Game Review: Wonderland The Board Game

pic1286064It probably comes as a surprise, even for the disparate fans of Zenescope that there is a board game featuring one of the company’s properties.  It is the case however, as the company seemed interested in expanding its covering of different media beyond just comics to board games.  In essence there is probably no better series of characters to draw upon than those of the Grimm Fairy Tales Wonderland setting.  In terms of the quality of writing it has consistently been the best that Zenescope has to offer, featuring main characters that are being driven insane even if there is a good reason for this insanity (their connection to Wonderland.)  As the characters explore their own issues they keep coming up against the question of the chicken and the egg in terms of their own approach to life and how to deal with the realm of madness.

Although the series has been a standout for Grimm Fairy Tales and Zenescope it also begs the question about how to interpret this to a board game.  While some fans might be drawn to the game because of its association to the comics, it is really worth questioning as to whether that is a good idea.  The game draws on one of the mechanics of the series, that enemies have to be defeated in both on Earth and in Wonderland, and this is done through the Liddle House which was the source of so many troubles for the family.  The usual suspects are here, and it is a nice association with the comic universe, but the mechanics are overly basic.  As opposed to some popular games which use unconventional boards and strategies, this game is a relatively straightforward hunt and kill concept based on a grid movement system.  The only real twist in the game is that the board is reversed when moving to Wonderland.

It is unfortunate that Zenescope went ahead with this idea as it was.  It took a fairly popular series and reduced it to a game which could easily be designed and playtested in single day. It draws well from the comic material, but for fans who are unfamiliar with this material they might also wonder why certain characters are attacking each other and trying to kill one another when this is not the case in the original novel.  As it stands this is a pretty weak entry as a board game, and while it would be nice to see Zenescope try again, hopefully it wouldn’t turn out like this did.

Score:  3