Thursday, May 4, 2017

Gyrating Hamsters Kickstarter Preview



Fast Facts:
Designers: Andrew Gerbsch, Allison Gerbsch, Alex Host, Rebekah Host
Artist: Yi Liu
Players: 2-4
Age: 10+
Playtime: 20-30 minutes


Heads Up: This is a preview for Gyrating Hamsters. As such, components and rules are subject to change before final release.

Hamsters battling for clan supremacy is the wacky type of fun you’d expect from a game named Gyrating Hamsters. It’s easy to set up, quick to play, and a party for all involved.

Objective
The game ends when one player has collected 9 hamsters of the same clan (color) into their horde, or has a total of 16 hamsters of any clan in their horde. When any of these objectives are reached, the game ends, and the player that triggered the event is the winner!

Setup
First, deal each player 8 cards. From those 8 cards, choose 3 cards to make up your starting horde (your face-up cards on the table). Once everyone has chosen their 3 cards, they flip them face up simultaneously, and the game is ready to begin.

Set up is beyond easy!


Gameplay
Each turn consists of 4 steps:

1.     Draw 2 cards
2.     Play a Clan Card
3.     Play an Additional Card
4.     Battle

These steps are pretty straightforward, which makes it an easy game to pick up. First, you draw 2 cards. Then you play a Clan Card in front of you. Next, if you wish, you can play another Clan Card, an Attack Hamster, or an Action card. Finally, you fight.

Step 4: Battle
Because battling hamsters is what this game is all about, let’s look at the mechanics of it. There are two types of battles: Duels and Clan Battles.

Duels involve one of your hamsters versus one of your opponents’ hamsters. These hamsters can be from any clan. The Clan Battles, however, include only hamsters from the same clan (on both sides), and may include up to four hamsters from each team.

In a Duel, one hamster faces off against one other.

3 Blue Clans hamsters battle a lone Blue Clan Hamster from the other player's horde in a Clan Battle.


Regardless of which battle you choose, the fighting is all the same (Clan Battles are my favorite because nothing brings me more satisfaction than ganging up on my opponents’ hamsters). You get one die for each hamster you have engaged in furry combat, and your opponent gets a die for each hamster he or she has participating in the battle. Once the hamsters have been enlisted, move them to the center of the table (for all to witness the downfall of one or the other), and roll your dice.

The winner of the battle is the player who rolled the highest number. Meaning, if I sent out three hamsters against only one of my opponents, and my opponent rolled a 5 and my highest roll was a 4, my opponent would win the battle (and I would mourn my loss). The winner of the battle then takes all of the hamsters that participated in glorious combat, which includes those of the losing player.

Play continues in this manner (following steps 1-4) until one of the winning conditions is met, at which point the winner may stand up and move their hips in a gyrating manner, as is the custom of all hamsters after winning any form of mortal combat (or so I’m told).

The player with 9 Green Clan hamsters triggers the end of the game and is the winner!


Review
Spoilers: I like this game. It’s easy to get started and plays pretty quickly as well. In particular, there are three things that really make this game a fun one to play.
   
1    Flavor Text
The text underneath the hamsters are a hoot. Homie Hamster, for example, declares to all present that he keeps his pants lower than his bank account. As you can see by the image below, he’s not exaggerating in the slightest.



Each card has something similar in nature on it, creating a special feeling when sending them in to the heat of battle.

2      Artwork
The flavor text wouldn’t be nearly so good if the artwork didn’t match. Fortunately, the artist and copy writer were on the same page, which makes for some humorous depictions of these little critters.

3      Battles
I wasn’t sure how I felt about the battle mechanic going into it, but once I played a few rounds, I found it really helped make the game what it is. There’s nothing worse than going into a battle so incredibly outnumbered that your possibility of successfully surviving the attack is approximately 3,720 to 1 (looking at you, Risk).  Here, while the player with the most hamsters in a Clan Battle may have more dice, all it takes is one high number to beat those odds and claim the battlefield (and the hamsters thereon).

Yes, the rolling of the dice does create a fair bit of randomness, but by throwing more hamsters into the fray than your opponent, you can help turn the odds to your favor. At the same time, your opponent isn’t completely hosed if it’s his one hamster against four of yours. In a quick game such as this, these kinds of random outcomes don’t bother me as much as they would in a much longer, more strategic game.


Final Verdict

Gyrating Hamsters is fun, of that there is no doubt. Personally, I think two plays in a row is good for me, but it’s a great filler and easy to get in a few games before moving on to other things, which I like about it. There's a lot of randomness, but Clan Battles can help mitigate that (if you throw enough hamsters into the mix), as well as various other cards. Judging it as the quick, cute, and quirky card game that it is, I give it a 7/10. It’s certainly something that will come back to the table again and again.


Other Card Examples

The Gyrating Hamster in all its glory!

Chaos cards add an immediate and chaotic effect that really spices things up.

Attack Hamsters help gain and protect hamsters through various (shady) means.

Action cards are the aces up your sleeves.




Check out Gyrating Hamsters on:

            

On Kickstarter now!!! http://kck.st/2prmpqG

About the Author:



Benjamin Kocher hails from Canada but now lives in Utah with his wife and kids. He’s a copywriter, social media manager, freelance blogger, and SFF author. When he’s not writing, Benjamin loves to lose himself in the wonderful world of tabletop games, especially those with a rich, engaging theme. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.

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