Once again our doorbell rang and our postman delivered this cute small card game called Wolf Walkers. It’s a game for two players and this game is inspired by the movie Wolf Walkers and the creators have tried to capture the best moments from the movie into cards. Unfortunately we have not seen the movie yet, but after seeing all those cute images on the cards, we knew we had to see this movie when we got the chance!
How to play.
For the setup, shuffle all the story/objective cards into a big deck. Place four cards with the story side face up and two cards with the objective side up on the table. This will be the market. Give each player the reference cards and make sure you have enough space to build a 5 x 5 grid of cards. If you play with permanent and opportunity cards, place one permanent card faceup and place three opportunity cards. Keep the three marker cards close by.
On your turn, take one of the six cards and place them with the same side up on your grid. You cannot flip the cards to the other side. The grip you build will be 5 x 5 and you can place the first card wherever you want. Every next card has to be adjacent to a card already placed. Replace the empty spot on the market at the end of your turn. Place a card with the same side up as the card that was taken. There should always be four story cards and two objective cards available to choose from. Once you have placed your card and refilled the market, the next player can take it’s turn.
The goal of the game is to score the most points with objectives you pick up from the market. You can fulfill these objectives by placing story cards and matching the icons to the objectives. There are four types of objectives you can place in your grid. If you place an objective with a certain shape of icons, you have to place these exact icons in that same shape in your grip. You can score the same objective multiple times but it has to be with different cards. The shape can be turned in every way, even mirrored it will still score you points at the end of the game. If you place an objective of an icon with arrows, you will score points if you manage to place the same icon in the row or column of that objective. If your objective has a cross in that icon, you have to prevent placing that icon in the same row or column.
You can also find double icons as objectives. Many story cards will have multiple icons on the card. The order of the icons is not important to score in any objective. For double icon objectives, you gain points if you place story cards in your grid that has the same two icons as on the objective. If a double objective card also has arrows, the cards need to be placed in the same row or column. The last objectives you can find are balance objectives. In these objectives, you need to have the exact same amount of two icons in your entire grid. The rulebook also shows good examples with pictures of each type of objective.
If you play with a permanent card, look closely at the new rule this card provides. This rule permanently changes the game. This could be gaining extra points for certain icons for example. Each opportunity card however, can be used one time per player in the game to give a one time bonus. Like taking a double turn for example. You can use opportunity cards at any point during your turn. Once used, make sure you place the marker card to show who has used this opportunity card.
The game ends when both players have placed 25 cards and completed their 5 x 5 grid. Count the score of your objectives. The player with the most points wins the game.
If you have two copies of the game, you can also play this game with three or four players. Check the rules to see what changes in the setup and how to play the game.
Playthrough of the game.
We probably thought the same as you after reading the rules. Easy right? Unfortunately, we might have underestimated this game a bit… We both started off good by picking an objective card knowing we had plenty of space to meet that objective. But when the game was about halfway, we started to realize a 5 x 5 grid is not much at all. I had placed a couple objectives kind of in the middle of my grid, which prevented me from making more shapes to score more points. Then there is still the fact that you can mirror objectives in order to score more points, but I’m not that good with mirrored vision. So after a couple of turns, I realized I had make a couple of mistakes for two of my objectives. Tomasz was struggling to but tried to make the best of what he had already placed. I noticed he had picked up an objective with an icon that is pretty rare as was indicated on my reference card. Once I noticed I couldn’t score that many points anymore, I decided to just pick up the cards that he needed for his objective to prevent him from scoring points. While my method worked pretty good, I still lost in the end with seven points difference. Thankfully, this game gets easier the more you play it. With each new game that we play now, we improve our scores.
Right from our second game we started playing with the permanent cards and opportunity cards, and we will never play without those cards again. The permanent rule cards change each game in a big way. It’s not just a small rule that’s added. You can pick up rules like, take two turns each time instead of one, or you can also take a card from the bottom of the deck instead of the market. The opportunity cards add to that since the one time benefits are pretty big. Since everything is random and all the story cards are double sided, no game will even look like the previous one. The designers of this game added a huge amount of depth to this small card game which makes this game challenging enough for experienced board gamers. But it also looks cute enough and plays easy enough to play with kids or as a gateway game.
Wolf Walkers is a card drafting game with a theme inspired by the movie Wolf Walkers. This small card game for two players has surprised us in a big way. Who knew such a small box could contain so much depth. Not only is every story card double sided with objectives, if you also play with permanent changing rule cards and one time use opportunity cards, no game will be the same. The art on the story cards is also very cute and at the end of the game you will each have your own story to show. Just don’t think that this game is easy because of the easy rules. With so many icons and so little space to combine everything in, you might make a mistake or two. Especially in the beginning.