parks wildlife board game expansion

PARKS – Wildlife Review

parks wildlife board game expansion

Name: PARKS – Wildlife

Year of Release: 2022

Player Count: 1 – 5 Players

Playing Time: 40 – 70 minutes

Designer: Henry Audubon & Mattox Shuler

Publisher: Keymaster Games

Primary Mechanisms: Set Collection, Track Movement, End Game Bonuses

Weight (According to 2.01


The world of PARKS has been expanded once again, with the advent of Wildlife.  This is the second expansion for PARKS, coming only a year after the release of Nightfall.  I typically place expansions into two categories where the first kind heavily leans on a brand-new mechanic that greatly alters the core gameplay.  The second category is the type of expansion that provides the player with more of the same things that made the core game great to begin with.  I would put Nightfall in the first category as it introduced the Campsites and the Campsite Tokens but what about Wildlife?

Wildlife falls firmly into the second category and gives players more canteens, more gear, and more Park cards.  It does introduce a new (minor) mechanic with the Wildlife Sightings that plays out really well, but it doesn’t change the game at the same level the Campsites did in Nightfall.  Grab your binoculars and let’s take a look at all that Wildlife has to offer (or visit here to watch our YouTube video on the subject.)

Wildlife Sightings 

parks wildlife wildlife sightings components

The biggest addition with Wildlife comes in the form of the Wildlife Sightings.  The expansion comes with a large animal meeple in the shape of a bison, though you might have also gotten a bear token if you pre-ordered the game.  At the beginning of the game, the bison is placed on the left-most Park card in the market row.  The first change to know is that when a Park card is being visited by the bison, that card can no longer be reserved until the bison moves.  If you haven’t played the original PARKS, reserving a Park card is when a player uses an action to remove the Park from the market, but they keep it sideways in their collection because they can’t pay to visit the Park yet.  This allows a player to save a card for later without the fear of another player scooping it out from under them.

Knowing how the reservation limit works now begs the question, how do we get the bison to move?  This is where the next element of the Wildlife Sighting comes into play.  Whenever a player visits the Park card that the bison is currently on, two things happen.  First, the player can choose to trade in any resource for an animal token (essentially a wild that can be used in the place of any resource) and the second is that they move the bison on Park card to the right before refilling the market.  The act of trading in a resource for an animal token is actually fairly powerful in this expansion as a lot of the new Park cards require you to pay X amount of animal tokens to visit the park.  Eventually, the bison is going to need to move to the right of the third Park card and when this happens, it makes a loop back around to the first Park card in the row.  This also triggers one additional action where the player who visited that park can choose to discard one gear card from the row and replace it with another from the deck.  There is also a variant printed in the rulebook stating that all three gear cards could be wiped and then refreshed if players are wanting to play a version that lets them see more gear cards. 

Though this is a small addition in the grand scheme of things, I do really enjoy how the Wildlife Sightings work.  Reserving Park cards becomes more of a decision choice because you know at some point, you might lose out on the ability to reserve it if the bison has moved there.  I also like that visiting the park with the bison on it gives the player an added perk and might help sway the player in their choice of Park cards.  Speaking of Park cards…

More Park Cards

parks wildlife expansion park cards

As with Nightfall, Wildlife gives players more Park cards to visit.  Obviously, the artwork is topnotch as it is across all the PARKS products, and I love the cards that are almost like a mural painted using the wildlife found in the specific park that is being represented.  All of the new Wildlife park cards either cost animal tokens to visit, or they reward the visitor with an animal token when they add it to their collection.  The consistent theme of animal tokens being more important in Wildlife is a great way to tie the whole expansion together.

More Gear Cards

In my review for the base PARKS game, my two biggest drawbacks were the anemic feel of both the Year-End Goal cards and the Gear card.  Thankfully, Nightfall corrected the Year-End Goal cards and likewise, Wildlife is injecting new blood into the Gear cards.  Many of the Gear cards now feature the immediate action icon (first added in Nightfall) that allows the buyer to take that specific action as soon as they buy the card with the normal action of the Gear card then being active for the rest of the game.  Again, this isn’t a huge change but to me, this game is much better when the players have the ability to trigger more actions that can potentially be combined together to make a nice chain.

