Tagline: A strong card game, reinforcing this line of family-oriented card games which made a name for itself with Twitch.
Last year Wizards of the Coast released a series of four family-oriented card games (in the tradition of Uno and Skip-Bo): Twitch, Pivot, Alpha Blitz, and Go Wild!. After reading about it in an RPGNet review I picked up Twitch and quickly became completely addicted to its fast-pace play style. On the strength of Twitch I ended up buying the other three games in this abbreviated line and have been slowly playing my way through them (in addition to Twitch I have also reviewed Pivot here on RPGNet – a review of Alpha Blitz will pop up whenever I get around to playing it).
So far I have been heartily impressed, and the games have readily taken their place alongside other family favorites, such as the aforementioned Uno and Skip-Bo.
Go Wild! is a trick-based game (like Hearts or Spades) designed for 2-6 players. There are six suits of cards – five colors and the wild cards. Each player is dealt twelve cards, which forms their hand. The game is played in a series of rounds, each of which is made up of three tricks. You win a trick by more cards of a particular color — which is determined by whoever leads the trick — than anybody else.
At this point it sounds like a pretty tame, typical game. You might as well pick up a copy of Hoyle’s. But this is where the designers throw you a curveball: You score a variable number of points depending on which trick in the round you win, plus, if you win the first trick of the round, you become the Wild One. Here’s how it works:
If you win the first trick of the round, you score 1 point. In addition, you become the Wild One (there’s a card included that identifies the Wild One). On the second trick you score 2 points, and on the third you score 3.
Here’s the cool bit: Only the Wild One can use wild cards.
In other words, the strategy of the game is not just to win the most tricks – but to choose a specific strategy which allows you to win. Do you toss out as many cards as possible on the first trick of the round in order to secure the Wild One? Or do you gamble a little bit and hope to pick up more points by winning the later tricks?
The most important question to be asked of games like this, however, is: Does the concept actually work in execution? The answer here is: Yes. Absolutely. Go Wild! is an excellent game, exploring a new and interesting variation upon the old trick-based card game concepts. In that sense, Go Wild! continues the strong tradition I found in Twitch and Pivot. Not only are these fun games, but they are extremely innovative.
The only serious problem I had with Go Wild! was the rule for who got to lead the first trick of the game: The youngest player. Okay, fine. Works all right the first time. But when you play two or three games in a row, it becomes a little frustrating for the same guy to always have that advantage.
I was most impressed by the fact that the game proved itself to actually by playable by two players. Most games listing 2-X players are “playable by two players” only in the sense that the rules work – the entire dynamic of playing is skewed by the presence of only two players. Because of the complex tactical consideration of Go Wild!, however, two players can easily challenge one another.
Of the games in this line, Twitch is undoubtedly the best (it’s guaranteed to consume hours and hours of your free time). That being said, Go Wild! will definitely be placed on my To Be Played shelf, and not my Been There, Done That shelf.
Author: Grezegorz Rejchtman
Company/Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Page Count: n/a
Originally Posted: 1999/10/23
For an explanation of where these reviews came from and why you can no longer find them at RPGNet, click here.