Wild Wars: Family Battle is a turn-based strategy card game set in a future where man and animals must work together to survive. You must call upon your animal allies to defeat the other players but be careful: they have allies of their own and won’t go down without a fight.
In order to entice the animals on to the battlefield, you use food sources to generate food for the animals. Once there you can use their special abilities and powers to score points against your foes and ultimately be victorious.
The world of man has been depleted and the survivors have formed clans to survive. The successful clans have allied themselves with hordes of animals from the five kingdoms: Land, Sea, Underground, Forest and Sky. Recently, you discovered a new place for you and the battle animals you command to expand into.
Unfortunately, other members of your clan want this land for themselves! To settle the dispute, the elders have agreed to a Family Battle in which command of the clan’s combined animals from across the five kingdoms will determine who wins!
The game itself is based off of the game Wild Wars, which is a collectible card game similar to Magic: The Gathering. Wild Wars: Family Battle uses many of the same game mechanics but instead of being a collectible game you get the entire game in one purchase and don’t ever have to worry about buying booster packs or anything like that.
There are expansion packs but again they are single-shot purchases of the whole pack and you’re done.
The cards come in a clear hard plastic case which is just awesome. You can use little card type “chips” to show if an animal is Confused, Exhausted and to show Harvested food sources as well.
The cards themselves are standard coated card quality cards but the artwork stands out to me the most. The art is fairly realistic and accurate and impressive. The stats are based on animals and I would say they represent the animal fairly well also.
The Common Octopus has a special ability to Hide, the African Leopard has Rush and the Komodo Dragon has Lethal. All of which make sense and are true. Even better than using real animals, each card also has a QR code on it that you can scan to go online and learn more about that animal. I love when facts and fun go together so well!
Wild Wars: Family Battle uses a common deck for all the players. This means there isn’t ever an advantage because one player has a better deck than the other. This helps when players are varying ages. Also it avoids some tedious setup in the beginning of the game when you would normally be separating cards out into decks.
Have the most points after 10 rounds of play
The setup for Wild Wars: Family Battle is extremely easy: Shuffle the deck and put it in the middle of the play area. Each player then draws 8 cards, decide who gets to go first (we usually roll a dice but you could get creative and before shuffling draw cards and whoever has the most powerful animal goes first. Once the first player is decided you’re ready to go.
You will also need a way to keep track of the rounds and points…so paper and pencil are great to have around.
Each turn (including the first one) follows the same order. First you have to reset any Exhausted animals and harvested food sources. Next draw one card then play one Food Source card, if you can. Do this by putting it out if front of you. Try to keep your cards in front of you though…when the kids here play they tend to go all over on the table as they get turned and turned back.
Now you can Harvest your food sources. All this means is you turn them horizontally. Now play as many animals as you can from your hand based on your food sources. Each animal has their required number in the top right of their card and each food source card is just worth one.
Now the fun part. Attacking! You may attack another player with any animal that has been on the battleground at least one full turn! That means if you just played it you can’t use it unless they have an ability that says otherwise. You cannot use animals that are Exhausted or Confused (just entered the game).
The defending player can choose to block with any of their own animals (who are not Exhausted) or not to block. If they choose to block you have to subtract the attacking animal’s power (Sword) from the defending animal’s number (Shield). Not as confusing as it sounds, honest.
You can block with a Confused animal but not an Exhausted one….because even a confused animal can headbutt, bite or scratch at something attacking it…right? An animal is no longer confused when it is the players turn again AFTER they brought out the animal…does that make sense?
Determine the outcome of each attacking and blocking animal based on those stats and any defeated animals go to the Boneyard…or just a discard pile that doesn’t get shuffled back into play.
When determining the outcome of a battle you’re simply putting the offense of one animal vs the defense of the other and vise versa.
So if you’re attacking with a Seabass..because why wouldn’t you?…(1 attack, 2 defense) and the other player blocks with a Peafowl (2 attack, 2 defense) (I didn’t’ even know this existed!) the Seabass’s 1 attack is less than the Peafowl’s 2 defense, so the Peafowl would survive.
However the Peafowl has 2 attack, the same as your Seabass’s defense, so your Seabass would die.
Now you can play any additional animals, that is if you have any remaining food sources and if you even want to. Either way after that your turn is over and the next player gets to go…which if you attacked them prepare for battle! Well that is how it goes when we play anyway.
The game ends after 10 rounds so keep track some how. Use a D10, write it down, tally marks something…you CAN sort of lose track…well we can anyway.
Points are awarded based on attacks (and blocks). If you attack and your opponent doesn’t block, you get points equal to the attacking animal’s attack power. If an attack is blocked completely, the defending player gets 1 point. If an attack is blocked but the attacking animal has the special ability Overpower then any damage higher than the blocker’s defense goes through to your opponent. In this case, the defending player still gains 1 point but the attacking player gains a point per power over the defender’s defense.
We’ve also had the chance to add in one of the expansions, the Basic Objects expansion. This adds a new type of card, the Object, to the game. Objects are different than animals and food sources in that they don’t stay on the battlefield once they’re played. Instead you spend their food cost (to entice animals to carry these objects to the battlefield) and they are used once, then sent to the Boneyard.
Also unlike animals and food sources, objects can be played on your opponent’s turn (as long as you have enough ready food sources to harvest) and can quickly change the tide of battle by immediately removing an enemy (or an object if the need arises). The Gentleman’s favorite is the Spear…he likes it when he can poison things with it…
The Basic Objects expansion definitely adds another level of planning to the game as you have to decide if it’s best to spend all your food to bring out new animals or better to save some in case you need to play an object. The kids are still working on that patience thing so objects don’t get used a whole lot just yet…they sort of get used without planning.
Wild Wars: Family Battle is for ages 5 and up and works well for that age range. There is minimal amount of reading and not a lot of complicated rules to memorize. I wouldn’t go any younger than that unless an adult or older kid was “helping” them play…so basically playing for them until they lost interest…I remember when the Diva was at that stage.
It’s not only a great introduction to strategy card games, but all the animals in the game are real and their powers and abilities are based on traits the animal has in the real world. The Gentleman was excited to see a number of the animals that showed up, including the Komodo Dragon and Chica loved the Common Octopus.
If you are looking for a fun family strategy game Wild Wars: Family Battle is about as perfect as you could get. Every time you play the game changes so you will never play the same game twice…which is awesome because that gets boring.
It has everything we love in a game! It’s fun, portable, educational, and with enough “meat” (I cannot believe I typed that) to the game to make it a favorite at family game nights for years to come!
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