An island filled with unique and special creatures has been found. It’s the premiere destination for animal enthusiasts, and you get to take the first boat to the island. Players are given a crew of 3 animals and a captain as you explore the island. What Wondrous Creatures will be found during your adventure?
A Captain and Their Crew
Each player has 3 prehistoric or mythical creatures at their disposal. At the start of the game, players will choose a captain that has unique abilities that can be unlocked during the course of the game. This captain meeple will sit atop one of the creatures in your crew. The magnets in the wooden tokens snap these pieces together as they explore the island board.
The captains all have asymmetric abilities that can be unlocked. Two unique abilities will allow you to break placement rules with your crew/captain combination.
In Wondrous Creatures, players place their crew on the island board, getting benefits based on the environments that they are placed next to. The four different environments are connected to the 4 resources that each player has on their dual-layered player board. You’ll spend these resources to add incredible creatures into your reserve, gaining their abilities.
Even though you start with 4 creatures in your hand, there are over 100 unique animals that can be found in the wild. Instead of taking a resource from an adjacent environment, players can take a creature with a matching environment icon into their hand. Once in your hand, you can then spend the resources to add the creature to your reserve.
Gotta Catch ’em All
Wondrous Creatures is a worker placement and engine building game as you fill out your “reserve” with the creatures you find. Each creature card has a species designation, native environment, victory points and a special ability. Based on the icon on the card, the ability can give resources, victory points or end game bonuses.
The game is broken into 5 rounds at the top of the board on the time tracker. Each time a player has to “recharge,” they have to advance their token, bringing the end of the game closer. This recharge action allows the player to take back all their crew members and clear half of the creatures that are currently shown on the board. This also adds new eggs in different spaces around the board.
Eggs can be collected and used as species icons when claiming achievements during the game. This is a great way to gather the species you need to earn achievements. Each game of Wondrous Creatures can be unique because of these variable achievements in the game. Each time an achievement is earned, players earn a bonus on their player board and a trophy token that is worth 3 points at the end of the game.
The quicker you earn these achievements, the more points you can earn. The game comes to a close when a player advances into the 5th time slot or once all the trophy tokens are collected.
An Island Full of Fantasy
At each player count, the island expands, leading to more opportunities to gather resources. Player turns are really quick with only 4 different actions available. Wondrous Creatures is filled with colorful and unique animals that are so much fun to collect. In a two player game, we only went through half of the cards in the game. The artwork is fun and whimsical and the wooden crew pieces look great as they fill the island.
Players can earn victory points during the game and really load up on end game points through the variety of creatures available. The recharge action is taken when a player feel that they need to retrieve their crew from the board. This leads to players being in different phases of the game. I really liked that players move at their own speed and the game gives players this agency.
If you’ve played other Bad Comet games (Life of the Amazonia, Wild: Serengeti, Shaolia), you know that the component quality and attention to detail is top-notch. While it’s a little detail, it’s so cool to pair up a new captain with a different crew each time you play.
With 6 different captains, variable achievements and loads of creatures to collect, this game has a lot of replayability. Finding synergies between the creatures you add to your reserve works really well. Creature abilities can trigger immediately, continuously during the game, during the recharge action, or at the end of the game.
There’s a simplicity to the actions that take place on your turn which end up building as you find the right combinations of creatures to capture. Wondrous Creatures is charming, has a great table presence and was engaging for everyone who played it.
You can learn more about Wondrous Creatures on the Kickstarter campaign that launches on October 25, 2023.
A prototype of the game was provided for this coverage. Components and rules covered in this preview are not finalized. Read more about our preview policies at One Board Family.