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Review |  The Wolves board game review

Review | The Wolves board game review

Which group is best placed to ensure the survival of its group?

The board game is based on the classic “survival of the fittest” game. Wolves. Here we want to build a large and dominant pack, expand our territory, hunt down prey, create a home for our wolves, and expand to the point where other packs cannot harm us. If you want to lay your head back and look at the moon, you're in a good mood Wolves.

Karina Brachter


Game description

In backgammon Wolves We become the leaders of the wolf pack, competing with each other to achieve the greatest dominance in the area. We play through a three-degree lunar cycle upon reaching the crescent moon, half moon, and full moon.

We start with a couple of wolves and an alpha wolf, which are placed on the game board. Using these items, we expand the game board and can howl at lone wolves and, under certain conditions, wolves from other packs and include them in our group. We can build a structure or turn it into a cave in the next expansion phase. We use these methods to try to obtain a majority in the respective regions in order to achieve the highest number of points when achieving the ranking.

In the panel in front of us, we also unlock additional skills and victory points as the game progresses. Each wolf or den we place on the board allows us to move with more wolves, travel further, howl at distant wolves or control them. The further we go, the more victory points we can get at the end of the game. We also get points for killing prey and collecting the corresponding animal chips on our board.

We trigger our actions, of which we have two per turn, using the terrain squares adjacent to our board. Different actions “cost” different numbers of identical terrain tiles, which must be flipped. To move the wolves, all you have to do is flip the tiles that correspond to the target space. Howling, building a den or lair costs two terrain tiles, and controlling another wolf or den requires three terrain tiles to “pay” for.

If we howl at lone wolves, we replace them with our own. If we take over wolves or a den from other packs, we also replace them with our own. We place all the items removed from the game board on the moon board and thus allow the game to progress. If we access certain fields, evaluations for the respective areas will be triggered. When the last rating is activated, the open points from the board are added to the points achieved through the Moon ratings. Whoever can score the most points wins Wolves.


Author: Ashwin Kamath, Clarence Simpson ■ Illustrations: Polina Lingama
Publisher: Pandasaurus Games | Skellig Games ■ Release year: 2023

playerplayer

2-5 players

ageage

14 years and above

timetime

About 75 minutes

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Game rules (External link to Skellig Games)


Gaming feeling

Most of the ones I'm with Wolves Having played, you find the game to be very objective. I feel the same way. In fact, we all still know very little about these animals.

Is it really like in the game where wolves can, for example, “control” lone wolves in their pack? Do they really hunt all the prey in the game? Do wolves even live in caves? Most people probably have no real idea about that, but in this game they take it for granted because everything fits together so harmoniously. We expand and extend our range, build shelters, hunt, and increase influence in the respective areas. Even if things were not peaceful here either: I have rarely seen an objective elaboration of the principle of territorial control that has nothing to do with military conflicts, battles and invasions.

Spitz – er – wolf, watch out!

Wolves Attractive and challenging because, as is often the case with area control games, the game requires constant attention: you must never lose sight of the movements of other players, because the position and thus the majority or positions in relation to each other change with almost all the action of the game.

With more players, there is also a lot going on in the game plan and you have to be careful. Which number moves where? How loud are the opposing wolves howling? Are they getting too close to me? Is the opposing coyote standing alone somewhere and thus unprotected? Can I achieve this and control? Or can someone do it before it's my turn? Do I have the correct terrain tiles in front of me or do I have to perform another action first so I can use the necessary terrain?

Anyone else's movements could affect what I have planned next or what I should do best under the circumstances.

That was completely different

This is dangerous for the appearance of downtime: since a lot of things change before it is your turn again, you should take a close look at the current game situation and analyze it before choosing your actions. Since you have two actions available, they may build on each other and need to be carefully considered.

Therefore, you should always stay on the ball with other people's movements. If some other players think: “Oh, a lot will happen until it's my turn again… I won't look at it again until the time comes,” the game may take a long time. Therefore, I have absolutely no interest in playing with five people, as the thinking stages with four people have always been quite enough for me.

