It’s game night and one child is moves away from the big W, and needless to say, tears already begin to form in another one’s eyes. Fast forward a few minutes later, and things take a turn for the worse: tantrums, the crash of game pieces as they hit the floor, and the sound of doors as they slam shut echoes through the house.
All for one, and one for all is the mantra of Wonder Forge’s new Disney Junior The Lion Guard Protect the Pride Lands, game inspired by Disney Junior‘s The Lion Guard series. When the most fearsome foes start to close in on Kion, Fuli, Beshte, and Bunga, the four must work together to save the day. Unlike most most board games, in Protect the Pride Lands, kids don’t choose to play as a specific character on the board, but instead work with one another to help the members of the Lion Guard get Kion to the top of Pride Rock before the Outlanders close in on him. Winning has never been so sweet.
Before the fun starts, players must set up the board in order to set the scene for the Pride Lands. While Protect the Pride Lands is designed for kids ages 4 and up, young Lion Guard members-in-training may need a little help from Mom or Dad to assemble the board. The Pride Rock comes in three different pieces that have crevices and inserts so that they can be put together as one. Additionally, players must pop out the cardboard Outlander pieces of snakes, vultures, and hyenas, connect them to their plastic stands, and place one of each on their color Start space. Once this is done, then place Besthe, Fuli, and Bunga on their matching Start spaces, and put Kion on his start space behind Pride Rock.
Once the game board is set up, the youngest player draws the first card and Mission: Protect the Pride Lands officially commences. When players draw a regular playing card, it will instruct them to carry out two separate tasks based off of the pictures on the card. The first task will be to add whichever Outlander is on the card to their first free color-coded space. If a player places an Outlander on a space that has a Lion Guard on it, that hero gets sent back to its Start space.
The next task on the card will not be as direct. Instead, players are shown two different Lion Guard heroes with the designated moves to make, and must choose which hero they want to move along the paths and logs that connect on the board. If a hero moves onto a space with an Outlander, the player stops there and banishes the Outlander from the board.
Here’s where strategy skills come into play: Players must decide amongst each other which Lion Guard will be the most beneficial one to move. For example, if a player picks up a card with Kion and Fuli on it, while the point of the game is to get Kion to the top of Pride Rock before the foes close in, it may be a more strategic choice to move Fuli, who will land on a space where an Outlander is, and be able to send it off the board. Once players discuss, debate, and weigh out all possible outcomes, the player who chose the card must come to a conclusion and decide what move to make.
The second type of card that players can pick up is a Power Card. If a child picks up one of the five different types of Power Cards, the player uses the special power of whatever Lion Guard hero is on it. For example, Beshte’s Stomp has the power to remove all Outlanders that are one space away from Beshte along a path or log.
If Kion reaches the top of Pride Rock before any Outlander is placed on the multicolored space in front of Pride Rock, players must give their most ferocious roar. Together, they have saved the Pride Lands from the foes and won the game. But not all roads lead to victory—if any Outlander gets to the multicolored space before Kion reaches the top of Pride Rock, the Outlanders take the Pride Lands and the players lose the game. Failure is never final, however, and players can easily learn from their mistakes and prepare for future feats against the foes.
Disney Junior The Lion Guard Protect the Pride Lands will be available this spring and puts an epic twist on traditional board games. In a game where players will either all come out on top, or instead share the tough blow of a loss, it encourages teamwork in order to achieve the ultimate success.