Saturday, 26 January 2013


You have been robbed and left with nothing in the middle of no where! Wilderness is a game where your goal is to survive long enough to reach the safety of a nearby town. In order to live long enough to make it to the town you will need to satisfy your hunger and thirst, and be sure not to push yourself too hard or you could die from exhaustion. But be quick because only the first person to arrive at the town will be the winner.

Setting up the board: Wilderness splits the game board into 4, 6 or 8 sections depending on the desired length of your game.Other than the first tiles, the game board will remain hidden until a player moves adjacent. Note that it is possible to explore 2 sections of terrain by moving into one space.

How do you get to the nearby town? On every turn you are allotted energy based on your level of exhaustion. Where you move dictates how much energy you spend, there are 6 different terrain types, some are deadly while others are there to assist in your travels.
Here is the Exhaustion track, it is broken into sections that determine the
amount of energy you will receive at the start of your turn.

These are the different types of terrain and what they do:

Mountain - Energy cost 4, you cannot search for food here.

Forest - Energy cost 3, you can search for food here

Swamp - Energy cost 3, when you enter a swamp area you must draw 1 sickness card.

Desert - Energy cost 2, if you move into a desert area during the day time you must increase your thirst by 1.

Rocky - Energy cost 2, you cannot search for food here.

Grasslands - Energy cost 2, you can search for food here.

You cannot cross lakes without "The Raft" Event Card, you may cross rivers
by spending 2 energy points in addition to the regular movement costs associated
with the space you are moving to.

You probably have a few questions at this point like, what about the thirst and hunger tracks? How does your exhaustion go back to normal after you have overexerted yourself or gone a day without food? The desert only increases your thirst during the day, how do you know if it's day or night? All these will be answered shortly so please keep reading.

Hunger&Thirst Tracks

As each of these tracks move to the right you will see the numbers in them increase. This number represents how far you will need to move the exhaustion track. Each "nature's turn" you must move your thirst, hunger and exhaustion 1 space to the right. Sickness cards often drastically affect your thirst/hunger tracks. After all players have taken their turn it becomes "nature's turn", this is when players will increase their hunger/thirst and THEN increase their exhaustion accordingly (1 Plus the numbers indicated by your thirst and hunger).
It is important that you move the Thirst and Hunger tracks before you move
your exhaustion track.

Satisfying your thirst: Drinking costs 0 energy and can be done at any point on your turn as long as you have passed a body of water (A river or lake). Note that if you want to cross a river it costs 2 additional energy, but in order to drink you must only move adjacent to the body of water.

Satisfying your hunger: On your turn you may spend 4 energy to search for food as long as you are in an area of terrain that allows it. These areas are the grasslands and forests. After you have decided to search for food you will roll 2 d6 and subtract the number from your hunger track. You can also reduce your hunger by killing an animal. If you win an animal attack you roll 2 d6 and subtract the number from your hunger track.

Satisfying your exhaustion: There are 2 basic ways to reduce your exhaustion and if you are not careful you may find yourself getting more exhausted then you can sleep off, it is important to stay on top of this track!

Resting - This action takes 2 energy but restores your exhaustion by 1 space.

Sleeping - This action takes up your entire turn but restores your exhaustion 4 spaces.

Sickness Cards: Certain Event Cards, Weather Cards and Entering a Swamp territory can all result in you drawing a sickness card. These cards impact you negatively, some are discarded after their effect is resolved while others stay in front of you as an ongoing effect.

Day and Night:

At the start of the game you will shuffle the 'weather' cards and turn one face up, on that weather cards there are instructions that happen immediately as well as 6 small squares. The squares represent day and night, every time a new weather card is turned up you place a marker on the first square and move it one space to the right on every "nature's turn".

These are the basics of Wilderness and actually sounds like an alright game, but then there's more! Every player starts the game with 3 event cards, and every time a new weather card is drawn players will draw new event card(s). These event cards are different from most games and definitely spice up the game play  Each event card has a beneficial effect and an effect harmful to your opponents, the dilemma is which half of the card to use.


This is where wilderness suffers, while the game is great mechanically and flows magnificently, the aesthetics are quite haggard. The map / terrain itself is quite nice, it is thick enough, not super high quality but decent, the player markers and animal markers are just a wooden block that you have to sticker yourself. The character sheets with the 3 different tracks on them are thin and flimsy, I really dislike game pieces made like this, but the character sheets are not the worst component! The markers you use to track hunger/thirst/exhaustion/day/night are probably the most fiddly game piece I have ever encountered. They are tiny, stick to your hand, move around if you breath to heavy and don't really stay where you want them in a nut shell these markers are atrocious and really take away from the game because you have to use them so much every turn. Every turn you will be moving your hunger/thirst and most turns you will move your exhaustion as well as the day/night card moves every nature's turn. There is one positive other than the terrain boards and that is player distinction, where most games simply use the same pieces just in different colours to differentiate between players, Wilderness goes a step further and gives you different colours AND stickers for your wooden block, these stickers match your character sheet.
The spinner is used for random movement for both players
as well as wild animals. I was pretty impressed with the spinner
it's good quality and a nice way to handle random movements.

Who will enjoy Wilderness?

Family Gamers: Wilderness has some fairly basic mechanics if you don't count in the event cards that I think could be picked up by children easily. The theme is alright for families, indirect violence with event cards / animal attacks and the back story  The game reminds me a lot of a book I read way back in middle school called Hatchet and little fingers might be able to handle those markers better than my sausages combine all these factors and Wilderness will be enjoyed by families, just not for super young kids.

Casual Gamers: Playtime is between 30 minutes and a 1 1/2 hours depending on how many are playing and if they know how. The rules are simple enough but leave room for strategy, because the terrain tiles are shuffled and not all revealed at the start there is a lot of replay value. The event cards are one of Wilderness' strongest features and each one has a screw your buddy ability...I see this going over very well with casual groups of friends.

Gamer Gamers: For a lot of the same reasons casual gamers will like Wilderness, gamer gamers will too. Players who enjoy deep strategy and making that perfect turn will really enjoy Wilderness, there is a lot going on and for me it filled this void that I have been looking for since I first played Kingdom Builder...a much better use of the different terrains.


  1. no link to the game's web site?

    1. Is that something you really look for in a game review?

    2. Definitely! I want to read the review and then have a link I can click to go buy the game! That's what publishers and designers look for in a review as well.