After gaining popularity through Shaolia and its expansion, Gunho Kim continues his designing career with Wild: Serengeti. Just like its predecessor, this game will seek funding through Kickstarter. As a fan of wildlife documentary, I can’t wait for this game to get realized soon.
A short disclaimer before you read my board game analysis
As an avid euro gamer and hardcore Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) LCG player, my reviews may reflect a preference for these styles, and I may not cover solo games/variants extensively. Please note that my personal remarks are based on my gaming experiences, and I aim to provide honest insights within the scope of my preferences.
Disclaimer: We had the preview copy for this review, and it was not the final version. There might be possible changes and alteration from the publisher regarding the components, printing and build quality, rules and concepts in the official released product.
For some rule explanations and tutorial, Bad Comet Games has produced a captivating promotional video on YouTube. If it could not capture your heart, I don’t know what really could.
WILD: SERENGETI IN A GLANCE
The game brings a miniature version of the protected national park on your table. The board represents the boundless area that gets famous for its animals’ great migration. We will find such things integrated into the gaming system later on.
I usually don’t discuss much about components from a prototype copy. However, this one is a solid A. I could even mistakenly take it as the final product if they didn’t label it on the box. Even if they don’t tweak anything, Wild: Serengeti already looks good enough to sell.
The rock structure reminds me of the Pride Rock in the Lion King’s franchise. Above all, the meeples are astounding. The animal shapes are realistic. Wild: Serengeti brings a whole national park on my table. This is like experiencing what I’ve watched on National Geographic and Discovery Channel during my childhood.
THE GAMEPLAY AND WHY WE LOVE IT WHOLE-HEARTEDLY
Wild: Serengeti offers more than its beauty. It will have a massive table presence. Moreover, the game is easy to learn and play. That’s enough to label this game as family friendly.
We notice that pattern building is the main mechanic in Wild: Serengeti. The Scene cards dictate which animals stand on which tiles. Through some Actions, we could direct them and fulfil the cards’ requirements. This facet displays a puzzle-like impression throughout the game.
It is noteworthy to mention that each Scene is unique. Gunho mention that the no-duplicate policy in this aspect is intentional, and I actually love this design.
In each round, players may take as many turns as possible. Passing means we’ll retire from further actions in that round, including scoring Scene. Therefore, planning your action ahead is crucial to score as many cards with as few moves possible. Optimization is the key in Wild: Serengeti.
Engine-building and set-collection with the Scene cards
Wild: Serengeti utilizes the Scene cards more than just for a mere scoring purpose. It serves as an engine that we build to ease up taking some more complicated scenes in the late-game. By collecting a set of icons, they grant us some permanent resource bonuses in the upcoming rounds. I must say, it is a clever implementation that gives an extra depth to the gameplay.
Immersive experience in Wild: Serengeti
The vast biome can be a tricky open-air studio, and the animals are unpredicted actors and actresses. I guess Gunho’s implementation of the Great Migration in some rounds provides a nice tactical approach.
It also depicts a touch of reality to Wild: Serengeti. The great migration represents a circle of life that cannot be found in another part of the world.
This migration comes in a certain round, so players can prepare for it. While it is an expected exodus, in Wild: Serengeti, we don’t know which of these wild animals will be gone off the board.
A variation that ensures an asymmetrical game
After playing several times with the default mode, we can spice up the game by adding the Specialist cards. These specialists provide unique abilities for each director throughout the game. Thanks to the variable player power, the game becomes more asymmetric. All players act and devise strategy specifically based on their new abilities. The advanced rules add replay value and some depths to the game.
BACK WILD: SERENGETI WITHOUT WORRY
This game is a complete package for a family board game. You get the pretty components that radiate a great table presence. Wild: Serengeti is a well-designed game, too. It has a depth in strategy and tactical decisions, but Gunho managed to keep it friendly for all family members and occasional players.
I am looking forward to having some other Wild’s sequels in the future, Gunho. You promised that if this becomes popular, you’ll release Wild: Amazon, right?! Wild: Serengeti will be live on Kickstarter on July 28th. Make sure you back the project and get a copy!
I am a full-time food technologist during weekdays. However, when the calendar hits weekends, I transform into an avid board gamer. I am a hardcore Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) LCG player from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). Current hobby: buying board games. My shelf of shame’s list is getting longer, thanks to you, Kickstarter.