Champion of the Wild: Can a Penguin Out Joust a Walrus in a Decathlon?

Champion of the Wild ended up coming across my desk this past week, and by desk I mean shaded rock and “my” I mean the State Park’s. There was only one thing to do with it. So I got the brains trust around and we hunkered down in the fashion of all basement dwellers and got our game on.

Missing from this picture was the Meerkat who had already won… Best animal ever.

Champion of the Wild will be running a ‘second edition’ Kickstarter on the 28th of this month. It’s a good chance to get a copy of this game without all the teething issues of a first time Kickstarter and is being produced by Big Imagination Games.

Players randomly select three events and each can elaborate on the rules of the event although they must stick to any specified conditions on the card like not flying, water run up etc.

We sat down to Champion of the Wild unsure about what we were going to get ourselves into. As a rule of thumb I’m not a fan of voting games or group decision games. Mostly because my team of crack gamers are… let’s say vindictive. But Champion of the Wild has a great system where you have to essentially award a certain amount of points to everyone. This eliminates that kind of cruel tomfoolery, although the ‘Brains Trust’ managed other types of foul play.

Sure, their disembodied, but they more than make up for that with moxy.

Champion of the Wild is a card game. It’s hard to classify its exact genre. To me I feel it is best classified as a storytelling game. Players get a handful of well known animals and then choose which from their hand they would like to compete in a series of three events. Once the creatures are assigned, players get to make their case about why their animal is most suited to the current event.

Bald Eagle… Dudes got a full head of hair.

You can assign an ostrich to compete in the animals mixed luge, but you will need to justify your choice. Will it end up sticking its head in the sand at the first sign of trouble or will its long legs act as drag in the tight turns.

Players then get to decide which animal they think would come first, second, third, etc. by placing tokens and these tokens have a points value. The highest points wins that round.

We started to get into the game towards the end of the first round when an argument broke out over which animal would be best suited to a not-eating contest. I maintained that my Komodo Dragon would win as reptiles can go a long time without food or water. The player who chose the event decided that the competition started with all the animals having already gone their maximum expected length between meals already. DASTARDLY!

Sir, I do contest that thou hast bought a most ridiculous animal to contest this joust. Ye have nay but a whisp of a chance of victory.

That discussion is the crux of this game. That’s where the fun is. We started getting creative after that. I contended a whale couldn’t win a bobsled challenge as its own weight would crush its lungs before it could get onto its bobsled. My choice of a hare as contender for the hop skip and jump was blown away when one of the gang entered a Red Kangaroo into the competition.

Our heated discussion, speculation and then Google search for the regulation size of hotdogs for the hot dog eating contest was perhaps my favourite part of the evening.

Champion of the Wild is a fun game. It is perhaps not a game for hardcore boardgamers. There is a not a super dooper amount to it and if you’re not playing with creative minds it could be quite dull. I was and that livened things up.

The best way to play this game would be with your kids. The game is for ages eight and up and only takes 20 – 30 mins to play. I can see kids in their teens enjoying this game as much as the 8 to 12 year olds. Their childish whimsy would really bring the game to life.

I’d also like to see a Champion of the Wild: Fantasy Edition down the track. Of course Unicorns would win absolutely everything… we can all agree on that (except Harpy lovers).

It’s a groovy little game and I’ll be pulling it out next time I have a BBQ to keep the kids occupied for a bit.

If this sounds like the right kind of game for you, keep an eye out for the Kickstarter later this month, and check out the official website meanwhile.

Liked it? Take a second to support ATGN on Patreon!