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Listen Here Wolfchild : The Alpha Board Game Review

W Updated September 02, 2020
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
1012 1
Listen Here Wolfchild : The Alpha Board Game Review

Game Information

Game Name
Players
3 - 6
There Will Be Games

On the front of The Alpha box, it plainly states that it is“A Light Strategy Game.” I found this bit of information of particular import as I kept referring back to it as I considered the game.

The Alpha is a worker (wolf) placement game with exactly one resource: Food. And even Food is not truly a resource. The members of the pack rarely consume the food, so you just add it to your stash. (Psst, Wade, it is “A Light Strategy Game” so just roll with it, okay?) And food also acts as the measure of who wins the game, with the pack/player with the most total food winning.

Adding to the Worker Placement aspect is Majority Control. As you place members of your pack on the board, the pack with the most wolves on a specific prey/location will roll the (prey specific) die and receive that result in Food. If the pack's present in a specific area “tie” for control, that is when the game breaks out it's Prisoner's Dilemma. Using the included tokens, the players tied for control of the prey secretly either choose Fight or Share. If both choose fight, then one wolf from each pack is wounded and basically is benched the next round (Who knew that Wolf Packs used roller hockey rules for fighting). If one player chooses Fight and the second player chooses Share, the Fight pack takes ALL of the food. If both packs choose share, they split the food equally.

The Alpha Board Game

Of course, the titular Alpha pair comes into play. Counting as two wolves (and sporting a unique meeple), you have some interesting moments of deciding when and where to place them. For instance, the larger prey, such as a Bison, are located in the “Deep Forest” and placing a wolf in this location will cost you a food (one assumes you had to stop on the way for snacks). The cost to play your alpha pair in these locations is still only a single food, so you get more bang for your buck if you choose to put them in the Deep Forest. Of course, there are other locations that offer a non-interaction (if you place a wolf at some locations, no other wolves can be added to it). The pay-off is meager but the lack of risk is it's own reward. On the other end of the scale is the Livestock location where you can meet the TRUE Alpha of the game, a Projectile weapon carrying human. Unguarded livestock are an easy means to a feast of mutton but a bad die roll can leave you with a Wolf Death, crushingly reducing your pack by one for the entirety of the game. Please sir, if you have any issues with this, see the front of the box, this is “A Light Strategy Game.”

With each prey using one of the different D6 dice included, you can try to calculate the reward for taking control of a specific area. Sometimes a hotly-contested prey can come up with a big, fat X on the dice, giving you no food for your effort. Or you can be hit with Carrion result on the dice (a C with a smaller number next to it). This means the prey is wounded and will become carrion next round (you flip the prey card over to it's opposite side) and an immediate conflict for the smaller number of food next to the C is executed. Fighting for what turns out to be nothing or, as occasionally happens, going head to head to be a dominant pack with another player only to have the third place scavenger pack receive the contested food because both dominant packs end up with a wounded wolf, can be annoying. But, hey, it is a “A Light Strategy Game”

It took me a long time to finish this review because, even working with my “bubble” players (which consists of an almost unheard of six players due to my kids and extended family residing with me), I didn't feel it was getting a proper chance. All of the parts were, theoretically, there but they didn't click for us. Running larger player counts helped because of the additional contention for limited prey spaces. In the end, agreeing it was “A Light Strategy Game” that could live or die by dice rolls was the result. It never really achieved what I, personally, wanted from it but it did deliver on it's promise of “A Light Strategy Game.” One that can be “Pretty Cool” if you simply take it for what it is.

Photos

Listen Here Wolfchild : The Alpha Board Game Review

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Rating 
 
3.0
The Alpha
It took me a long time to finish this review because, even working with my “bubble” players (which consists of an almost unheard of six players due to my kids and extended family residing with me), I didn't feel it was getting a proper chance. All of the parts were, theoretically, there but they didn't click for us. Running larger player counts helped because of the additional contention for limited prey spaces. In the end, agreeing it was “A Light Strategy Game” that could live or die by dice rolls was the result. It never really achieved what I, personally, wanted from it but it did deliver on it's promise of “A Light Strategy Game.” One that can be “Pretty Cool” if you simply take it for what it is.
Wade Monnig  (He/Him)
Staff Board Game Reviewer

In west Saint Louis born and raised
Playing video games is where I spent most of my days
Strafing, Dashing, Adventuring and Looting
Writing reviews between all the Shooting
When a couple of guys reminded me what was so good
About playing games with cardboard and Wood,
Collecting Victory Points and those Miniatures with Flair
It’s not as easy as you think to rhyme with Bel Air.

Wade is the former editor in chief for Silicon Magazine and former senior editor for Gamearefun.com. He currently enjoys his games in the non-video variety, where the odds of a 14 year old questioning the legitimacy of your bloodline is drastically reduced.

“I’ll stop playing as Black when they invent a darker color.”

Articles by Wade

Wade Monnig
Staff Board Game Reviewer

Articles by Wade

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WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #313688 02 Sep 2020 09:07
Deciding on which "Wolf" lyrics to pull from was hard.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #313690 02 Sep 2020 09:55
Even the faintest of praise is still praise, I guess?
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #313693 02 Sep 2020 10:59
Was 'Hungry like the Wolf' too on the nose? I do appreciate a title that makes me think of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #313694 02 Sep 2020 11:14

the_jake_1973 wrote: Was 'Hungry like the Wolf' too on the nose? I do appreciate a title that makes me think of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction.

Probably. But, honestly, it was a chance to do Zodiac Mindwarp that easily won out.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #313695 02 Sep 2020 11:15

Jackwraith wrote: Even the faintest of praise is still praise, I guess?

The "Pretty Cool" was a direct quote from my Daughter's boyfriend. So, I thought it was apt.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #313698 02 Sep 2020 11:32

WadeMonnig wrote:

the_jake_1973 wrote: Was 'Hungry like the Wolf' too on the nose? I do appreciate a title that makes me think of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction.

Probably. But, honestly, it was a chance to do Zodiac Mindwarp that easily won out.


I love that you even know who they are.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #313702 02 Sep 2020 13:30
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #313704 02 Sep 2020 13:42
I for one am way totally stoked about this Three Wolf Moon Game. I mean, there have already been like 2600 worker placement games published, so obviously we need another one. ARH-WOOOOO!!!
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #313708 02 Sep 2020 15:10
GW just needs to reskin it with the Space Wolves chapter and orks….Orruks (oops) as 'meat'.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #313712 02 Sep 2020 18:23
The hobby has reached a stage where someone could publish a game called I Pooped In A Box and market it successfully as a worker placement game.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #313714 02 Sep 2020 21:57
Are there numerous sculpted miniatures? Is there a Zombie expansion? Get that game on Kickstarter!