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Grow your pack and dominate a hex grid wilderness in new board game The Wolves

The wolf meeple says, ‘Awoo!’

The fierce eye of a white wolf reflects two more howling against the setting sun. This is the box art for The Wolves, a strategy board game due out in October 2022.
Image credit: Pauliina Linjama/Pandasaurus

Lead a pack of lupine hunters in a quest to control a varied landscape in The Wolves, an upcoming board game that prioritises action selection and dominating opponents’ areas as you hunt prey, recruit lone wolves and cut off rival packs from moving into your territory.

Players take control of a pack of wolves that they must strengthen through hunting, recruiting and territory building in order to earn enough victory points to clinch a win. The landscape is represented by pieces of a hexagonally gridded board situated around an impassible gorge. Five different wolf packs each have a biome preference from among the five terrain types - tundra, desert, forest, rocky hills and grasslands - but will need to range beyond the comfort of home to grow.

The Wolves touts an action selection mechanic that limits the decisions a player can make on every succeeding turn. Player boards have six tiles used to power two actions per turn, and each refers to a terrain type, plus an extra one in their preferred biome. Moving your wolves, establishing a den and recruiting - or dominating - other wolves requires flipping tiles matching the affected hex. This reveals the other side, introducing new combinations but necessarily cutting off possibilities at the same time.

Another board game that marries wild creatures and hexgrids is the excellent Hive, which Wheels and Matt play together in this video.Watch on YouTube

Throughout the game, players will move across the board pieces to hunt prey that will strengthen their pack and award new abilities. Establishing dens beyond the first lair will push their influence, and using the actual pack members to restrict opponents movement will be key to victory. The game clock is represented by a calendar of moon phases - interstitial scoring rounds will occur throughout play and lead up to a final tally when the full moon rises.

Players will earn points for basically any action taken during play - increasing pack size and speed, establishing lairs, hunting prey, and strength of their abilities all award their own VP at the end of the game. The Wolves is not about choosing a mode of production and specialising - conflict is inevitable and cutting opponents off from vital territory or delicious deer could be critical to staying in the lead as the moon waxes larger.

The Wolves is a new design from Funko Games developer Ashwin Kamath and Clarence Simpson, who previously worked on last year’s Merchants of Magick: A Set a Watch Tale. Pandasaurus Games is working with the pair to publish the board game, and illustrator Pauliina Linjama is providing art.

Image credit: Pandasaurus

A two-player variant will allow pairs of pack leaders to face off on a smaller board, and The Wolves support a maximum of five would-be alphas. Pandasaurus said pre-orders should open on August 22nd, and the publisher plans to sell early copies at this year’s Essen Spiel. The full game is scheduled to release on October 26th of this year and carries an MSRP of $49.95.

Pandasaurus is leaning hard into animal-themed games this fall, as the company also just announced The Fox Experiment, a board game about domesticating foxes designed by Wingspan's Elizabeth Hargrave and based on real-life scientific events.

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