Can an ostrich rock climb? What stacks better an ant or a tarantula? Who will win a weight lifting battle between an elephant and an ant? All these questions and more will be answered, probably, when you play Champion of the Wild a forthcoming party game from Big Imagination Games I was privileged enough to receive a pre-production copy for the game that will hit Kickstarter in September.
Setting up the Stadium
Cracking open Champion of the wild you’ll find a bunch of beautifully illustrated cards, though not all art was completed on my copy, and some coloured tokens for up to 6 player.
Picking 3 players however you wish, each of them will choose from 1 of the 6 event types (list those), draw 3 cards then choose one, displaying it for all to see and describing the rules of the event. These events are pretty diverse and can be anything from a straight race to animal stacking or a myriad of other events.
The symbols along the bottom of each event give you some caveats to that activity along the lines of ‘birds aren’t allowed to fly’ or ‘water run up provided’ etc.
Ready, set, Go!
The events are chosen, the crowd has gathered and the competitors….wait we don’t have competitors.
Dealing out a hand of animal cards to each player you will each choose one of those animals to represent you in all three of the previously chosen events. I like that the game makes events happen before competitors are chosen as it means you can’t mould events to your choice of creature.
The variety of birds, beasts and insects is pretty broad and the illustrations that were already present were of excellent quality. Once everyone has chosen, the competitors are revealed and the great competition can begin.
Starting with the player who chose the first event and going clockwise, each person will describe how their particular choice of competitior will triumph in the forthcoming event. The rulebook is nicely specific that any equipment needed will be supplied in a way that the competitor can use, providing scope for hilarious descriptions of gear that an Eagle might need for weight lifting.
As you go round the table everyone can ask questions of each competitor and the game positively encourages you to look up facts, figures and even videos to prove your point. I wasn’t too sure about this as I thought it might pull you away from the game too much, but it actually proved to be a lot of fun as people looked up information only to be thwarted or vindicated in their opinion.
The competition for each event thus comes down to a conversation between the players as to who the best beast, bird or insect for the job is. Each player has a voting card that they turn to the ‘Ready to Vote’ side when they have made their mind up about how to go. Once a majority of players are ready the voting gets underway. Those tokens we mentioned earlier come back into play here. For each event you will have a number of tokens equal to how many other players, not including yourself, there are. These are then numbered from 1st place to 4th, 5th etc and you distribute these amongst the other players as to how you think their choice would place in the competition.
You are not going to look at these tokens until after the third event is resolved, which means no matter how confident you are that your Ant is obviously the champion, you have to keep extolling their virtues right till the end, a nice mechanic that means you avoid someone basically dropping out because they think they’ve won, or lost, or the rest of the players going after the King.
Once all 3 events are resolved you turn over all your tokens and count up your points. Person with the most points is the winner.
Champion of the Wild is a light, quick playing party game with a refreshing theme, that delivers it’s premise in spades and a lovely package of beautifully illustrated cards and tokens. I can see this game fitting into a collection that is in need of a filler/ party game that can accommodate a good number of players, and would especially suit those looking for something to play with kids.
You can find the Kickstarter for Champion of the Wild here.