Review: Wonder Book (dV Giochi) – English

In Wonder Book, the new enchanting legacy game dV Giochi, players go on an adventure inside a magic tree in the ancient land of Oniria where ancient dragons still rule. Players will explore a giant pop-up tree that will draw many a crowd at the table. In a number of campaigns, they will face dangerous monsters and solve puzzles. Does the game stand like a tree or is this tall tree not wondrous at all?

Wonder Book was conceived by an Italian who lives in Groningen in the Netherlands. The nostalgia for magical Italy and bleak Groningen probably aroused feelings of wanderlust and Sehnsucht for magical places and inspired the magical retreat to Oniria and the 3D tree. At least, that is my own interpretation of the development of this game. The author devised a game where the game board was replaced with a 3D pop-up book like I knew from the old days. The author, who had never designed pop-up books before this, went to work on the design himself. Very wondrous. As such, the 3D tree is the eye-catcher of the game and rightfully the focal point.

Enough about the tree. In Wonderboek, players go on adventures in different campaigns. Each campaign consists of a story and a number of tasks that players must complete during a game. During a turn, a player performs a number of actions including walking, fighting, exploring and more. After players take their turn, the monsters follow, which will move towards the players and deliver some raunchy blows. If a player is knocked out by a meaner, players lose their hourglasses. When the hourglasses run out, it’s too late….

In movies, video games, and books, the viewer, player, or reader can get completely lost in the story and adventure. The same is true of board games, of course, but it is sometimes difficult to convey the wonder of discovery of the fantasy world. On the table is some cardboard, maybe with a little luck there are some playing figures or gray plastic dolls and a colorful flat board where the adventure takes place. This leaves the world still somewhat one-dimensional in a literal sense. Wonderbook already gets huge plus points from me for the enchanting wonder that the game evokes in me. I really get the feeling that I am exploring the world of Oniria. This is due in part to the 3D tree, but also to exploring secrets in that same tree and the stack of cards from each campaign.

The game contains enough secrets and surprises that keep the story and gameplay engaging. Sometimes Wonder Book wil literally turn the gameplay upside down and the other way around. In addition, I find the so-called keywords to be a unique gameplay mechanism. While playing the different stories, players gain or lose these keywords based on their play style. These keywords can have an impact on the course of the game or even the story. Greedy players may discover more riches, but whether that always ends well….

Performing actions and fighting is very simple, but this makes it easy to play with younger players. The discovery and surprise makes the simple game mechanics a fun challenge even for experienced players. The secrets and surprises will make you long for more. A very colorful and magical recommendation as far as I’m concerned! Lose yourself in the wonderful!