Wild Assent is split into two distinct modes, each sharing little more than miniatures on the board. The Arena is a skirmish-style mode where 2 or 4 players battle for supremacy in the arenas of the Silvestrem, each fielding a gifted individual known as an Assent and their menagerie of deadly creatures. Players must slay the enemy Assent(s), while keeping theirs alive, overcoming the shifts in momentum of the battle and the Silvestrem owner’s constant interference. The Hunt is a solo / cooperative survival mode tasking 1-4 players with taking on the role of Seekers hunting creatures in the vast and dangerous Wilds. Players must maintain an encampment, a foothold at the doorstep of the Wilds, building and upgrading vital structures and staffing them with the best workers money can buy. The Seekers must choose carefully how to spend their resources as they race against time to capture and kill enough creatures to fund their expedition and simply survive.
In the Arena, players first agree how many creatures they want to bring to the battle. Creatures are categorized as either medium or large; a standard 2-player match would contain 2 large and 3 medium creatures for each side. Creatures are powerful allies with unique statistics and abilities and they are the first and last line of defense for a player’s Assent. Once creatures are chosen, each player selects one Assent, two out of five skills for that Assent, and two pieces of equipment. These early decisions will have a profound impact on the strategies the players will employ in the arena and helps ensure no match, even one with the same two Assents, will be the same.
Once the players have selected their Assent and creatures (their troupe), they are ready to place their miniatures on the board and roll momentum dice. Momentum dice are 6-sided dice that reflect the shifting morale and battle conditions during the match. All but one side of momentum dice contain a positive effect, but there may be cases where a particular side is undesirable or not useful (rolling 4 Heals when your troupe is at maximum Health will not be the momentum dice you were looking for). Players are allowed one reroll of any number of dice, but the new results must be used. Aside from Heal, momentum dice are assigned to individual creatures to boost their statistics for the next round. These are powerful flat bonuses to a creature’s Speed, Defense or Attack, and can be mean the difference between victory or defeat.
The final wrinkle players must contend with is the Silvestrem owner herself, the elf sorceress Vareclea. Vareclea’s goals are simple: make each match as entertaining as possible and satisfy her own sadistic desires and bloodlust. Vareclea’s influence over the match is reflected in the Silvestrem deck, which players will draw one card from at the beginning of each round. The Silvestrem deck contains three types of cards: Whims, Edicts and Demands. Whims are usually one-off effects that may be positive or negative. Edicts are quests that players are rewarded for completing or punished for failing. Demands are permanent changes to the arena that remain for the rest of the match. The Silvestrem deck ensures combat in the arena is never boring, but players looking for a straight fight may do so with the Vareclea’s Day Off alternate play mode.
In the Hunt, players field four Seekers, each with their own unique skills and upgrades. Play begins in the encampment where players will select two of four buildings to start with, with the fifth, the barracks, always available from the start. In addition to providing vital services and bonuses, purchasing and upgrading buildings unlocks new skills for the Seekers to be used on their hunt. Once the buildings are selected, players then draw three cards from the Worker deck and select one to employ in their encampment. Players then draw three scouting cards to see what locations in the Wilds are available to hunt in, select one and roll to see what creatures they have found (and will fight).
Dice rolls determine both where the Seekers and creatures are placed. Sometimes the Seekers get the jump on their prey, other times they may be separated and start the hunt at a great disadvantage. Creature actions are determined by a deck of A.I. cards; creatures have 5 cards to contribute and each card has slightly different actions depending on which tier of creature the Seekers are facing. There are three tiers of creatures, with higher tiers being more dangerous and providing increased rewards over the previous tier. Unlike the Arena mode, killing your opponent is not your primary goal. It’s true that Seekers gain valuable crafting materials from slain creatures, but if they kill everything they come across, they will fail. Capturing creatures is the reason the Seekers are in the Wilds in the first place, and is pivotal if players wish to finish their expedition.
Once the hunt is complete, the Seekers return to their encampment to lick their wounds and reap the rewards of their efforts. Seekers have a certain number of actions they can and/or need to take before they go on their next hunt, and management of these precious resources will drive much of the out-of-combat portion of the Hunt mode. Seekers may heal their wounds at the Temple, craft new items at the Workshop or scout new locations to hunt creatures. Seekers must also spend actions to sell their captured creatures at the Silvestrem markets. Not only does this net them large amounts of gold, it is critical they regularly sell creatures to keep from becoming prey themselves. If the Seekers manage to survive, they can retire in luxury, cheering on the gladiators they helped capture at the arenas of the Silvestrem.