The natural world. Less Walt Disney and more “red in tooth and claw”.
While it’s’ fun to play games with cutesy critters, embracing your wild side can be a great way to spend an evening. Or rip your friends to shreds.
So, here are eight of our favorite games that embrace your inner Wolverine.
An unparalleled success story from the mind of Cole Wehrle, Root combines the gorgeous art of Kyle Ferrin with a cutthroat game of area control and unique win conditions. What could be a cutesy children’s cartoon becomes World War Wind in the Willows. This pits players as warrior birds, malevolent cats, heroic mice, and (our personal favourite) wandering possums as you fight tooth and nail for your land. The game’s success has also added a number of expansions that build the player count, add new factions, and bring in high-quality pieces. All in the name of having a scrap in the woods.
Five little frogs. Sitting on a log. Until one of your opponents invades, sending you to the watery depths below. An abstract masterpiece from Keith Matejka, Bullfrogs is a cut-throat game of push and pull where players bully and bluster opponents for the most desirable resource of all. Lily pads. Scaling perfectly from 2 to 4, the game requires you to strongarm opponents while controlling the battlefield. This is a game of elegant feints and prods…with the occasional mad leap from one of your amphibian warriors as they bash opponents out of the way. Intense and highly competitive, this is the perfect filler for groups of any size.
You say, ‘dynamic ecosystem’. We hear ‘devour enough of your enemies as you can’. An accessible delight from North Star Games, Evolution asks players to evolve their own species to survive in the world players create. This involves the use of traits such long necks, being warm blooded, flight, and more – with each conferring a bonus. Doing so lets you create a breed of peaceful herbivores…or develop serrated teeth and go to town on your opponents. However, while eating Keith may feel like a valid strategy – it’s important to remember that each animal has its own place in the food chain. And while others can evolve to protect themselves against your attacks, there’s the risk of starvation. Though, if you’re going to lose anyway…
If we’re being completely honest, this may be as good as wizard battling gets. Somewhat appropriately published by Arcane Wonders, the Mage Wars series simulates no-hold-barred, pitched battles between two rival wizards. And while it may be incredibly metal to watch necromancers scrap with druids, our money is on the Beastmaster in this edition. Drawing from the ‘Animal Kinship’ spell book (each individual has their own), they can summon foxes, gorillas, wolves, and bears to do their dirty work – empowering them with spells as they race to rip their arcane opponent to shreds. Or if they want to get stuck in, they can take on animal powers to take on the enemy themselves. And while they don’t say that their opponent becomes dinner once the duel is over…it’s the law of the wild, isn’t it?