Our step-by-step guide to the rules of how to play Wayfinders Board Game. This is a gorgeous set collection game that is light enough to be very accessible but deep enough to scratch to the deepest of strategic itches. Wayfinders combines route planning with interesting touches of set building options and engine building opportunities. You place tiles and workers but it is not a tile or worker placement game. It has little touches of many things but it all blends together for one lovely and unique experience. The game is for 2 – 4 players at ages 10+. The rules for how to play Wayfinders have a few tricks you need to pick up but generally are pretty straightforward.
HOW TO PLAY WAYFINDERS – WHAT IS IT?
Engines purring, goggles down – the seaplane is set for take-off! Welcome to the whimsical world of Wayfinders, where intrepid explorers race to chart new paths through the skies.
You will need to think on your feet and outfit your planes with the right gear to arrive safely. But building hangers on islands and stocking them with parts can help you zip around with eaze! Be sure to be keen in your planning and you will unlock the charms of the islands.
Here you must collect resources and fly to different islands to build Airstrips. At the end of the game, you will score all islands where you built Airstrips, some of which provide unique scoring effects. The player with the most points wins.
HOW TO PLAY WAYFINDERS – STEP BY STEP
Time Needed: Approximately 25 – 45 minutes.
This is a step by step guide for how to play Wayfinders the exciting path-setting set collection board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.
1. SETUP | Give Out Player Pieces
The first step for how to play Wayfinders setup is to give out the player pieces. Each player chooses a color and takes the corresponding 1x airplane, 5x workers and 10x airstrip cubes.
2. SETUP | Setup Playboard
The tile pieces exist so the main board changes every time you play. These tiles do not change during gameplay but do need to be set up at the beginning. There is a starting square, with a green-blue back, that should be placed in the center of the player area. Then you need to build a 5×5 grid with a mix of the other titles and that one in the center. The remaining tiles have red, yellow or blue backs. Shuffle these and put them in stacks of their respective colors. Then you take 9 red, 8 blue and 7 yellow, shuffle them all up, and flip them up to form the grid. One at a time, lay out the top five from left to right, then do the same thing for the next four rows down, making sure the starting tile is in the very center. There should be 25 total tiles laid.
3. SETUP | Setup Resources
There are 12 circle tokens for 5 different resources (parachutes, headphones, propellers, tires and gas cans). These are going to go in the various hanger spots and be acquired and spent by players throughout the game. To start, put all 60 of these tokens in the included cloth bag and give them a good shake. This is for secrecy and randomness.
4. SETUP | Give Out Initial Resource To Players
After the resource bag has been properly mixed up, reach in and give each player one random resource to start.
5. SETUP | Setup Hanger Board & Initial Resources
The hanger is the rectangle board with eight columns. Place this near the tile board in an accessible area. This is where workers are placed to gather resources that are also put out here. Fill the circles with resources from the bag based on the number of players. Four players use all the columns, while three players only use six and two players only four. Put a resource from the bag in every circle on the columns you are using.
6. SETUP | Determine Starting Player
The final step of how to play Wayfinders setup before getting into gameplay is to determine turn order. The book says the last person who traveled by plane goes first but go ahead and use your randomizer of choice. In turn order (starting player and then moving clockwise around the circle) players need to put their plane figure on the starting tile, as well as, a hanger figure on the corresponding number in order of placement (first person goes on the “1” spot and so on).
7. GAMEPLAY | Action Option 1 – Place Worker
Put one of your unplaced workers in any of the available hangar column spaces. Any player may have up to 3 workers in any single row. If you have hit your max you cannot place there. If all 5 of your workers have already been placed, you cannot take this action and must instead return workers. After you place, that is it, your turn is over.
8. GAMEPLAY | Action Option 2 – Return Workers | Collect Resources
Choose any one hangar column and take ALL of your workers located there back. For every worker present, you take one resource from that hangar column. You must take in order from top to bottom. You can choose to take zero workers back and collect zero resources here if you chose to.
9. GAMEPLAY | Action Option 2 – Return Workers | Move
After you have collected resources, you have the opportunity to move and build. For movement, your plane can go one space at a time to any adjacent space from where it is currently located orthogonally (no diagonals). You can move as many spaces as you want, but each move may take resources and you are limited to what you have. Moving into a space that has NO airstrips already built on it means you need to pay one resource that matches that island’s color. If there is already an airstrip on a tile, you can move through it for free. When spending resources you can use 2 of any one color as 1 of another color.
