It’s a Wonderful WorldJanuary 11, 2021
Game Design: Frédéric Guérard
Art: Anthony Wolff
Publisher: La boîte de jeu
It’s a Wonderful World (in order to ease my fingers, I will write IWW from now on) is a “draft” game. Players will get a hand of seven cards, choose one (and only one), and pass the rest to their neighbor. So you’ll have to choose the card that suits you best but also avoid leaving direct opponents cards that would be too advantageous to them. As these two elements will not necessarily be compatible, there will be dilemma and difficult choices in mind. This is where the fun is ! 🙂
This mechanic is already pretty common in board games arena, whether it be Sushi Go! (the simplest “darft” game) or 7 Wonders (another great classic, multi-awarded and a little more complex).
IWW is another step up on the complexity ladder because a production phase will be added to the draft. Actually, once all players have selected their 7 cards, they will have the choice of using them in two ways. Either consider building them or discarding them in exchange for a colored resource that they can place on another card.
Then there will be a big production phase which will be done in a certain order. Thus, through cleverly planned constructions, players will be able to benefit from production combos which are a clear path to victory. This is the bulk of the game and I assure you that rules are explained in 10-15 minutes if you’re familiar with board games (otherwise go for Sushi Go! Or 7 Wonders first 😊).
For me, IWW was the game that got me to sell my entire collection of 7 Wonders. And here’s why:
- Because I really liked the combo mechanics and it satisfied the “I need a good puzzle” gamer in me.
- Because there is a solo mode. Solo mode which is available both in a “Beat your own score” mode but also through solo scenarios where victory point levels must be reached in order to get medals. And since those are hard to come by (at least, as far as I’m concerned), it’s the opportunity to play one more, which is definitely a good thing. As games won’t last more than 20 minutes, the “one more” effect will easily come in full effect. 😉 And despite this game length, there will actually be a lot to think. 🙂
- The game has some interesting expansions (7 Wonders also contains some, don’t get me wrong – I bought all of them 😉 ). The first “War or Peace” is a campaign that will bring common objectives and bring some competition. A great thing is that winner and loser will see their game evolve. Even if you lose the game, you still win something. And it’s all coherent with the current scenario. So, okay, the very abstract mechanics does not allow a strong adequacy with a scenario but it is still a nice touch to read the introductory texts of each part and the conclusion of the campaign, which can be pretty dramatic if you put a little roleplay into it. 🙂 With one possible branch in the story, that makes 2 possible conclusions and two playable campaigns of 5 parts, which does not require a lot of sessions from the players.
- The second extension “Leisure & Decay” is only available during the various Kickstarter projects. It brings a slight change in mechanics and even more choice and therefore complexity to the game. The scenario and the concepts discussed are again very pleasant.
- The latest “Ascension” expansion (which was just funded on Kickstarter but should arrive in stores) will bring yet another new mechanic that will vary your production to make big big scores. It will therefore be necessary to be even more attentive to opponents since the majority system included in the base game will vary much more and will therefore be more interactive with probably some twists during play.
- If the comparison wasn’t obvious enough, this third expansion allows to play up to 7 players. Be warned that even more than for 7 Wonders, playing at this player count involves some downtime and neeed perfect synchronization. (Put your cards in front of you as advised in the rules or it will soon be a nightmare to get where every player is during the draft phase.)
I’ll add to the Kickstarter project that it has an absolutely fantastic production. Cardboard boxes, plastic cups, resin lap token: little gadgets that eases setup and tear down. Nothing that a good folded paper could replace of course (there is an excellent Facebook group on the subject) but if you’re lazy as I am, this is just happiness.
In retail stores, you’ll be able to find the base box (not the Deluxe as on Kickstarter) as well as the first expansion “War or Peace”.
Add some gorgeous art and a very dark humor and it is easy to see why IWW has such good press. Some will find it too complicated, too convoluted for the experience and the style of play it offers (once again, in contrast to the very streamlined 7 Wonders) but it is my “favorite” 2020 game ( knowing that it was released at the end of 2019).
La boite de jeu already announced that they will release another KS project for a standalone 2-player game that will be inspired by IWW. So stay tuned !
Kickstarter page for base game