26/02/2024

Wondrous Creatures, another journey with fantasy wilderness [Preview]

I’ve played and reviewed Bad Comet’s Shaolia and Wild: Serengeti in the past. They are enjoyable. I always rate the games coming from this Korean publishing house five stars. Their momentum continues with Wondrous Creature, a game successfully backed on Kickstarter last year. Despite my delayed entry into the preview, I believe its relevance endures.

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.

Wondrous Creatures takes a different path when compared to its older brother, Wild: Serengeti, despite its shared focus on fauna. The latter is featuring real-life animals. Meanwhile, this game immerses players in an entirely new world full of magical and fantasy creatures. An impressive initiative. It involves the creation of a universe, an encyclopedia, entirely from the ground up. My experience is similar to exploring a fresh Pokémon world.

Wondrous Creatures heavily utilizes the set collection mechanic. It requires players to navigate and gather not only a various array of creatures but also their eggs throughout the game. However, this is not the sole mechanic at play. To even come close to these creatures, all players must strategically place their workers on the field. The implementation works together. It does not feel clunky at all.

Placing the crew allows players to acquire resources or capture Wondrous Creatures from nearby habitats. Each creature lives in their specific habitat. And so is the resources. Capturing creatures does not automatically add them to your tableau, as additional resources must be expended to do so. Thus, strategically positioning the crew is crucial. It enables players to obtain the desired creature, yet the placement is encouraging players to gather resources strategically. This is where the seamlessness of both mechanic becomes evident in the gameplay.

Scoring stems mostly from accomplishing missions centred on completing a set of creature types. Additionally, the creatures on the tableau also boost the points we can score. Some provide immediate effects. Meanwhile, the others come into play during the final scoring phase.

Personal remarks on Wondrous Creatures

Wondrous Creatures adopts no fixed rounds and structured like a race instead. With that being said, the game can conclude abruptly. This aspect emphasizes the optimization of actions in each turn. This is why the worker placement becomes the centre of the gameplay. To place them strategically will maintain momentum to win.

In terms of aesthetics, Wondrous Creatures deliver the similar impact compared with Bad Comet’s previous releases. Beautiful artwork. Striking table presence. It ticks all the list. The whole components enhance the visual appeal, thanks to its colourful and vibrant tokens and the exquisitely crafted meeples. Bad Comet continues to impress with their high build quality.

Wondrous Creatures brings out an engine-building aspect through its set collection. Beyond the point booster from the creatures, the player board offers additional upgrades and different abilities from the crew captains. These elements provide a different gaming experience within every session. High replay value detected. And of course, some tools to win the game.

The gameplay in Wondrous Creatures is remarkably seamless. All parts move together smoothly. And learning the game is a breeze. Thus, Bad Comet may be targetting family and some euro game enthusiasts in their last project. While not overly complex, it still presents a challenge to win the game. Plus, the gameplay is connected well with the theme.

Conclusion

I might have a strong bias for Bad Comet’s releases. But trust me, when I say it’s beautiful, I don’t lie. Wondrous Creatures is colourful, and the artworks are appealing. And it doesn’t only sell aesthetics. The gameplay is a solid A for me. While the strategy would most likely get dictated by the current session’s objectives, there’s plenty of room for improvisation.

The Kickstarter campaign for Wondrous Creatures has ended, but it seems there’s an opportunity for late pledges. Alternatively, if you’re not particularly seeking upgraded components and whatsoever, just wait until this game hits retail.


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