English language edition
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Just as you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, neither should you judge a game by its. The box art says - 'Kids', but the game within holds an appeal for all ages.
Essentially this is a route playing game, but it is far removed from an abstract puzzle, even though the mapboard has a curious sense of geography.
The idea is to 'discover' various members of the animal kingdom, and thwart your opponents in doing the same.
Starting off, you'll think this animal spotting business is a bit of a doddle, but pretty soon each 'trekker' will have their own idea on which route the expedition will take so you may find yourself planting some obstructions in their path.
Addiitional motivation to find our furry and feathered friends is added when you have to call out the name of the animal you've discovered. After all, there are not many games that allow you the facility to bawl out: 'I'VE JUST DISCOVERED A HAIRY NOSED WOMBAT'. Are there?
This game receives high praise from nearly everybody, and I often thought it would be great if I could somehow try it. But how? Well, one day I went to a garage sale in Ruch, Oregon, and there, in a tattered box, I saw Wildlife Adventure by Wolfgang Kramer for $1!
This game is wonderfully simple: place an arrow on your turn, try to lead the expeditions towards the animals you have listed on the cards in your hand. This is a great family game, but it isn't merely a family game. I play this with my game group, and they love it too. It really is incredibly well done, and though the graphics are definitely blase, the game more than makes up for it. Another nice thing is that the game can be played by 2-6 players. Six might have a bit of downtime, but with a few games under your belt, you'll probably have your next move planned by the time it's your turn (something that also happens in Aladdin's Dragons).
I am quite willing to play this game, and with repeated playing the game still holds up, probably because it has such a clean design without too many picky mechanisms that would make it too novel. (And I have a lot of German games to compare this with!) I find mechanically and thematically this game doesn't really remind me of any other game, so there is no feeling of too much overlap in my game closet (eg: Vinci/Risk or [page scan/se=0908/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Entdecker/Streetcar). On top of everything else, it's got a great theme: find all the endangered species on the planet!
This game is a great deal of fun to play, and I think it will have an excellent shelf life.
Wildlife Adventure was the first serious boardgame I bought through the Internet and I did so based on Alan's mention of it in his Desert Island games list at the Game Cabinet web site. I'm really glad I did, because this game is everything he mentions right down to the stomach tension! I don't play a lot of games that are dice-dependent for moves, and Wildlife Adventure was the first game to whet my appetite for a different game mechanism. The board is extremely attractive and of course, the components are Ravensburger.
This game will probably continue to fetch high dollars on auctions as it is truly a classic and a lot of fun to play. Pick up a copy if you can find one... if you don't like it, there will always be someone who will want it, as this game is NOT artificially over-hyped, but is 'more game' and becomes a lot deeper than one or two plays would indicate.
WILDLIFE ADVENTURE was my favorite game for many years. It was one of the first Designer Games I played during the early days of the European game invasion. It is classic Ravensburger and classic Wolfgang Kramer. It is still in my top ten favorites today.
At first, it may seem like a game of pure luck. This is totally deceiving. As you play, you will begin to see how the routes are cleverly laid out and how some animals are easier to reach than others. You will be able to envision how the routes are most likely to develop. You will begin to understand the value of the red spaces and the dark blue spaces and the green spaces. You will learn to gauge the odds of particular moves. Should you move through a space containing an animal you don't have or should you go in another direction? You will learn when to give up on an animal and turn the card in for another one. You will agonize about when to spend your travel vouchers to take an extra turn or change the direction of a route. In the end, you'll understand that this game is almost the perfect combination of luck and strategy.
One of the ways I judge a game is by the level of good tension it creates. Whenever I play WILDLIFE ADVENTURE, I have a knot in my stomach. I'm sitting there with a plan for my next turn, hoping my opponents don't mess it up, or even better, hoping they help me. It's a wonderful feeling. It's my definition of the joy of gaming.
This one is fun for everyone, gamers and non-gamers alike. It's a shame it is out of print and sadly copies of the English version are hard to find. But copies of the German version are available, and all you'll need is a copy of the English rules and translations of the cards.
Don't take my word for it, or anyone else's for that matter. Give this one a try yourself.
A kids' game of learning about endangered animals becomes a game of block and parry to adult players. Players take expeditions throughout the continents to find their endangered species, but can block and change the routes of the other expeditions to block them and thwart their expeditions! It's easy to learn, fun to play, and everyone who has played it has loved it! Game lovers love it - game haters love it! Little ones and big people will have fun for hours!
Works best with 2 or 3. With 4 there is too little control. Fun kids game, just don't play too cutthroat with them.
Of the 'adult' games from Europe, this may well be the very worst. The concept is to extend three paths around the world until you can make one of them reach a site of which you hold the corresponding card. Or, if you can't do that, make it connect to a site where the card is sitting face-up on the game board.
Now, if there were a couple of copies of each card, so that both you and an opponent may be attempting to be the first to make the expedition reach a particular site, then there would be some conflict and strategy. But, in this game, everything is sitting before you and all you do is connect the dots.
I've tried this game several times, always with at least one player who says it's one of the best games of all time. Yet, I have never seen its virtue. It's just a dull exercise in choosing which space to move to so that you can get rid of a card.