Wildlands: The Ancients is coming on 18 February 2021 - preorder your copy today to take your games of Wildlands to the next level!

Today on the blog we're looking at Wildlands: The Ancients, the upcoming big-box expansion for Martin Wallace's Wildlands that brings 4 expansions to the game:

In The Awoken, one or two players play co-operatively, facing off against the mighty Ancients.

In The Wrath of the Ancients, one player can use the Ancients as an extra faction in normal games of Wildlands.

In War for the Crystals, four to six players face off in team-vs-team games of Wildlands.

In Foreign Lands, two new maps are introduced for players to use in any game of Wildlands.

I'm going to be venturing into the Wildlands alone, leading the Lawbringers in a battle against The Phantasm and their minions. When playing the game solo, you start by drawing the scenario sheet that corresponds with the Ancient you are facing. This will tell you what Minions you need, which Object Counters to gather, and also provide any special rules for your opponent. You'll then use the map cards to randomize the starting positions, starting with the Object Counters (the valuable Ancient Crystals, Treasure Chests, and deadly Traps), then your characters, then the starting minions.

My objective is to collect five Ancient Crystals or knock out The Phantasm, who will be summoned later in the game. Below you can see the board set up ready to begin.

Turn 1 – The Adventure begins

The Lawbringers

As the first turn began, I was eager to start scouting out some of these object counters. Five of them would have the crucial Ancient Crystals on them, and I was eager to track them down as soon as possible. Of course, 6 have Traps, but I decided not to tell the team about that – it would be a nice surprise for them to stumble upon.

I started by moving Matilda. Straight away she found treasure – a Vamperic Blade that means whenever she knocks out a minion she’ll get to remove one damage from her character card. Given that Matilda is my heavy hitter, and has a hefty 5 health, this seemed pretty good to me!

I chanced it, moving her again, but the next object she came across was blank. Not too bad overall though!

I then headed over to Afan to see how he would fare. Stepping onto space number 9 he uncovered the first Ancient Crystal! He’d still need to pay three matching cards to pick it up, but knowing where one of them is this early on will really help going forwards.

I’d spent three cards, and didn’t want to leave myself short in the next round, so ended my turn there. Also, whoever shuffled these cards needs a stern talking to.

The Phantasm and its Minions

Now it was time for my adversaries to make their move. In the solo and coop mode, you draw a card for the Ancient and a card for the Minions to determine what they do. The Phantasm hasn’t been summoned yet, but there is a Shade and an Abberation on the board eager to spoil my day.

The card would start by having all Shades make two melee attacks against whoever is in the space with them. Fortunately for me, the Shade is all alone, so I get away scott free!

The Abberation, however, dashes towards Afan. It doesn’t get close enough to unleash the Smash attack, but it is now a little closer than I would like.

The final action on the card is the Scenario effect – on this card a Shade is summoned, appearing on a spot decided by drawing from the remaining map cards. This one appears on space number 4, nice and close to Moira.

Poor Moira…

Turn 2

The Lawbringers

I start turn 2 by moving James onto the space next to him, which holds another object token – more treasure! Seems James has stumbled upon a Jetpack, which I’m sure will come in handy!

I then decide to keep Afan moving, running him towards the next object counter. He isn’t so lucky, and almost stumbles into a Pit Trap! When this Trap is revealed, you draw the top two cards of the deck, hoping to have one that matches his symbol or a wild movement card. Luckily for Afan, he gets by unscathed.

Looking around the table I see Moira alone in the corner, and nobody puts Moira in the corner. She dashes towards the group, uncovering an Ancient Crystal (yay) and an explosive trap (boo) on the way. To avoid taking damage from the trap, I spend a Shield card – if there had been other characters on the same or adjacent space they would have had to as well!

The Phantasm and its Minions

I draw the Minion card, and the Shades are on the move. One starts shambling towards Matilda, the other joins Moira and attacks. One damage, and I can’t block it.

The Abberation also continues to move in, but again fails to find anyone to wallop.

The scenario effect is one I’ve been keen to avoid – Advance Tracker, bringing us closer to the Phantasm being summoned. I know there are only two in the Minion Deck (6 cards total), with the rest focused on summoning more Minions and activating Ancient cards.

Turn 3

The Lawbringers

Sheriff Joanie decides now is the time to leap into action. Using the Rally ability, she moves herself and Matilda twice, uncovering another Ancient Crystal and some treasure – the Grail! Clearly she noticed something sparkling in the next space along, because she takes another step and uncovers a second piece of treasure – the Lightning Rod, which means she deals damage 2 damage to a Minion or Ancient in Line of Sight when she picks up an Ancient Crystal. Not too shabby!

Back with Moira, she’s angry about being struck by the Shade, so moves back towards her corner. I’m planning to use her to distract the Minions while the rest of the group tries to track down the remaining Ancient Crystals.