How many packages should there be?

Speaking of the number of players: when playing with two people, the game is a little more straightforward than when playing with a larger group – and therefore, in my opinion, the best way to start. There is also a third type of wolf that plays a role here, but it must be placed according to certain guidelines and not moved from its place. This way it bothers us a lot when it comes to having the majority in certain areas, but at least I don't have to monitor where it spreads and it doesn't attack our wolves either. After that, you can first learn how to deal with just one animated opponent, and then slowly work your way up to difficulty with more players.

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With more players, our gaming area also becomes larger as more areas are added. So you can then avoid yourself again.

Wolves camouflage

Let's come to the design: the wolf characters are beautifully designed and there are only small things to criticize about the rest of the game material. But since the terrain is of different colors and some wolf species come in almost camouflage colors, you should always look closely so as not to miss anything. It was easy to overlook the alpha animal who quickly took control of one of our animals. If you want to pursue this tactic, it's best to use Green Wolves. It's always best to camouflage them on the game board.

The following small comments about the additional design of the game: I wish the design of the lone wolf chips initially present on the game board was a little less stylized. The open mouths of movement reward signs are a bit too aggressive for me. It is also possible that the lunar calendar looked like this in prototype. But this is all high-level whining.

When the moon rises

The mechanism by which evaluations are operationalized is interesting and potentially usable Wolves They can be used tactically, but sometimes they also come as a nasty surprise. For example, if you do not realize that the next item placed on the moon board will result in scoring and you want to do some things on the game board before scoring, for example working on the majority in the game area, you should not accidentally trigger the rating . This can happen very quickly, especially at the end of the game, and then people often ask to be allowed to undo the last move because they don't want to trigger the end of the game… Well, that's where good faith other players count.

You can also use this scoring mechanism tactically to achieve scoring before players can change the majority in areas that will be scored in their favour.

Push through forests and rocks

The fact that the “resources” we pay for our actions with are terrain tiles is a new reality and something some people will have to get used to – some people find it annoying whether they have to pay for the starting landscape or the target landscape from an action. No, you are directing yourself towards the target scene!

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In general, this mechanism requires careful planning from us. Of course, landscapes are almost always like this no Fits our plans perfectly. It often happens that you first perform some kind of “auxiliary action” whose purpose is only to move terrain squares to a certain position.

And the? How much can you cry like this?

Finally, let's take a look at our board, where we can develop our skills further, unlocking victory points if possible. We have to do a lot here to make everything profitable. Tip: Always build nice caves, that's all.

In my opinion, the points you get for hunting prey can be a little higher, because you always take a big risk when hunting. Finally, you must “enclose” the loot in three adjacent spaces. You then divide your wolves into three fields and then they often stand alone. This then raises the question that needs consideration: Is this “reveal” worth it for the points or is it too risky for me to make myself vulnerable in this way? If others are far enough away, that's usually not a question. But for many players this is rarely the case…


summary

Wolves It is a highly objective area control game where, as a leader, we want to expand our group and influence. To do this, we move across territories, controlling other wolves in order to integrate them into our packs, expand our territory and want to win the majority. At the same time, we develop our skills by increasing our range, hunting prey and ensuring adequate shelter.

Wolves It's in the realm of expert gaming and I have the most fun in groups of three and four. The game keeps everyone on task at all times, but it can also cause some downtime due to overthinking and overcalculation.

  • Very objective feel in the world of wolves
  • High interactivity and increasing dynamics as the game progresses
  • Well-organized options for action, and a clear player board
  • Packaging Condition: Very few bags, tiles always get mixed up and have to be re-sorted before starting the game.
  • Sometimes there's a lot going on on the game board: shapes, markings, terrain patterns
  • – Energy depletion, as it is difficult to take breaks from thinking or paying attention

From my point of view as a player: Wolves It is one of the few area control games that I like. I find the subject matter interesting and well executed. The big round is too much for me for this game because I have too much information to process. In a group of three, there are a lot of things that work for me, so it can be brought to the table more often.