UNTAMED: FERAL FACTIONS
By Raymond "DuMeeple" Dumee on May 28, 2019
*** Disclaimer: The pictures in this preview are of a prototype set and some of the artwork might vary from the finished product. ***
These are uncertain times, ladies and gentlemen. Deep in the dark woods, the nine mighty animal factions decided to take up their weapons and battle for supremacy of the Wilds. As the battle rages on, these factions are always on the lookout for strong allies among each other in order to rule over the all the strongholds once and for all. Bonded by the same goals, the fearless fighters valiantly do battle in this seemingly endless conflict.
Untamed: Feral Factions is a 2 - 3 player battle card game, brought to you by Grumpy Owl Games. Ever since I follow these guys on their social media channels, I am deeply in love with the brightly coloured artwork they seem to be intent on using for their cards and on their box. The nine Feral Factions: Chameleons, Crocodiles, Foxes, Pandas, Rabbits, Raccoons, Rats, Rhinos and Tigers will each consist of fifteen Animals or Items cards and one Stronghold card. Together with the two overview cards, fourteen damage tokens, ten fury tokens and a rule book, you will be receiving a whole bunch of cards in a really good-looking box.
The game is set up by all players taking turns in choosing a faction of the available nine Factions each. When you, as a player, have chosen three factions, you may now select with which Stronghold you want to start with and place the remaining two Strongholds underneath it, in the order of your choice. Shuffle the rest of your cards together and presto; you've got your deck ready. See, it doesn't have to be that hard, to create a deck! Draw a hand of eight cards from your deck and you are all set to play the game and do some serious battle!
Your job is to defend your Stronghold while utterly destroying opponents' Strongholds. To do so, you use the cards at your disposal, but to bring them into play, you'll need Power. This Power is generated by choosing a card in your hand and bringing it into play face down as a Power Resource card, when you tap it you generate one Power. Another kind of resource is generated with the help of your used Item cards and defeated Animal cards. These cards are placed into your Support Area and you can use them (only once) as a Support Resource to activate powerful card abilities.
The battles keep on going at a nice pace, because there are a few nice built-in limitations, which prohibits players from building enormous animal armies and, in doing so, prevents the game from taking forever and ever. Both the animal cards and power resource cards in play are limited to a maximum of five cards each, which makes the battles fast and feral (see what I did there? Oh yes, you thought I wouldn't, but I did!).
But, all silliness aside, this game mechanic really does help speed up the game in general. Now, you will most likely start out by playing the game in a patient and biding-your-time kind of manner, in which you wait for your chance to attack or for really good cards. And while this is all fine and good, it's even better to attack quickly and play fast because, when you wait, your chance may already have passed and your Stronghold is taking damage...
Building your deck is easy and pretty soon, once you get to know the cards a bit better, you will actually have favourite factions to play with, each of which comes with its own set of cards and characters. The cards themselves have cool abilities like, for instance, the "Arrive" ability; an effect which happens immediately after that card comes into play. Another ability is called "Last Words", and comes into effect when a card gets defeated (I can just imagine a animal character getting mowed down by the enemy and uttering their last words of power just before dying (all in a very dramatic way, of course). Another interesting example of these abilities is the "Guard" ability on some cards. When in play, these cards must be defeated first before the Stronghold can be attacked.
Well, like I already mentioned, I really do like the vibrant artwork of Untamed. With about eleven different artists working on the game, it is actually something a miracle that the overall look of the game is so well balanced. You can still see the different styles, of course, but it all looks really nice together. The card game itself is solid and feels like a collectable card game with the right gameplay. Plus, it features a easy and quick way of building a deck with enough possible combinations to use, but without the complexity and hassle that comes with most collectable card games.
I, for one, really like that, because I don't have time for that collecting shit, I just want to take a deck of cards and play a game in which both sides have an equal chance of winning, without the player who bought the latest deck automatically having the upper hand... Do I sound frustrated? I do apologize for that, but I think you all know what I am talking about. I don't like the pay-to-win system and I never have. Me, I really prefer more balanced games; one of which, incidentally, is Untamed: Feral Factions!
The guys at Grumpy Owl Games will start a Kickstarter campaign to get the necessary funding for Untamed: Feral Factions on the 11th of June. So, if you want to make sure you don't miss out on the action (which is something you really don't want to do, trust me!), then subscribe to their Kickstarter notification on the Untamed website. And now, if you'd excuse me ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; I've got an animal kingdom to conquer!
UNTAMED: FERAL FACTIONS
Grumpy Owl Games
Year of release: TBA 2019
Designer: Jeremy Falger, Milan Lefferts
Artist: David Tenorio, Joe A. Howard, Andrew Soman, Julien Vandois, Baukje Jagersma, Ilse Harting, Andrea Sodaro, Alex Shiga, Albert Bruun, Radu Mihai, Re?gis Torres
Players: 2 - 3 players, ages 8 & up
Playtime: approx. 30 minutes