10. GAMEPLAY | Action Option 2 – Return Workers | Build
You do not have to build as you go, it can happen before, during or after your move, and be on any space you passed through this turn. You can buy as many as you have resources for. To buy, you need to pay the cost shown along the bottom of the tile (every icon shown is what you need to turn in). When you do this you put your hanger on the topmost spot (if you were first it goes on the “1”, second goes on the “2” and so on). If you are the first, you pay the resources to the bag. If another player has already built there, the resources instead go to them. A player can only have 1 airstrip per island tile.
11. GAMEPLAY | Action Option 2 – Return Workers | Discard Resources
When your move and build are done you need to settle up on resources. If you have more than 3, return pieces back to the bag of your choice until you are down to that number.
12. GAMEPLAY | Action Option 2 – Return Workers | Refill Hanger Board
Any spots where resources were taken from the hangar board need to be refilled. Move any remaining resources up until all the empty spots are at the bottom of the given column. Fill in the empty spots with random resources from the bag.
13. GAMEPLAY | Pass & Repeat
After a player has completed one of the two action options their turn ends. The next player, moving clockwise around the circle, takes their turn. They also choose one of the two action options and conducts all the steps. This repeats until the game ends.
14. GAME END | Any Player Has Two Hanger Pieces Left
Whenever a player has two or fewer hanger pieces left, the end of the game is triggered. All players need to play the same number of turns, so any other players that still need to go for the round get to take their turns. You can get a reminder of player order by looking at the hanger pieces on the home island. If you were first, for example, and the second player triggers the end of the game, you will not get to go again.
15. SCORING | Island Point Totals (Red & Yellow Backed Tiles)
For any tile you have built a hangar on, you are going to get the points shown in the top left corner. Every tile has a symbol of some kind next to this point total. For the tiles with the red and yellow backs, these are not score related so just take the points and be done.
16. SCORING | Special Scoring Effects (Blue Backed Tiles)
Similar to the above, for the blue-backed tiles you also get the points shown in the top left corner of the tile if you have built a hangar on that space. With these, the symbol next to the point total is one of many different multipliers. A solid color means you get that many points for every island you built on with that color (indicated in the bottom right of tile). A mountain symbol with a number means for the number of islands that cost at least that much. The multicolored mountain means for every different color type you have. The half black half white island means you get the shown points for every island you have that also has another player built there. There are several all shown in the reference materials
17. SCORING | Remaining Resources & Workers
Players also receive 1 extra point for every resource they have leftover, as well as, workers remaining on the hangar board.
18. WINNING | High Score Wins
Add up all the different totals and whoever has the most points at the end wins.
HOW TO PLAY WAYFINDERS – KEY INFORMATION
Advanced: More experienced players may want to switch things up by varying the numbers of each category of islands in the game. You can add more blue or yellow islands, choose islands completely at random, or create fixed layouts with islands you want to use.
Exploration: When setting up the game, place all island tiles around the Home Island face-down. Then reveal only the four tiles that are orthogonally adjacent to the home island. When you move your airplane to a new island flip all orthogonally adjacent tiles face-up. Once an island is face-up, you may move to that island and build an Airstrip there normally.
ISLAND TILE BREAKDOWN
Bottom Left – Color – The resource color required to move here, and for end game scoring purposes.
Bottom Right – Cost – The resource cost to build an airstrip there.
Top Left – Island Points & Effect – The end effect and final score point total.
Top Right – Airstrip Spots – Slots where players place hanger cubes in order of purchase.
- 1x Home Island Tile
- 45x Island Tiles
- 60x Resource Tiles (12 each of 5 types)
- 1x Hanger Board
- 4x Airplane Tokens (different player colors)
- 20x Worker Meeples (5 in each color)
- 40x Airship Cubes (10 in each color)
- 1x Resource Bag
- 4x Player Resource Cards
- 1x Rulebook
HOW TO PLAY WAYFINDERS – IN CLOSING
We hope you can now say you know how to play Wayfinders. This set collection game is about path building and resource management with a touch of engine building, all against the backdrop of beautiful artwork and components. The game is relatively simple, with only a few things to do on your team, but with the tight scoring shifts and investment that movement takes, you are constantly in the middle of one wild ride. A light to medium on the intensity scale, this is something that anyone could hop into and enjoy. The rules for how to play Wayfinders are relatively easy to learn, it is mastering your long-term strategic thinking that is the hard part.