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Subject: First play review rss

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John Toppe
United States
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"Nature red in tooth and claw"

In Scavenger Hunt 2-6 players take on the roles of animals fighting over carcasses to haul back to their lairs for points. The game plays fairly quickly and serves as a light filler for a gaming evening. You will need to provide a 6 sided die or two (one per player is best).

This is not a complex game; the box itself claims "5 minutes to learn." The play area is broken up into a lair in front of each player, and the savannah in the center, with a couple of stacks of cards off to the side. There are carcass cards (the animal, or parts of an animal, that the players are trying to bring to their lairs), skullduggery cards (that give you an advantage in some way), and event cards which can provide challenges (like the "Crazy Australian Animal Abductor"), reveal carcass cards, or give out skullduggery cards.

Each player takes the role of the vulture, crocodile, savannah monitor lizard, hyena, jackal, or leopard. Each animal has its own special abilities (e.g. the vulture can "circle", thus giving him the jump on any new carcasses that show up), plus a score for their strength in combat and a skullduggery score, which is the starting amount of the skullduggery cards. Players move their animals out into the savannah to claim carcasses, or fight those who already have one (in a simple d6 plus modifier combat) and then return to their lair to stash their carcass or lick their wounds and heal up. There are bonus points for certain sets of cards that go together (there is the Tailless Lizard and the Lizardless Tail).

The game is meant to have a sense of humor over the whole macabre theme. There is an event card entitled "Best Card in the Event Deck"; "Not quite dead" means one of your carcasses crawls back to the savannah. The artwork is by Brendon and Brian Fraim, familiar to fans of Knight of the Dinner Table/Hackmaster and has a similar level of violence and gore. This is not a game to play at your next PETA gathering, but Goodman Games does say that a portion of the proceeds from this game will go to conservation efforts for endangered animals.

Two minor quibbles. For a $20.00 list price card game, the cards feel kinda thin and it would be nice if they were a little studier. The other is that in the initial games I played, one side or the other was definitely stronger and at an advantage. Perhaps addition plays/animal choices will remedy this as one learns the strategies for each scavenger.
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