More Weather Cards

The next deck of cards to get an upgrade is the Weather deck.  In the base game, four different weather cards will come out throughout the game, specifying a different rule for that individual round and also controlling the layout of sun and water tokens on the trail itself.  The new Weather cards aren’t all that different from the previous iteration but some of them do add some different rules that have not been used in the Weather deck previously.

More Canteen Cards

Rounding out the base game’s cards that have not been either added to or modified altogether is the deck of Canteen cards.  Canteens are cards that have one action printed on them and when a player receives a water resource token, they can decide right then to “fill” the canteen, thus gaining the action.  If they choose not to, they are never able to go back and use that water the fill the canteen but have to wait until they receive another water resource.  The idea of the canteens has always been neat to me, but the execution has been sort of lackluster in that some of the actions just aren’t all that helpful in the later stages of the game.  In Wildlife, they have added more Canteen cards that have some upgraded actions on them that work really well.  Just like the mechanism to get more Gear cards out to the players, now when you draw a Canteen card, you will always draw two and decide which one you want to keep.  This is a much better way to approach these cards as you will always, at least, have some sort of choice instead of just getting stuck with the random Canteen you draw.

More Trail Cards

parks wildlife expansion trail tiles

The last component you get more of is the actual Trail sections.  Honestly, I was surprised that there were none added during the Nightfall expansion.  Yes, the main driver of that expansion was the new Campsites, but I thought one or two new Trail tiles would be introduced.  In Wildlife, players receive four new Trail sections as well as new directions on how to set the Trail up.  During the first season, players will now always use the standard tiles as well as the Advanced Tile that has the Park/Gear action printed on it.  The players will then take all the other Advanced Tiles (including the four new Wildlife tiles), shuffle them up, and then select three to keep face-down next to the board.  These three will eventually get shuffled into the trail as the next three seasons progress.

The actions on the new tiles are fun and add somethings that we haven’t seen before.  I would rather not have the first season always made up of the same tiles now, but I think by choosing the Park/Gear tile, the designers are trying to give the players earlier chances to visit parks and buy new gear so I can’t argue with that.


If you are already a fan of the PARKS franchise, I think Wildlife is a no-brainer.  If you played the base game and thought it just didn’t do “enough” for your tastes, I would highly recommend you try again with Wildlife added (or Nightfall, or both!) and see if your mind is changed.  For such a light weight game, PARKS does a lot of things both beautifully and elegantly and is definitely one of my favorites in my library.


Ratings are based on 5 main criteria: rulebook, setup, components, art & graphic design, and gameplay.  The first 4 criteria are rated 1 to 5 and the gameplay is rated 1 to 10.  These scores culminate in an “overall satisfaction” score that is rated from 1 to 10.  If the reviewed game has both a solo and multiplayer mode, I have assigned scores separately to give context to which mode we enjoy more.  


Keymaster Games: PARKS – Wildlife Board Game

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Kristofer Solomon

Hey, everyone! I’m Kristofer Solomon and the creator of Board Game Breakdown. I’ve been playing board games since I was little, typically spending days on top of days playing Risk with kids from my neighborhood. As I moved into college, I started playing Magic: the Gathering with a group of guys and my love for board games slid to the wayside as I progressed into gulp adulthood (not to mention a long obsession with World of Warcraft.) Eventually, I fell back into the hobby in its current state when my wife (then girlfriend) bought me a copy of Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition for my birthday in 2008. This simple to grasp, but strategic train game blew me away. I didn’t realize at the time that board games could be much more than your average game of Sorry or Trouble. We eventually got Catan, Small World, and other well-known titles and the rest is history.

I’m hopeful that the content of this website and its associated YouTube and Instagram channels can be informative to those who are either on the fence about getting a game, or maybe just looking for something new. About 50% of my gaming time is spent solo gaming so I enjoy touching on that subject when I discuss games as this is an area that is typically not focused on.

Thanks to all who spent even a minute perusing this site, it means a lot to me. Happy gaming!

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