Why Do all of these kids look the same?

Lydon and I got together to play Legend of the Wendigo from Iello Games. He was pretty dismissive I think at the start, questioning how much game there could be

We first saw this game at Meeplecon at the Iello Games demonstration area and I don’t really think the description did its justice as to how really cool it is.

The way the gameplay works is at the beginning, the Wendigo player has a stack of tiles that look like kids on one side, but have the wendigo picture on the other. The wendigo will secretly take ONE of these Wendigo tiles.

From the rulebook

For the rest of the game, the wendigo will be that kid. The scout players will close their eyes and the wendigo replaces the scout who looks like him with his tile. Now the game is ready to start!

The wendigo asks the players to memorize the board, then calls out that night has fallen and its time for the scouts to close their eyes (or turn their backs, whatever works for your group). In this regard, the wendigo is like the referee for a Werewolf/Mafia game, but in my opinion its better because the wendigo gets to “play” with everyone else.

While the scouts have their eyes closed, the Wendigo is choosing a victim. He discreetly replaces his victim with his Wendigo tile, then, calls out that the sun has risen. For example if your Wendigo tile is a chubby black haired kid, you might see a brunette girl with a beret you want to be the next victim. You pick up her tile, turn it face up in your area, and put your chubby Wendigo tile in its place.

At this point, the scouts need to try and figure out which kid wasn’t there before and/or which scout was there but is missing. This can be pretty hard, but the scouts have 5 picks to figure out which tile is the Wendigo.

They alternate until their 5 picks is up and the Wendigo wins, or the scouts win by figuring out which tile is the Wendigo.

Each time the Wendigo successfully gets through, is another opportunity for the scout players to realize that one of the kids has moved. This creates a delicious alternating round of complete power. When the scout players start getting close to figuring out which tile is the Wendigo, it starts getting pretty stressful! There aren’t dice, cards, nothing, just sheer mental energy on the part of the scouts to figure the Wendigo out. Likewise, because the Wendigo is acting in secret, the scouts can really feel helpless.

Five rounds was nearly enough to lose me the game (in the video), which makes me think the game is pretty dialed in. Eventually the scouts might get too good at the game and it might get too easy for them to win, but the rules has some modifications you can apply to adjust the difficulty one way or another.

All in all, I want to play this game many more times, which is pretty surprising for a game with so straight forward rules.