Published by Rather Fun Games
Designed by David Medley & Evan Scheidegger
Art by Evan Scheidegger
3-6 Players | 5-15 Minutes
Yip Yip Yip! That’s the sound of the snerlep… its distinct mating call is recognizable at gaming tables the world over!
In Call of the Wild, a fast, silly, family game, players mimic the mating sounds of mythical animals. Of course, trust is always an issue in the jungle, as animals have been known to mimic the sounds of their prey in an effort to lure them in. Do you have the vocal prowess, killer instinct and cunning to conquer the Call of the Wild?
ON YOUR TURN
To begin the game, each player receives an identical “deck” of 10 circular cards, each with a featured mythical creature and where it sits on the food chain.
These mythical creatures each have a distinct mating call that players will need to use to lure in their opponents and score points.
The game doesn’t necessarily take place over a series of turns—it’s more of a free-for-all. When play commences, players draw cards and offer one face down to the group. That player will then make one of the 5 different creature mating sounds. An opponent may match the sound creating a meeting between the players. With their card’s identity still concealed, they exchange cards and reveal them with their matchup determining scoring.
The thing is… you don’t have to use your card’s animal mating noise. You can actually use any of the 5 animal’s mating noises in hopes of luring your opponent into playing a card your chosen animal has an appetite for. This can lead to double-crossing, triple-crossing and permanent distrust between players.
When it comes to scoring, players can choose to “mate” by exchanging the same type of animal card earning each player a single point. When the cards don’t match, it is considered hunting. If two animals who are next to each other on the food chain meet, the player highest on the chain will “eat” the other player—keeping both cards—and earning 2 points.
It’s completely up to you to accept another player’s invitation to meet and it certainly up to you to determine when to pull the string and double cross an opponent.
Once a player has run out of all 10 cards in their hand the game ends and players add up their points to determine the winner.
There is also a variant where players draw an objective card earning them bonus points for achieving an end-game goal.
Call of the Wild works with 3 players, but in a game where sanity quickly takes a backseat, the more you are hollering and hooting at the table… the merrier it all is.
COMPONENTS & ARTWORK
This is really a game where the artwork and components aren’t critical. The artwork is ok and the card quality is fine, but none of that really matters because the game never really focuses on these things.
Call of the Wild definitely has the potential to drive many people crazy. It truly feels like you’re out in the wild when 6 people are all making animal noises across the table at one another at the same time. It’s loud, it’s in-sane and it’s hilarious.
I honestly don’t think you ever outgrown making strange animal noises. Why not do it in a competitive, gaming environment?
On the strategy side, you can play it safe and just trade like-animals throughout the game but you’re never going to win until you learn the art of the double-cross. Going on the hunt for your opponent’s animals is key to bigger points and victory.
Of course, if you’re constantly tricking your opponents out of their cards, you’re going to lose their trust and no one will meet up with you in the jungle. This can leave you with a handful of cards and failing to play all your cards will be a huge hurdle for anyone to overcome. This requires you to walk a fine line between honesty and deception. Your opponents understand it’s eat or be eaten so there is always a little grace to the gamesmanship, but you have to be careful who you target and when you plan your mating call trickery.
I definitely enjoyed how quick and silly this game is, but I also enjoyed reading your opponents and discerning when to attempt to outwit them. My 7-year-old quickly picked up on the strategy of the game and won going away only her second play. My wife, on the other hand, struggled to grasp the game and we enjoyed cherry picking her animals and laughing all the way to the bank. (Side note: My wife did finally grasp the concept after a few plays and put up better numbers).
Everything about this game feels like it should be marketed to children, but it has a strange tone that appeals to both children and adults. It’ll more likely find a home with a younger/kid-age audience, but it’s one you can definitely play as a family. It’s super easy to teach and loads of fun to play. This is the kind of game that gets everyone engaged and excited. There is a fun strategy to it as well with the double-crossing and a thin layer of tactfulness that underlines it all. It’s not going to be a game you break out every time you get together to play games. In fact, I can see some people getting tired of it after just a couple plays—I can see a little going a long way with some families. I plan on keeping it around because it’s really different from anything else I have in my game library. Call of the Wild is great for kids and families and almost always guarantees good laughs and a good time.
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