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Like I said in my Dark Castle review, choose-your-own-adventure games seem to be cropping up everywhere this year and I couldn’t be happier.
While Escape the Dark Castle focused on dark Gothic dungeoneering to evoke a feeling similar to the Dracula, Frankenstein, and a little bit of Lovecraft and Fighting Fantasy, Weirding Woods opts instead to evoke the Brother’s Grimm and its mystical fairy setting. Which is fantastic, fairies really don’t get enough love in fantasy.
Weirding Woods tasks players with exploring a generated world by choosing a direction and drawing a card for that new blank space. You then check the book to see what that card’s options and effects are and honestly, this works really well at creating an interesting environment and a sort of piece-meal fairy tale.
Usually hailing from the inn, you set off in whichever direction you wish with one of 6 quests (though the final version will have more). Along the way you will encounter goblins, bog mermaids, golems, stone circles, satan, and loads more. Each with multiple options that allow you to play your character in unique and different ways.
On my first run through I played a talkative red-cap (a sort of forest witch that can control animals) and joked my way through almost every encounter until I got mauled by the blood-wolf. I would have been able to run away if a certain Satan hadn’t given me iron boots that prevented me from fleeing combat! Yeah, that’s right, have the decency to look ashamed Beelzebub.
Weirding Woods does one really interesting thing beyond its card environment. Instead of utilising dice for randomisation, reward cards (items) have 1 – 4 printed on their corners and are thrown at the scenario card. Whichever corner lands closest is the number you rolled. And while this can be a little frustrating if you miss throw too many times in a row, it makes for a neat challenge to the monopoly of dice.
I played Weirding Woods solo and I found it to be an enjoyable, fun experience as I spread the cards around me and explored this fantastical world. I’m curious to see how it plays with 2 – 5 players though I haven’t had the chance and with the Kickstarter active until the 30th of June, I can’t hold off any longer.
The Kickstarter already has 25 minutes of music per card and full narration on offer as well so get in there quick!