The Phantasm and its Minions

The plan of using Moira as a distraction almost comes to an abrupt end, with the nearby Shade moving next to her and striking her twice. Fortunately I can block one, leaving Moira on just one health.

The Aberration continues to mosey around looking for someone to wallop.

And the tracker advances again, bringing us one step away from the appearance of the Phantasm…

Turn 4

The Lawbringers

Back to the Lawbringers, and back to Moira. While I had previously said nobody puts Moira in the corner, that is where she’s headed to escape from the Shades (and investigate the nearby object markers. Two movement actions get her to the corner, where, like Afan, she narrowly avoids falling into a Spike Pit. Another step takes her to space number 5, where she uncovers the fourth Ancient Crystal.

There are now 6 object markers left on the board. 1 of them is an Ancient Crystal, two are Blank, two are Spike Pits, and one is an Explosive Trap. I just need to hope I find the right one!

The Phantasm and its Minions

I draw the Minion card, and am delighted to see that the Shades are left frozen, eating Moira’s dust rather than her brains. The Aberration, however, dashes for her and launches a Smash attack. Two damage, Moira is finished…

Or at least she would be if she didn’t happen to have the card she needs to block it.

Turn 5

The Lawbringers

At the start of Turn 5 I have 5 cards in my hand, and I’m a little worried things are going to start to get a bit hairy. I move Moira away from the Aberration in an attempt to keep her alive for as long as possible, then end my turn, drawing 3 cards.

The Phantasm and its Minions

The gamble pays off – the Shades on the board march mindless towards Moira but can’t reach her, and the Aberration flails wildly one space away. Moira is unscathed, but another Shade is summoned to the board. That one can be future-me’s problem.

Turn 6

The Lawbringers

Turn 6 begins, and Moira continues to move away from the approaching horde and back towards the group, leading them back… towards… me…

Hmmm, perhaps not the best idea, but we’ll have to wait and see!

Elsewhere, the powerhouse that is Matilda moves towards a nearby object token to see if it’s the fifth Ancient Crystal. Unfortunately, it isn’t – she finds an explosive trap instead, taking one damage.

As a final action for the turn, I move Afan into a space the neighbours 3 object tokens. So much choice – so many possibilities. Doubtless he will find the two remaining traps in short order…

The Phantasm and its Minions

The Minions are on the move, all shambling one space and failing to hit anything (not that I’m complaining!).

We also have another Abberation join us on the board in quite an annoying position – that one will need to be dealt with!

Turn 7

The Lawbringers

Afan you wonderful Satyr, you! He chooses one of the three options and uncovers the final Ancient Crystal. Now, it’s just a matter or picking them all up to defeat the Phantasm and his minions.

I start straight away, with Moira picking up the first Crystal shard for the team. Hopefully she survives to see this adventure through to the end…

The Phantasm and its Minions

The minions really seem to have it out for Moira, with the Shades charging towards here once again. One reaches her space and launches a single melee attack, but fortunately I have the card I need to block this fatal blow.

As the Scenario Action for the turn, another Shade appears right next to Jetpack James…

Turn 8

The Lawbringers

In a move that was simultaneously incredibly cool and incredibly stupid, James puts his Jetpack to use, soaring from his space at the bottom of the board to join Moira. The moment he lands he throws an area attack into the space with the Shade and the Aberration. For each damage dealt I draw a card from the Minion deck, and am delighted to see that not only do they fail to block either point of damage, but also that one of the “Advance Tracker” actions is lost.

As if that wasn’t cool/stupid enough, James then uses the Rally ability to help Moira escape, leaving himself in the space with the Shade. His bravery moved me to tears.

The Phantasm and its Minions

The tears continued into the Ancients turn, as I saw that not only was James going to receive multiple wallops and probably die, but also I’d be advancing the tracker and summoning the Phantasm at the end of the turn.

I had absolutely nothing in my hand to defend against the attacks, but I did have an interrupt card. In the solo game, the way this works is that it can be played after the Minion / Ancient card has been drawn but before the actions are taken. This lets me move James out of his current space and out of the clutches of the hard-hitting Aberration. He still takes two damage though, with Joanie taking one herself on the side of the board.

 

And then, to end the turn, the Phantasm appears and an Ancient card is resolved. There are plenty of Shades on the board, so I don’t have anything to worry about there, but then all Minions move 1 space. Suddenly things are looking pretty hairy for everyone (well, except Afan…)

The Phantaaaaaasm of the Wildlands is here!

Turn 9

The Lawbringers

I start turn 9 with 4 cards in my hand, and for some reason decide that strength in numbers is the way to go. I play a card to move Matilda, then a rally card on Joanie to move them both towards the mass brawl by the well. I’m tempted to end my turn there, but know the Aberration hits hard so launch a 2 damage ranged attack from Moira in the hope of finishing it off.

