Game Preview: Guardians of Wayword

Sometimes you just want get together a group of adventures, a few magical items, some wicked powerful spells and go beat up on some big bad evil monster and their henchmen. In the boardgaming world, there are lots of different ways to this-miniatures, dungeon crawls, deckbuilders, dice chuckers and a slew of other options. But what if you could take the best parts of some of these games and smash them together? What if you could find a way to combine the style of combat deckbuilders with the fun of dice rolling and bagbuilding? That is the game I have a first look at for you today, coming to Kickstarter is Guardians of Wayward.



1 Gameboard

5 Guild tokens

50 Heart Tokens

5 Dice Bags

4 Squire Cards

40 Squire Dice

24 Loadout Cards

120 Loadout Dice

10 Guild Pool Cards

25 Guild Pool Dice

4 Big Bad Character Cards

5 Big Bad Appearance Cards

48 Threat Cards (6 Threat Groups)

48 Minion Cards

40 Villager Cards

Designed by Chris Peach and Ben Pohl with art be Elle Hansen Guardians of Wayword is published by Kid Loves Tiger Games. It is designed for 1-5 players with a 60 min playing time. 

Guardians of Wayward begins with each player taking control of their own individual Guild. You set up the Event by taking a Big Bad character and Appearance card and then building up a Threat deck from the assorted cards. Each 

player then drafts their Loadout to their own personal board of heroes, items and spells. This will be the board you draft and buy from for the game. Turns will consist of you and your fellow heroes taking on the Threats as they come out of the deck while recruiting from your Loadout or the board to strengthen your pool of dice. Play can be cooperative where we share the victory as Guardians or semi-cooperative where we are trying to beat the Big Bad and if we defend the Wayward and win the player with the most Glory will be the top Guild and the ultimate champion of the Wayword. 



 To begin, each player will be taking a Guild, Dice bag and 10 basic Squire dice and then drafting out their Loadout. The Loadout is where you will buy and recruit your own heroes, spells, magical item in the form of dice to add to your Guild. There is a recommended 1st game setup, but one of the cool aspects to this game is that you can draft and randomize them for future games, really changing up the gameplay and makeup of your team and how they flow.

 Next you will construct the Threat deck. Again, there is a basic setup for the 1st game, but basically this deck will be made up of Minions, Threats and Villagers with a few cards representing the appearance of the Big Bad and the Event cards. The amount of each will change based on the number of players in the game.

You shuffle the cards of the Threat deck and then place it next to the Deepwood location as the start position. The Villagers are shuffled into their own separate deck as well and placed in the same location. The Wayward, which represents the heart of the Village and what we are ultimately trying to prortect will start with hearts from 7 to 14 based on the number of players. The Big Bad gets 5 hearts with five Glory each on them to represent the number of hits it takes to completely take him down.  

The Guild dice pool is filled with one card randomly of each Guild of the active players with 5 dice active dice. These are available to all players during the game to purchase. Once the board is completely set up, the Big Bad and the Event cards are placed on the board and it is time to get started defending the Wayward!




Gameplay steps(note) Before the first player takes their turn, everyone draws and rolls 5 dice out of their bag into their dice pool.  The first player begins, and turns continue clockwise in this pattern: 

1-Play the top card of the Threat Deck

2a-Spend dice in your pool on new Champions, Items and Spells in your Loudout or the Guild Dice

2b-Fight any Threats that are on the board

3-Move all used and unused dice into the Discard

4-Draw and roll five dice into your pool


1-Playing a Threat card from the Deck

If the card is a Threat or Minion, it is placed into the Deepwood, the furthest left spot on the board away from the Wayward. If a spot is full and cannot hold any more cards, they bump the current occupant down one step more to the right. Once a card hits the end of the board, they Siege the Wayward and take away hearts from the Wayward equal to their Glory value. These cards may also have Appearance keywords that trigger when they enter the appropriate location. Another card that may come out is a Villager. Once a Villager is played, it enters into the space below the locations, starting with the one on the furthermost right side. These Villagers are deep in the Wayward, and as things go bad they may reach out a little bit more towards the Deepwoods.

In the card is an Event, you will need to reference the Event card for details as to what will take place in the game to the City or the players. Each one is unique in what they bring to the game, so watch out for changes that can occur! If a Big Bad Appears card is played, it triggers the effect of the Big Bad into the game. Some enter into a location and some cause trouble from the sidelines-each brings a unique circumstance to your combat. 



2-Spending dice from your pool

Spending your dice as resources will give you more to add to your Guild in the form of Champions, Items and Spells. You can use the resources to recruit onto your personal team. Dice produce resources Attack, Defense, Special and Magic. When you recruit a die to your Guild, you pay the cost with at least one of the specific type of Resource listed next to the cost of the die. Multiple recruits may be done on the same time. Any spent dice are placed in your Used Pile and newly added dice are placed in the Discard Pile. 

Dice can also be used to attack Threats already on the board. To fight a Threat you resolve any Fight effects and put the defeated Threat in your Victory Pile. Resolve any Defeated effects at that time as well. If you remove the final Threat in a location and there is a Villager in or beneath that Location, rescue that Villager. The Big Bad may also be attacked, and if you have enough to defeat his toughness on a turn you take one of his Hearts. Once all his Hearts have been removed, the Players win!



3-Move Dice to Used and Roll New Dice

All Used dice and unused dice move to your Discard Area. Draw 5 new dice and roll them into your Dice Pool to end your turn.



Kid Loves Tiger Games has produced a game that has familiarity without being completely repetitive in different game styles. The best parts of bag building mixed together with dice rolling and then smashed  into cooperative combat mechanisms is what this game puts in front of you. Guardians of Wayword is going to catch the attention of boardgamers looking for a fun cooperative design that will entertain and bring variety to the table. Comparisons are going to be made to a few different games based on appearance, but this game is not a direct port of any of them. Yes, the style looks and seems to be similar to Dice Masters-but like other games that share similar things like tiles, dice, cards, etc-the comparisons really stop there. Instead you get to see different styles  you know interweave and work and play better than one might have expected them to.


My copy for preview is a prototype, so as such there are parts that are still in development. But even with that in mind, I would take this and play it as is today-the style is solid and the mechanics move well. I would love to see more series expansions for this game come out as time follows because I think it has room to continue to grow.

I love cooperative play games and this game has found a way to give us a cooperative mechanic of “us against the Big Bad” where we recruit and get stronger but with the addition of dice into the pool building mechanic. I expect to see this game do well on Kickstarter, as it speaks to an audience who loves these mechanics and wants to add dice to the mix. I found this game to be enjoyable playing it solo, with 2 players and with 4 players as the different styles I was able to try it. I think the creators have found a solid style that will resonate with a lot of boardgamers who love to see unique games come into play. Make sure you give this one a solid look and consider backing it on Kickstarter-I don’t think you will be disappointed!


(Promotional consideration has been provided in the form of a review copy)

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