Nothing ruins a camp out in the woods like a legendary creature picking off Scouts one at a time. That is exactly the scenario in Iello’s new game, The Legend of Wendigo.
In this simple fun game, 32 scouts are out for a camping adventure. They are represented by Scout tokens. Many of them look very similar, but they’ll have something that distinguishes them, from their hat, to their hair, to their clothing, some part of them makes them unique. One side of the tokens shows the campers and the flip side is a search party.
One player is going to take on the role of the Wendigo. At their disposal they have a set of 32 Wendigo tokens, each one identical to one of the Scouts on the front side…the back depicts the creepy mythical beast.
All of the other players will turn their back and the Wendigo will randomly select one of their tokens. They find the real camper that match the token they’ve selected and replace that scout with the shape-shifting Wendigo. To the other players it will look the exact same. Just another scout excited for a night in the woods.
The timer is flipped giving the Scouts 45 seconds to study the campers and their location in the troop. Once time runs out they must turn their back and the Wendigo player gets snatch away one of the campers. They move the Wendigo token into the spot where the camper was taken, and then the scouts can turn around and view the board again.
They get another 45 seconds and can make one guess as to which Scout is actually the Wendigo in disguise. If they find the right one, they can rest easy, the beast has been nullified. If not, they must turn their backs and the Wendigo will strike again. This goes on until either the Scouts find the Wendigo or it makes off with five of the kids.
Now, these rules might sound very simple, but it’s actually quite difficult to identify who, in a group of 32 very similar looking kids has actually moved.
As night after night passes, the intensity is ratcheted up. Campers go missing, and as each one disappears, the Scouts are closer to losing.
Wendigo takes moments to teach and has a super high replay value. Kids will delight in getting to be the sneaky creature, hunting by night and trying to get away with it. And the short rounds mean that everyone can have a turn as the Wendigo.
The art is playful and fun. I mean, these campers should be the star of the next Pixar movie. The Wendigo itself, is a little creepy, but nothing that is going to give anyone nightmares.
Designer Christian Lemay has done an excellent job creating a light hearted murder mystery atmosphere. Flipping the tile to reveal a search party, and not the monster you were after means that at least one more Scout is going to disappear. But, flipping that Wendigo tile is met with uproarious cheers. Few games can create that level of tension, with such a simple premise.
I really recommend checking this game out. Kinds and adults will have an awesome time and everyone will be excited for the next trip into the woods!
All the pics show white scouts… are there any minority scouts on the tokens? You said they all look similar except hair, hat or clothing.
Looks like a great game, so I’m hoping it’s a bit more inclusive than the photos would suggest.
That’s a good point. All the Scouts are white in the game. Functionally, it makes sense in the game, but it would be good for there to be more diverse representation in the game.
Definitely something for all publishers to consider going forward.
Thanks for your comment.
Yeah… I guess given the gameplay mechanism I understand why they look the same. Then again, I’d have chosen a more cartoonish representation which would have avoided the entire issue.
Guess those are the things that designers and artists have to struggle with.
I’ll vote with my wallet and take a pass.
Thanks for the great review though!