And what a result – not only do I kill the Aberration, but I also avoid a card that would have meant some serious damage! However, it does leave my hand depleted for the upcoming turn.

The Phantasm and its Minions

Well, they had a good run, but nothing lasts forever. An onslaught from the shades means that Moira, James, and Joanie all fall. Fortunately for Joanie, the Grail means she returns from the dead, but Moira and James aren’t so lucky.

The turn finishes with an Abberation joining Afan near the bottom of the board. Great.

Turn 10

The Lawbringers

It’s panic stations now. Rather than keep a level head, I run away with Joanie, dashing through the tunnels to escape the hordes and leaving Matilda to face them alone. Perhaps she saw what happened to James and decided it wasn’t for her.

The Phantasm and its Minions

I draw the card, and it becomes painfully apparent how bleak my situation is. Joanie’s decision to run means that Matilda is done for, and the rest of the minions are closing in on Afan and Joanie. The dungeons then fill with poisonous fumes, but fortunately that would only affect characters that have taken damage (as part of my high-level strategy, I had let all of my injured characters die)

Turn 11

The Lawbringers

It’s now a race against time. Afan grabs the crystal from his space, and Joanie continues to flee through the tunnels.

The Phantasm and its Minions

Fortunately, the Shades don’t move this turn, but the Aberrations do. They can’t reach Joanie, but Afan does get attacked. A timely block negates the damage, but costs me a valuable card.

And then, the Ancient card. The Phantasm charges towards one of my characters – both are equidistant from it, so it goes for Afan as he is on the lower numbered space.

Turn 12

The Lawbringers

Just one action this turn – I know that if I stand any chance of winning I need Afan to get to space 30 and grab that crystal. It’s a tall order (especially as I also need Joanie, currently pursued by 2 Shades and an Abberation) to survive, but it’s the only chance I’ve got.

The Phantasm and its Minions

The Shades charge, with 2 landing hits on Joanie, she blocks 1, and takes the other. 3 health left – looking grim! Fortunately they can’t reach Afan, and the Aberrations remain motionless.

The turn ends with a Shade popping up next to Afan. Oh dear…

Turn 13

The Lawbringers

I have 6 cards in hand, exactly what I need to run Afan to the nearby Crystal and pick it up. However, that might mean the end of Joanie (part 2 of my 2 part plan for victory).

Instead, I spend 4 cards, moving Afan into position to hopefully pick up the crystal on a subsequent turn, and moving Joanie slightly further away from the Shades.

The Phantasm and its Minions

It seems my decision was wise – rather than receiving a fatal 4 damage Joanie instead only takes 2 from a particularly excitable Aberration. Afan, yet again, gets out without a scratch, but another Shade has appeared who seems determined to change that!

Turn 14

The Lawbringers

Joanie dashes for the nearby Ancient Crystal, but will now be the target of 3 Shades and an Abberation. Afan holds his ground, waiting for the command to grab the Crystal by his feet.

The Phantasm and its Minions

This turn could potentially be quite bad for yours truly, however thanks to my cards in hand it won’t be fatal. Joanie blocks the incoming attack to avoid the fatal point of damage, and Afan takes his first damage of the game (2 points, to be precise)

The tracker then advances, and I’m thrilled to see what this means – remove all damage from characters carrying Ancient Crystals. She was saved once by the Grail, now she is saved again by the power of the Crystal Shards!

Turn 15

The Lawbringers

I have 2 wildcards in my hand, and I use them both to draw a total of 4 cards, bringing my hand back up to 7. With so many of my team knocked out, picking up the Ancient Crystals is a little easier, as I can use three matching symbols from a knocked out character to pick one up.

I don’t need this for Afan, who picks up the crystal at his feet using his own cards, but for Joanie I use the symbols from James, with the added benefit of doing 2 damage to a nearby Ancient or Minion thanks to the Lightning Rod item I have. I opt to damage the Abberation, then move Joanie towards the fifth and final crystal.

The Phantasm and its Minions

After the triumph of picking up the Crystal, Afan is slain by a horde of Shades, while Joanie takes 2 damage herself. An Abberation is summoned in the far corner of the map – I don’t think I really need to worry about them.

Turn 16

The Lawbringers

I start turn 16 with 3 cards in my hand, but one of them is Wild. I use it to draw 2 more cards, and draw 2 more wildcards. This stroke of luck is just what I need!

Joanie dashes for the final Ancient Crystal and grabs it, ending the game and securing victory for the Lawbringers (who, seeing as it is just Joanie, can now be called the Lawbringer I guess?)

The game could have gone very differently - I managed to hold off the appearance of the Phantasm by dealing damage to the minions, forcing them to burn cards in defence that would have otherwise brought the Ancient to the table sooner, and finding the Jetpack and the Grail items proved invaluable. But it is a victory - the Phantasm has been defeated. The question is, who will we be facing next?

Preorder your copy of Wildlands: The Ancients today to add a host of new features to your game!

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