Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Tuesday Reviewsday: Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot

Players: 3+  
Playtime: 30minutes+
Replay Value: 2/10

Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot, released in 2002 and followed by a plethora of expansions, is a terrible game. Someone forgot to play test this, and the rules were written at 4am after too many shots of laced-coffee. The jokes barely raise a chuckle, and the game play is too messy to allow glorious 'Take that!' moments.


To set up Killer Bunnies you need to shuffle the carrot, water and cabbage cards and lay them out in seperate piles. Then lay out the numbered carrot cards. But not the small carrot cards, the big carrot cards. And then lay out the Kabala market next to the carrots. Then shuffle the bunny cards and deal each person 5. If you get any money cards you have to play them immediately and redraw. Didn't actually get a bunny in your bunny cards? Just redraw until you find one and pretend you had it all along. Then put a card down in your 'top run'. Then draw back up to five. Put another card down in your 'bottom run'. Then draw up to five again. Remember if you picked up any money or play now cards you have to put them down and draw again.

Confused? I was. 15 minutes to set up and explain. Generally this is an indication of an in-depth game with lots of strategy. Not so, remember that 'top run' card you put down? You have to play this card, unless you have a special card you can play directly from your hand. But then you can probably only play this if you already have a bunny in play. Which has to go through the run. Once you play the top run, move the bottom run card up to the top run spot and place another card in the bottom run. I hope you can see the future, because that card won't be played for at least two turns, and you can't swap it out.

90% of the cards depend on you having a bunny in play. My first bunny was kidnapped. My second bunny finally made it into play in the last turn. And despite barely being involved in the game due to my lack of bunnies, I won. Hey what? To win Killer Bunnies you don't need the most points. You don't collect anything fancy. You buy carrots from the market. When the last carrot is purchased, you flip over the bottom carrot card (the small ones, not the big ones! Keep up, jeez) and whoever has that carrot is the winner. Woop-de-doo, half an hour of strategising and bunny thieving and cabbage hoarding for the winner to come down to luck of the draw.

I've heard great things about Killer Bunnies, so here's a list of things that don't suck about the game. The pictures on the cards are kinda cute. YOu can be a dick to your friends. The two-cards ahead strategy is unique. Ummm, that's all I've got.

Being a dick to your friends is always good in a game, but Killer Bunnies sucks the fun out of it. The game contains lots of cards that are giant explosive weapons. They have slightly funny artwork and apparently humorous names. They are also useless in a three person game because it is near-impossible to attack someone without having the splash effect hurt your own bunnies. You can force your opponents to 'feed' their bunnies, if they can't get their hands on enough water and cabbage by the end of their turn the bunnies die. But the cards say to feed bunnies a certain number of cabbage/water units (e.g. 1, 2, 5 or 10) and cabbage/water are bought from the markets in surprise quantities, you don't know until you draw off the top of the deck if your card is worth 1 or 10. Sure that makes it fun and stressful, but when you have a 10 and only need to feed your bunny 1 the game is not equipped to handle this.

'Making Change' in Killer Bunnies is a painful experience that could only have been put together by delirious game-makers. Rather than suggest you go through the pile for change (and then reshuffle) or supply you with spare cards, the makers of Killer Bunnies suggest you just remember how much change you are owed, and wait for it to appear in the discard pile. Because 5 or 10 turns later you're going to remember that you deserved change. And your friends are going to remember as well. No one will kick up a fuss if you help yourself to freebies from the discard pile, assuming that the change you need is ever there.
The game feels like it was thrown together by children. Yet somehow it has survived for 13 years and SIXTEEN EXPANSIONS! Personally I barely made it through one game, and I'm not willing to go back and find out what the fuss is about. If you want a card game about being horrible to your friends play Munchkin. Or for something lighter, Star Fluxx or one of the variants. Just don't waste your time and money on Killer Bunnies.


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