Until recently, IP-based games usually sent most gamers running for the door, and rightly so, as many of them were violent. About a year ago I was looking for Wild Kratts themed board games for my son. Wild Kratts is a show about two brothers and their friends who go on an adventure that teaches kids about animals. The games I found were a clone of Trouble, another flip and move game, and a match match game. The Origins preview page on BGG listed Endangered Wildlife and my interest was piqued.
IS Wild nature is under threat of extinction the Wild Kratts game that gamers with young gamers have been looking for? Or would I rather play with the porcupine than ever play this again? Read on to find out.
The game consists of 51 habitat tiles that either have one large animal on them or are divided into four quadrants with one or more animals and a Tortuga (starting tile) that starts on the table. There are six different types of animals in the game and the goal is to build and get the biggest habitat for each animal.
Each player starts each turn with three tiles, and your turn consists of adding a tile to the table, creating habitats for one or more animals. Tiles must be played aligned with other tiles (in a grid), but rotated as desired. After playing a tile, you can choose one of your creature power disks to claim that habitat, as long as it is not currently claimed and can still grow or shrink after claiming it. Any tile that the power disk touches is blocked and cannot be moved. Power discs can span a single space or split into two or four spaces that each have a single animal. These blocking tiles are important because some tiles have icons that allow you to do one of the following on your turn:
- Return any unlocked tile
- Swap two unblocked tiles and rotate them if desired
- Move the Power Disc to another area of the same animal type.
You can only play one Power Disc per animal type, so your red panda-loving friend can’t claim multiple red panda habitats. Just for fun, my Discord avatar has me wearing a red panda hat. Or maybe it’s a trash panda hat.
After all the tiles have been played, add up the size of each of their six residences, and the winner is the one with the highest total.
This game is very simple to explain and play, but there is a real strategy involved with special actions and when to claim habitats, making it a kind of territory control game. The game can also be as brutal as a ticked badger as players can interfere with each other.
I don’t think the goal of the game was mean, and I’ve had games where everyone focused on improving their own little areas instead of trying to hinder each other. I also had my son full Zak Warmitek on me, changing tiles that took areas from me and gave them to myself.
There’s a tough decision about when to claim a habitat that gets tense as the number of players increases. Meanwhile, if you take it too early, you will be easily shut down, limiting the size of your habitat. There is also a luck factor in whether or not something will be worth trading if you also have a tile that will allow you to move a disc of power.
Having three tiles to choose from at all times, except for the last few turns when everyone’s hand size decreases, gives you some choice without overwhelming you, making this a great solution for families. The rules also include a simpler version of the game where you divide the large animal tiles between players and focus on just those two or three animal habitats.
The tiles are nice and feature art either from the show or in the style of the show with animal images and character tokens. There is one small complaint: I wish each power puck was labeled with an animal icon or color so it’s easier to tell what you’re still looking for just by quickly looking at the power pucks you still have. And while I’m criticizing, a place to summarize the points on the scoreboard would be nice.
Despite the presence of the four main characters (Chris, Martin, Aviva, and Cocky) in the Wild Kratts show and the animal art, there isn’t much thematic depth. The game comes with a fold-out poster about the animals in the game, which contains some facts, but that’s the educational value of the game.
Many games, especially family games based on intellectual properties, are not good. I’m happy to report that this is actually a good game with Wild grates topic. The theme can be inserted, but if you and your kids like the show Wild Kratts, this is a good competitive game with them. So, no hugs Quilber for me thank you very much
Final score: 3.5 Stars – A Wild Kratts Endangered Species is a solid entry-level territory management game that will delight adults and children alike.
• A family-friendly game with good room for decision-making that won’t overwhelm most players
• Simplified rules make learning easier
• Includes options for playing with younger children
• The game can get a little wild
• You must keep track of which animals already have one of your Power Discs on them