete” over three potentially very different Events makes you think outside the box to a degree.
With the right group of players this game could be the focus of much light hearted banter and discussion.
What is nice is that during the discussion stage the rules actively encourage the use of reference material and or internet to allow fact and thought checking.
But at the end of the day it is all about how well you argue your animals case for being the best at a particular Event and the opinions of those arguments by the other competitors.
I first came across Champion of the Wild some time ago when it had a different name and was still a way back from its current development stage.
At that time I was very intrigued at the concept and have been following it for a while.
After seeing the prototype at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham. I have been very fortunate that the developers have provided a prototype copy of the game to allow me to write this preview.
The artwork box and graphics are not quite finalised and there is likely to be several interesting things added along the way during the Kickstarter as stretch goals are reached.
Therefore I cannot fully comment on these sections other than to say that the art and graphics currently on show so far are looking nice and the further development only looks to enhance this more.
The areas where I can see Champion of the Wild excelling is in larger group settings when playing with the 5-6 player counts.
It also has the potential to be a very good educational tool for the 8-14 age group as it would encourage the “thought experiment” side of the game.
It also will appeal to those that like party or social genre games.
Having played Champion of the Wild several times now (4+) I have found that unless you are with the right group of players this game will miss the mark from what is a promising idea.
If you like Social aspect games or play in groups that do then I strongly suggest you take a look at Champion of the Wild.
There is the potential for plenty of fun and re-playability.
However if you are someone who has less interest in that genre you might find it “not for you”.
Either way make sure to take a look at the Kickstarter as there is plenty on offer to the right group from a promising new developer.