Last year, IDW Games announced that they would be publishing a Wayward board game based on the popular Image Comics’ series, Wayward, by Jim Zub and Steven Cummings. Few details were shared at the time of the announcement about the game and what we can expect from it, but we did learn some awesome things.
First off, the designer of the game is well-known designer Jonathan Gilmour, who is one of the designers of the game Dead of Winter, which blew up in popularity after being aired on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop YouTube series, the very successfully funded and recently fulfilled Kickstarter game Dinosaur Island, and the well-received game Wasteland Express Delivery Service, which is currently marked as owned by over two thousand BoardGameGeek users.
We also learned a tiny bit about the game itself. Wayward the board game will be a cooperative game in which players play as the heroes of Wayward, fighting villains which are controlled by the game. That was the extent of what we learned about the game from the announcement made by IDW. Recently, however, Jim Zub shared a little more about the prototype process of the game on his blog, which made me even more excited to see this game hit shelves.
We learn from Zub that the villains are appropriately the Yokai, which are the “bads” of the comic series. Makes sense. We also learn that the game will consist of scenarios, each varying in difficulty, and in the default scenario, players will attempt to defeat the Yokai “by building up character abilities and energy points to shut down five power locations called the Goshiki Fudo” (Zub 2017).
The game also sounds like it has a little bit of a time crunch. As players save one area, other areas will weaken. The Weave will be unraveling during the game, and players lose if the Weave unravels completely.
If you are unfamiliar with the comic series, to not give away too much, here is my superfast personal synopsis of the story: A young girl, Rori, gets involved in this magical force which ties fates together, called the Weave. Other people and things know about the Weave, including who we know as the Yokai, which are assumably the antagonists of the story.
Zub describes the default scenario opening to be similar to Pandemic, in which many locations are already under attack. Players need energy points to make positive actions, but the only ways to earn energy points seem to be by taking negative actions or allowing bad stuff to occur in the game, like adding villain creatures to the board or pushing the game closer to a loss by drawing energy from the Weave. Players will get to spend energy points to perform positive actions like attacking villains, shutting down one of the power locations (which is good but makes the game become tougher), and other neat stuff like buying potions and performing special abilities tailored to the character.
Combat, as described by Zub, is a little bit of betting and a little bit of luck. Players bid their energy points in hopes that the amount they’ve bid is greater than what is rolled on the villain character dice. You don’t want to bid too many energy points when engaging in combat though because they are the “currency” of the game. You need them to also activate abilities, and most importantly, shut down Yokai power locations.
So far Zub has shared five Heroes players will be able to choose from, and their abilities are appropriate and related to the characters from the comic series Wayward. Rori, the main character who can see the Weave, is able to earn extra energy points when she taps into the Weave. Ayane, who is the crazy cat lady of Wayward, can move between locations quickly. Zub does share that this is all a work-in-progress as they strive to make sure character abilities mesh well with each other and are balanced as well as fun.
The game is tentatively scheduled for a Spring-Summer release of this year. I am not sure whether that means it will hit Kickstarter or go straight to manufacturing, but either way, I feel confident in saying it will be successful, and I can’t wait to play.
Zub, Jim. “Wayward the Board Game Report 1: Prototyping.” Zub Tales,
Jim Zub, September 17 2017, www.jimzub.com/wayward-the-board-game-report-1-prototyping/.