Designer: Richard Garfield
Ages: 14+ (10+ would be fine)
Duration: 45 min
You’re just a simple bunny lord, just trying to make his name in a simple bunny world. You just wanna get some land closer to your land, put some castles up and get some farms and intimidate the other bunnies. Does that REALLY sound like such a bad thing? Cause it’s not… you’re just looking out for your bunnies! And you want to impress the bunny king!
Bunny Kingdom is a area control/card drafting game where you play cars to put your bunnies out on castles, fields, mountains and so on to connect tiles and score the most points. So… are you ready to rule the bunny kingdom?
What’s in the box?
Inside the box there is a main kingdom board, 144 bunnies (36 of each colour), 182 cards, 24 building tokens, 39 cities and 4 player aids. And wow… are the components awesome! Just look at the board… and those cities are so great! And the art on the cards… I really couldn’t stop gushing about this game, and I still can’t. Iello knocked it out of the park here. I really can’t praise the art and components more, and the theme is a perfect blend between cute and vicious! And those little castles are awesome, and the art on the cards is so well done. One of the best looking games I have ever played!
So how do you play?
Gameplay is fairy simple. To begin, put out the board and place a 1-strenght city on all the city tiles. Then each player takes all the bunnies of one colour, and places one of them on the 0 spot of the score track. then places all the remaining cities and tokens next to the board, and shuffle all 182 cards and place them next to the board! Ready to begin?
The game is played over 4 rounds, with 3 phases in each round. The phases are as follows:
- Exploration: Each player will draw cards based on the number of players (10 cards in 2 or 4 player games, 12 in a 3 player game). You will take those cards in your hand, choose 2 to play face down and pass the rest of your hand to the player to your left in rounds 1 & 3, and to the right in rounds 2 & 4. If you have played 7 Wonders, you know exactly how this works. Then you will either reveal your cards (if its a territory or building card) or put them in a pile face down in front of you (a parchment card) or do both, depending on the cards you have played. If you played a territory card, you can place one of your bunnies in that space on the board (pretty much like playing a big version of bingo, but everyone uses the same board) or if its a building card, you place it in front of you and put the building or token on it. There is also a provision card that lets you draw and play 2 cards from the deck. And make sure you keep your parchment cards secret… people can know how many you have, but not which ones you have! Repeat as you go, taking the cards you were given from your opponent and playing 2 at a time, until everyone has played their last 2 cards. Now we begin the next phase.
- Construction: Now you will be able to build what you have in front of you, be it cities, farms, sky towers (which connect distant areas together) or camps. Camps are unique as you are basically squatting on land that has not been claimed yet. If the land gets claimed in a later round, you must remove your bunny from there and replaced with whoever played it. If you play the land, you simply remove the camp token and leave your bunny there. Make sure you also pay attention to land requirements; some things can only be built on certain lands
- Harvest: So why are we putting out all these bunnies and buildings? To score points of course! After you have placed all your buildings, you will score points based on your fiefs. Wait a minute… what the heck is a fief? A fief is a group of your territories that is connected together. and in this fief, you will score based on the strength and the wealth of the fief. To calculate it’s strength, you will count the strength of each city in it (based on the spires in each city) and add them together. Then you will account its wealth. Look at all the resources produced, but only count each type, not the total quantity (example, if you produce 2 wood, 3 fish and 1 farm, you produce 3 different resources and therefore only have 3 wealth). Now take the strengths of that fife and multiply it by the wealth, and that is the total points scored for that fife! And don’t worry… Do this for every fife you have on the board, then proceed to the next round! And to help you out… the game includes a multiplication table on the back of each player aid. Seriously.
Once you have finished a round, draw a new hand of cards and proceed to phase one. Once you have scored harvest for the 4th round, everyone reveals their parchment cards and scores points based on it. Now count up all your points and add them to the score track… and the person who is highest score wins!!!
A few points I want to cover. When you play 2 player, you will not only draw 10 cards but also make a 10 card reserve deck. And you don’t pick 2 cards to play; you pick one, and draw one from your reserve deck, pick one of the 2 and discard the other one face down. Then pass the other cards face down and continue. The other thing thats important is to keep the cards you have already played face up in a pile as you go. Not only does this keep track of any discrepancies of territories, some parchment cards score based on them, and sometimes its easier to count using cards instead of trying to find everything on the board. Lastly… scoring can get rather hectic. By round 4, the board is cluttered and sometimes hard to see everything, but it gets easier to keep track as you play.
There are some rules as the game plays (like a building may never be moved once its played, one building on a territory). The rulebook is really useful on these, and has a really useful summary on the last page! While the rules are very simple, there are a few things to keep a track of and the summary really helps on your first few play throughs.
Is it any good?
Despite it’s flaws… I can’t stop loving this game. Not one bit. Bunny Kingdom is crazy, hectic, yet more fun that I have with a lot of games. The game is easy to teach despite the crazy scoring, and it really builds up. The first turn starts off slow and then builds up as more cards are played, and then becomes tight. I love blocking tiles opponents really need, and I really enjoy the secret end game scoring cards. Plus… those components… I love the bunnies and the castles! I mean… how awesome are they? And the art is stunning. Every single Iello game is top notch, and this one is just as amazing! Great art and perfect colour choices! And who doesn’t love bunnies? Cmon…
Yes, there are some flaws. As I mentioned, scoring can get a little hectic and overwhelming. I know some people complain the board is a little too small, and yes, it gets VERY cluttered as the game goes on (apparently Iello is going to release a larger board), but it does get hard to see and the more you add the harder it gets to keep track. This gets better the more you play and you understand how it works. And yes… there is math, and its hard to keep track of your points. The real issues with the game are scoring, and they are easy to overlook.
Despite all that, I keep coming back to this game and loving it. It’s simple to pick up, easy to play and so much fun. I love how it builds up and how interactive it is, and the mechanics are solid. Its a bright, colourful game, with a perfect balance between scoring on the board and with your secret cards. It’s got everything I love in a game. Now go out there and rule your own Bunny Kingdom!!!
- Seriously… the art and components are AMAZING
- Really easy to grasp the rules
- Fun and engaging gameplay, and the length is just right
- Have I not told you how much I love the art? No? Well… I LOVE IT!!!
- As the board gets fuller, its hard to see what’s going on
- Scoring can be a little overwhelming as the game goes on
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