Wizard of Oz Adventure Book Game

Wizard of Oz Adventure Book Game

RRP: £34.99
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RRP £34.99
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In The Wizard of Oz Adventure Book Game, players work together to complete challenges and turn the pages of a unique game board book that allows you to relive the magic of The Wizard of Oz.
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Category Tags , SKU TRV-27360 Availability 3+ in stock
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In The Wizard of Oz Adventure Book Game, players work together to complete challenges and turn the pages of a unique game board book that allows you to relive the magic of The Wizard of Oz.

Imagine growing up without having been touched in some way by the magic of L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Do such people really exist? Maybe a farmhouse fell out of the sky at some point and landed on top of you, causing you to miss the whole phenomenon.

The classic tale is approaching its 125th anniversary and even though you may not be an Oz super fan, you’d be lying if you said you knew absolutely nothing of Dorothy Gale and her faithful pooch, Toto. The story of how the duo are swept away to a distant land where adventure, friendship and danger await is one that truly transcends generations. In our house, the story holds a special significance. My wife cherishes memories of Judy Garland’s seminal onscreen performance, while I remember watching a grainy VHS anime version of the story on repeat at my grandparents’ house as a child. As parents ourselves now, we have read the story over many bedtimes to our 7 year old son, who also dressed up as the Cowardly Lion this past year for Halloween. Dorothy’s tale, with its many memorable lines, is now enshrined in modern pop culture and so it seemed almost inevitable that we would come to see her tread the Yellow Brick Board (which is lined with forced puns, incidentally) on home tabletops too. But how well would the story translate?

When I heard that Ravensburger had released their take on a classic, I was keen to see whether the board game iteration of the Wizard of Oz would prove to be a case of Ruby Slippers or reeking slip-ons. Well, let’s find out! Just click your heels and come with me…we’re off to see the Wizard!

“Toto, I’ve A Feeling We’re Not In Kansas Anymore.”

As a gaming group that regularly likes to indulge in brutal, dark fantasy themes in which otherworldly demons are unscrupulously torn limb from limb, setting up our first game of The Wizard of Oz had our group feeling like we were a very long way from home. Colourful components, a whimsical art style and a very flimsy rulebook are a definite departure from our established norm. I don’t know if this is a thing among more “hardcore” gaming groups, but the word “Ravensburger” also seems to evoke a certain degree of snobbery among some of the members of our crowd. Almost as if the word is synonymous with “lightweight”, and therefore not worth our time. So it’s fair to say that there were some hurdles to overcome before we’d even begun. But following a quick setup and explanation of the rules (always a plus), the game quickly sucked us in. A few twists of the tornado later and we were in Oz.

Take Me Down To The Emerald City

The action revolves around completing six chapters, which mirror key events in The Wizard of Oz. To complete a chapter, players have to work together to fulfil challenges. These challenges vary in difficulty, wackiness and how the group need to approach them. For example, Chapter 2 sees you playing a sliding tile puzzle to position Munchkins correctly on a dance floor. Chapter 3 sees you getting your backside roasted by the Wicked Witch’s fireballs as you attempt to befriend the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion along the Yellow Brick Road. Each chapter takes around 15-20 minutes to complete, which is ideal for family sessions. As this is a coop game, communication and thinking ahead is absolutely essential. Regular trading of cards with fellow players is vital if you are to achieve the correct card combinations to complete the challenges; similarly knowing which cards should be discarded in exchange for extra character movement and which should be kept can mean the difference between making it back to Kansas or not. Decisions like this together with the intervention of the plot deck (which throws up a minor/major plot twist at the end of each turn) creates a real sense of tension. In Chapter 1 you are tasked with keeping all of the animals on the farm happy before the Twister wreaks havoc on Dorothy’s farmhouse. Running around like a headless chicken in an attempt to stop your chickens becoming headless? Mad fun!

It’s fair to say that our group was pleasantly surprised at the level of strategy on offer and that any initial scepticism was swiftly carried away by the Winged Monkeys. We’re not talking about “Magnus Carlsen: Chess Grandmaster” levels of strategy, but for some light family strategy, which gets everyone talking on the backdrop of a fun theme – you can’t go wrong here! And if you have the right combination of people around your table, you could really lean into the theme that bit more. E.g. playing some of those famous songs from the 1939 movie in the background or insisting the player that completes the song challenge in each chapter sings the song aloud. Maybe next time for our group!

Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Where All Minis Stand Straight & True…

Overall we were pleased with the quality of the components, even though there were a few changes we would welcome.

The game itself plays out on a very charming board which resembles a story book, each new vibrant double spread revealing a new chapter, along with its parameters and challenges as you turn the pages. The board is sturdy, even though I was slightly concerned at how durable it might prove to be if bent back too many times to ensure a flat playing surface.

The miniatures are probably the most disappointing aspect of the game’s various components. The sculpts themselves are quite nice and I have even considering putting a lick of paint on each, as there is definitely sufficient detail there to make this worthwhile. Unfortunate Dorothy came out of the box looking like a backing dancer in Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal video. Her forward lean may be fixable with the “run the model under hot water and bend back into shape” trick, but I don’t feel I should have to go to these lengths. By no means game breaking, just annoying.

The game’s cards are colourful, well illustrated and of good quality. Our only gripe was that the story deck and special card deck both have the same back. There is a reason for this, as the decks interact with each other but we found that it broke the flow of the game a little to be questioning which deck was which in the early stages of the game.

Good Witch Or Bad Witch? Which Witch Is It?

The tabletop take on The Wizard of Oz is definitely a Good Witch, albeit dressed in a cloak with a few frayed edges. Our group enjoyed the theme, presentation, light level strategy and resulting interaction, but had a few minor issues with component quality. Unlike the Wizard himself who is just an illusion of grandeur, there is some magic and depth to be found here, but those looking for high level complexity and mechanics ought to look elsewhere. I would recommend the game for causal gamers, as a palette cleanser between rules heavy gaming sessions or as a family game for those with pre teen kids. This is definitely not something our gaming group would have usually opted to put on the table but we ended up embracing it as a welcome change from the norm. There really is no place like home, but it’s still nice to step outside of Kansas every once in a while. Come on, Toto!