If you are like me, a trip to the zoo ends up with you sizing up the animals and asking yourself whether you could take them in a one on one bout. ‘Hey Meerkat! Yeah you look tough with all your mates, but you and me on our own? Street rules? That's a whole different story! While The Champion of the Wild doesn't let you throw down with members of the animal kingdom, it does let you pit them against each other...
Champion of Debate
The Champion of the Wild boils down to a social interaction game which pits you and your wits against your friends. The game comes with a large number of animal cards and event cards, tokens and cards for voting and that's it!
Players will agree on three events from different disciples (Strength, Endurance etc...) and then deal out seven animals to everyone. You will choose the best animal from the seven to represent you in events which could range from ballroom dancing to jousting via a 100m sprint.
You also take a card that reads 'Still deciding' on one side and 'Ready to vote' on the other and voting tokens in your colour.
Then for the first event each player will start explaining why their animal will win, and poking holes in the 'logic' of others. So if you choose an ant because you were a shoe-in at hide and seek you now must explain how in the world you are going to be crown sumo champion.
There are a few ground rules - you can't actually attack other animals unless it's part of the event. So you can put away that anteater bro. When you have heard enough to rank your competitors, you flip your 'undecided' card to ready to vote. Once half the players have done this time is up and you move to the voting phase.
To vote you take your tokens for the event and place them face down on the other players animals, but not your own. These are kept secret until the end scoring phase.
Chumpian of the Wild?
The Champion of the Wild is a game that lives or dies on the group of people player it. Like Balderdash or Funemployed the game pressures players to be creative and witty. For some this pressure will never a fun experience make. But in it's defence, The Champion of the Wild gives you more structure to base your creativity on than the aforementioned games. In my plays I found that people of all ages enjoyed making logical and preposterous arguments by equal measure.
There is something innately funny about imagining a rhino joust with a hawk or trying to work out how the huge animal you chose for the first event will win hide and seek. And there is so much content in the game that you are unlikely to encounter the same situations multiple times.
If I had one niggle it would be than the points attached to the score phase feel a tad unnecessary but this is an easy house rule. If this sounds like your kind of game check out the already funded Kickstarter.