Wildstyle is a frantic, real-time game by Pandasaurus games in which you are trying to distribute your graffiti tags across a district. The tags need to be high in quantity but creatively placed to achieve objectives and to tag the most valuable areas. If your crew is brave enough to tag a police station then this is rewarded at the end of the game with a higher point value, however, you have to work quickly before another crew comes along and swoops in with an opposing tag! Wildstyle is an exciting but lightweight game which can be enjoyed for 2-5 players with an average gametime of 40 minutes.
The set up for Wildstyle differs slightly depending on how many players you have. The more players participating then the bigger the district will be and the layout of card piles will be altered. The rule book is written well on the whole but in terms of the set-up it feels like they overcomplicated the instructions when it could’ve just said to spread the cards out evenly amongst players. It did need to be reread a couple of times to understand what they were referring to and not just on the first play through. The set up in general though was really quick and meant you could get into the gameplay really promptly. To set up the game, one district board per player is picked at random and organised so that the train stations are as close to the centre as possible. Three objective tiles are then selected and each player is provided with a crew mat and six tags of their colour. Three location cards are distributed to each person and the rest are separated into piles according to player count and placed evenly around the district. Share pile cards are also placed besides the district and the cop cars placed into a pile that is accessible to all players. Wildstyle is now ready to play so get your spray cans at the ready and be prepared to head out into the district and get creative!
The appeal of Wildstyle is that it is played in real time so there is a limited number of actions that you can take but you can do as many of them as you wish and in any order during a round. This means that everyone is taking turns all at once and so you don’t have to sit and wait for someone to make a decision of what action they will take. Great for gameplay but maybe not so great for tea breaks!
To add a tag to the district you have to make a set of three cards with matching icons. Once this is achieved then the cards get discarded and you can move a coloured tag from your crew board and add it to a matching icon in the district. Each area can only be tagged once (apart from train stations) so if there is a particular area that is essential for you to get then you want to get it tagged as quickly as possible. This sometimes means that you have to weigh up whether it is worth receiving a penalty in order to place a tag without finishing your set. Is it worth getting in trouble with the cops to stop an opponent achieving a high reward objective? That is the decision that you have to make very swiftly!
There are two golden rules that all players have to adhere to throughout the game. You may only draw or play 1 card at a time and you have a hand limit of 3 cards at all times. These golden rules make it a lot fairer for people that may be a bit slower and also stops possession of cards and stilted gameplay.
During a round players can take 5 different actions which are;
-Draw a card
-Add to a set on your crew board from your hand or a share pile (can only be collecting two sets at once)
- Share a card - This means discarding an unwanted card from your hand face up onto a share pile (as long as either the icon or colour matches any card that was discarded previously)
-Complete a set – clear your set of three cards and add a coloured tag to a matching icon in the district
-Rush a set – take a cop car token to finish a set with less than three cards.
The end of the round is triggered when the draw piles are empty or only one player has tags left on their crew board. Once this occurs the players with any tags left have the chance to finish any incomplete sets (but not make any new ones). The second round is then set up and play begins again. After the third round is completed, a winner is then determined.
How Do I Win?
So as fun as the gameplay is surely you just want to know how you win?? Ok maybe that is just me but the simple answer is in Wildstyle the winner is the player with the most points. You have spent the whole game tagging the different areas within the district so before you can even get to any points you have to deal with the cops who have an issue with what you have been up to! For each cop car that you have gained throughout the game you have to remove one tag of your colour. Next you have to remove any tags of your colour that are on their own and are not adjacent to any other of your tokens. This is definitely a rule you should bear in mind as you are placing them as it is better to make clusters of tags so you will have to remove less at the end of the game.
Once that is dealt with you look at the objectives in turn and score points based on how well you have achieved them. This can include having six tokens in a line or scoring points for how many tags you have surrounding the police station. The objectives are randomised during set up and there are 12 different ones that you could be working towards so just make sure you know what they are at the beginning so you can maximise your scoring during this section.
Finally, each tag you have still in the district is worth different points depending on the icon you have covered. Railways and train stations are worth 1 point each. Residential, shopping and downtown are worth 2 each. Industrial and parks are worth 3 each and police stations are worth 4 points each.
Once all points are calculated then it is time to celebrate if you have the most points and are the most creative crew in the district!
So, is this game worth playing? I would say yes! However, I definitely think it depends on the style of gaming that you enjoy. If an element of board gaming that you really dislike is waiting for your turn, then this game would be perfect for you as the gameplay completely removes that frustration. This game can get quite frantic especially with a higher player count so if you would find that overwhelming then it might be a bit off putting for you. I personally love the real time element but there were definitely moments where a move I was planning on actioning was ruined by someone else’s tag. I was then overwhelmed with trying to decide what to do while cards and tokens are continuing to be distributed so rapidly. I found that Wildstyle was a lot slower paced at two players but still worked really well so definitely worth a play even if real time is not normally a genre you prefer.
Wildstyle has a really quick set up and has simple rules so it means that you don’t have to keep stopping play to clarify rules, this was the case even for new players. The components are attractive and good quality so your tags stand out really well when you have placed them on the board. The biggest negative for me was the district itself. The icons aren’t very big so if you are sat the other side of the table, it is quite hard to see what they are. The frantic gameplay also meant that the board slid around and separated a lot so would’ve definitely been better if they interlocked. This is a very minor issue though and all players are provided with a reference sheet which was really useful.
Overall, I think Wildstyle is a fun, tactical but simple game to play and certainly provided a lot of laughter with the chaos of who could get their tags into the prime spots the quickest. It is a very replayable game because you will not be able to predict what your opponent will do next time. So, gather your crew and get your tags out into the district! Just stay away from those cop cars!