Dirk Liekens


No. of Players:
3 - 4



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

ARGENTUM, a relatively new publisher from Cologne, has published some very promising games in the last two years. This year they have come to the SPIEL convention at Essen with a tactical new game called Wind River. While the special highlights of the older games were mainly the clever game concepts and the strategic orientated rules, Wind River also goes strong with a very nice design. The game looks somewhat more professional than some of the older titles. If ARGENTUM can go on like this, I am quite sure that the publisher will get even more attention and maybe they will publish a high ranking finalist some day...

In Wind River the time is set back to America before the arriving of the first European settlers. This was the time when the Indians followed the buffaloes across the great open plains. Each player is the chief of one tribe and tries to supply his fellowmen with enough buffalo meat during the game. To do so, he has to move the tipis of his tribe consistent with the buffaloes, until he leads his tribe to the eastern edge of the board, the safe end into the great open plains. However, this might sound easier than it is in (game-)reality, because all players can move the buffaloes and so the buffaloes normally don't move the way the player would wish.


Depending on the number of players the whole board or just a part of it is used. This works fine and is quite clever, because otherwise the game would lack interaction with only three participating players. The board is divided into hexagonal spaces, and the buffaloes are placed on the western spaces at the beginning of the game. Then every player places his first two tipis on these spaces, too. Additionally he gets one resource to support his tipis.

A turn always begins with the movement of the buffalos, and a player must move as many buffaloes as he has tipis on the gameboard. Each buffalo is moved no more than one step further eastwards and it is not allowed to move backwards. At this phase it is one the one hand quite essential to move the buffaloes to spaces where the player has his own tipis and on the other hand it is advisable to move them away from the tipis of the opponents. To find the right choice is quite tricky and requires a deeper understanding of the game.

The reason why it is so important to find the right choice can be understood when you know the next phase. This is the supply phase. Each tipi of the active player must be supplied. This is the case if there are at least as many buffaloes on the space as there are tipis, independent of the owners of the tipis. As the tipis of the other players are supplied first, it happens now and then that tipi of the active player remains unsupported. Then the player has to pay one resource from his stockpile for this tipi. If he do not possess the required resource(s), he has to remove the unsupported tipi(s) from the gameboard.

After all supplies have been provided, the player has the choice of on of the four different extra activities:

  1. Moving a tipi. The player may move one of his tipis to an adjacent space. If there are already other tipis in this space, each player (the player who has moved included) has to pay one resource. This is a fine method to weaken your opponents, because resources are quite essential in the supply phase. But this only works as long as you still have more resources than your opponents. Otherwise it weakens your own position, too.
  2. Moving an extra buffalo.
  3. Earning resources. This is a very important extra move. All buffaloes in the spaces where only the active player has tipis are counted. From this sum the sum of the tipis is subtracted and this gives the sum of resources the player earns. The total of resources a player may hold in his reserve is ten.
  4. Placing a new tipi on the gameboard. As all seven tipis of a player must leave the board on the right side in order to end the game, it is necessary to insert them on the gameboard first. This costs three of the resources of the player. The new tipi is placed in any space where the player and only he has at least one more tipi. With every new tipi on the gameboard, the herd of buffaloes moves faster in the first phase of a turn. This is another subtle mechanism a player has to understand before he has a chance to win the game. If you have too many tipis on the gameboard, it is difficult to supply them, because the buffaloes move faster than the tipis. On the other hand you should not wait until your opponents move the buffaloes away - then your tipis are unsupported, too.

The game ends when no tipis are on the gameboard any more. So, the tipis either left the board on the Eastern side or they were removed because they could no longer be supported. Then the player with the most tipis that left the gameboard into the open plains on the Eastern end of the gameboard wins the game.


With the game Wind River the publisher ARGENTUM once again has moved closer towards the big publishers. A nice design with a notedly imaginative background story, a clever game concept and well balanced rules that work fine both for three and for four players. The game is very tactical, but the rules are quite simple, so that it can still be played with families. The interaction between the players is high and luck has nearly no influence. But there is a light risk that two (or three) people ally themselves and then it is very hard to win the game for the other player. In a normal game however these alliances soon will break again, when the next player gets in the lead. English and French rules are included, so there is no excuse why you should not try out the game.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2008 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany