Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game.
There are times when you have a random occurrence that triggers a memory in the deep recesses of your mind. It might be song, a television clip, specific turn of phrase, or imagery that makes you remember something from your childhood. Unfortunately, I missed that opportunity when looking at the title for this preview. I wasn’t the only one to also miss it. No one I played with could understand why the designers went with the name Hunny instead of Honey for the title. I did ask why and about slammed my head into my desk when I couldn’t remember that Winnie the Pooh had Hunny written on his personal honey pot. I feel shame, however, that will not stop me from telling you about Hunny Hunters, now up on Kickstarter. Hunny Hunters is a bluffing tile placement game where players are taking the role of bears trying to get the most honey. Let’s get into the preview to see if this is a game you would like to support.
Hunny Hunters is for 2-5 players and in my experience plays in about 30 minutes.
In Hunny Hunters, players take the role of large grizzly bears that are just trying to collect as much honey as possible. Sadly, there are two major risks while trying to collect this precious bear commodity. Not only do bears have to deal with wasps and bees ready to defend their homes, but you also have other grizzly bears looking to steal what you have already collected.
At the start of the game, there is a collection of thirty-six tiles on the table and each player gets a collection of function cards that allow players to peak at tiles or mess with the other players. Each player has a limited number of spots for tiles on their player boards and will need to use deception and memory skills to have enough honey pots to earn the most points at the end of the game.
How to Play:
Each player starts the game with four function cards and their player board. The player boards can only hold six tiles and some of them earn you extra points at the end of the game. There are seven types of function cards which, when played, allow you to peek at a tile without taking it, discard a tile from your player mat, steal a tile from another player, or can cancel another player’s card. The players will mix up the tiles and place them in a 6×6 grid with a beehive image face-up.
A turn consists of three possible actions:
1. Play a function card and resolve the effect
2. Discard a function card and collect a tile from the public region without examining it first.
3. Discard one or two function cards.
After taking one of these actions, the player will draw up to four cards.
This will continue until all of the cards have been drawn from the function deck. Each player will get one last turn and then points will be scored. The honey pot tiles on a player’s game mat earn them two points while bee and wasp tiles deduct one and two points respectively. Add in any bonus points from playing a honey pot on the 4th, 5th and 6th slot and the person with the most points wins the game.
Hunny Hunters is a light and simple game. What I wrote in the how to play section has to be one of the shortest ever and that allows this game to be easy to teach. With three easy actions for you to take, the game isn’t bogged down by over complicated rules. Even with seven different effects from the function cards, none of the cards are convoluted enough to cause people to not understand how they work. This simplicity might lead to a game that is boring, but the game has some interesting mechanics and bluffing that keep the game engaging.
With a light game like this, you have to keep players engaged and the three actions you can take on your turn do that very well. During my plays I never thought that I didn’t have anything to do, because all of the actions you can take allow you to impact the game differently. The function cards have a nice level of flexibility with what effect they inflict. They allow for player interaction, discarding of tiles, and blocking of actions, but one card allows this game to have a bluffing element.
The most numerous card in the deck is the Honeyologist, which allows you to look at any tile in the public area and you can decide if you want to take it. I took full advantage of this by viewing a tile that was a honey pot and placed it back down on the table. Since you leave the tiles with the beehive side up, no one else would touch that piece because they feared it being a bee or wasp. This allowed me to play a worthless function card later in the game and claim extra points. You can also do the same by drawing a bee or wasp card with the hope of someone claiming it off your game board. I personally wish there were more interactive cards in the deck, but there are enough in the deck for some light bluffing to occur during the game.
I do like how the deck is used as the timer for the game. I also like how you are able to manipulate how long a game will take by drawing more cards into your hand, similar to Lost Cities. This allows for a player who has gotten a block card or two into their hand to end the game to move the game along quickly and force the other players to act sooner than they want. Hunny Hunters is great game to play with kids over the recommended age of eight. They won’t feel that the game is too complex and explaining the bluffing element will intrigue them. There is nothing better than tricking your opponent when that person is your parent. The game also has enough strategic elements to keep adults interested.
I ended up enjoying Hunny Hunters more than I anticipated. The game is very light, but that doesn’t mean the game is uninteresting. The game moves very quickly with little downtime. As a player, you never feel that you are out of the competition for honey and there is always something for you to do on your turn. The enjoyable bluffing aspect to Hunny Hunters is by far its best-selling point. The function cards give you the opportunity to out think your opponents and claim victory. If you are looking for a light bluffing game to add to your collection, consider giving Hunny Hunters your support.
If you’d like to become a backer, pledges start at £16 (about $25) for the full game and all stretch goals. Hunny Hunters is scheduled to be in backers hands in February of 2015 and you have until Monday, December 22nd to become a backer. So head over today and check it out.
As always, we don’t post ratings for preview copies as the components and rules may change from the final game. Check back with us after the game is produced for a full review