Tooth and Claw: A Review of Wild Wars: Family Battle

Wild Wars: Family Battle

Wild Wars: Family Battle allows 2 to 4 players to pit their army of vicious, cute (and everything in between) animals against each other, in an all-out, knockdown fight for the highest score after ten rounds.

Gameplay

At the start of the game, each player draws eight cards. If any player’s starting hand does not include at least three food cards, she discards her hand and draws again.

On your turn you may play one food card from your hand. You then harvest your food and may play as many animal cards as you have food to feed. More powerful animals will require more food. When an animal is first played, it’s confused and cannot attack until your next turn, though it can still be used to block.

After playing your cards, you declare which of your animals will be attacking which player. Those players in turn decide if and which of their animals will be blocking your attack. After an animal has blocked or attacked, it becomes exhausted, and cannot be used again until the start of that player’s next turn.

When an opponent’s animal blocks yours, you subtract each animal’s attack points from their defense points. If the result is zero or lower, the animal is removed from play. If an animal is not killed, it is considered to be completely healed next turn.

Different animals have different abilities, such as Rush which allows them to attack as soon as they enter play, or Lethal which destroys any animal it damages.

Players do not have hit points and cannot be eliminated. Instead, you score points equal to the damage you inflict against an opponent, or earn one point for each successful block. The game continues for 10 rounds, at the end of which the player with the most points wins.

Wild Wars: Family Battle Components

Review

This game takes a genre of card game that can often be daunting and complex, and simplifies it into something casual and accessible. Wild Wars: Family Battle is a great card battle game that can be equally fun and understandable for young players and adults, and is a good alternative for people who like the basic battle mechanics but don’t enjoy CCGs.

Gameplay becomes particularly interesting when you’re playing with three or four players, as it increases the importance of holding back animals to block on multiple fronts. The fact that blocking earns players points also means you have to be careful before rushing into battle. This added an extra layer to the strategizing and was one of our favorite aspects of the game.

We liked that there was no player elimination and that players were working for a high score rather than trying to bring each other down to zero hit points. We did have trouble keeping track of rounds, though, as it was easy to forget to make note each time we completed one. Additionally, the game comes with optional tokens to help you keep track of which animals are confused or have already been used that turn. These are very useful, but you have to cut them out yourself, which means they don’t look quite as nice as cardboard tokens would. It should also be noted that there were a few confusing points in the rules, that are clarified on the publisher’s website, but to the best of our knowledge have not been added to the official rules yet that come with the game.

There is a nice, wide variety of animals that tie in well with the special abilities and the fact that you keep drawing your starting hand until you have three food cards ensures that no player gets a huge starting advantage and it avoids a lot of frustration.

Our group enjoyed the quick gameplay that left everyone eager for a rematch — we definitely enjoyed our time with Wild Wars: Family Battle.

Pros: No player elimination, easy to learn rules, accessible gameplay

Cons: Rounds were easy to lose track of, optional tokens needed to be cut out, some confusion in the rules