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Killer Bunnies: and the Quest of the Magic Carrot is a game that people either seem to love or dislike. Fortunately, I really enjoy the game and have a group of folk (primarily teenagers) who are constantly clamoring to play it. Thus, when I got the first seven expansions, I was happy to play with them but was a little unsure of how to integrate them. So we added one deck and played, then played again, then added another deck and repeated. After dozens of plays, I now think that I can safely talk about each of the decks, and how they add to the gameplay. There are a couple of things common to each deck:
- First of all, if you hate Killer Bunnies, none of the expansions are likely to change your mind. More randomness is added, more powerful cards are included, more of the "silly" theme is promoted - stuff that fans of the game love, but detractors certainly do not.
- Each expansion comes in a small box that is sturdy and easily holds the cards; but all of which I discarded, as the first seven expansions all fit comfortably in the box.
- Some expansions are more interesting than others (I would rate them Orange, Pink, Red, Steel, Purple, White, and Green - in that order), but I really did enjoy them all.
- Expansions really should be added in order. You might get away with adding a future expansion (such as Twilight White) to your blue and yellow cards, but you'll run into "holes", and some of the cards simply won't make sense.
- It's fascinating how the designer had the larger picture in mind, and how they referenced future cards in each of the decks. With all seven expansions (I know that two more are still coming) it feels like a nearly complete game rather than some expansions that are tacked on.
Now for some specific comments on the Red Booster Deck (Playroom Entertainment, 2003 - Jeffrey Neil Bellinger):
1.) The main addition to the series is a new way to spend money! Rooney's Weapon's Emporium is now added to the Kaballa's Market with two new things to buy. The first of these are discarded weapon cards. Players can purchase any weapon in this pile for a dolla amount equal to the weapon level. Really, though - I haven't seen anyone do this with any great success. Why spend 14 dolla on a new weapon, when you'd rather have a carrot or a defense card? Oh, right - the real reason that the Weapon's Emporium exists - Defense cards. Players can buy defense cards for only three dolla, and then draw one of the new small defense cards that come with the deck (same size as the water and cabbage cards). Defense cards are worth a certain amount of units and can be played singly or combined to eliminate weapon cards played against that player. For example, if a player attacks me with the Centrifuge (attack level 7), I can play a Defense card worth seven or higher, or two or more cards whose sum is equal to or greater than seven. No change is given for used Defense cards. Defense cards are extremely popular in the groups I play with; as attacks are all-too-common, and anything that can keep your bunnies alive longer is a good thing. I think that they're quite cheap at three dolla, and most players buy one or two of them each game.
2.) The usual additions are included, with more Kaballa Dollas, Terrible misfortunes, Choose a Carrot, and weapons. I did enjoy the "Everyone Feed a Bunny" card, which forces all opponents to feed one bunny one water and one cabbage. Talk about making your opponents spend their water/cabbage cards! The weapons are basically standard fare, although one operates on prime numbers, and the Quite Irascible Diffractable Cheese Balls, which bounce around the Bunny circle.
3.) More carrots are here! There are now sixteen carrots in the game, which allows it to last longer - but not too much longer, since there is much more going on. Once again, the carrots have hilarious artwork on them.
4.) Only six new bunnies are included, but at this point, they are the best bunnies in the game. This, of course, increases their value to players but also paints a rather large target on their head. The new bunnies are:
- the Red Gleeful Bunny, who can spend three Dolla at the market each turn. (Can you say - Defense card splurge?)
- the Red Sinister Bunny, who sends failed weapons back at the player who fired it. He'll make folks think twice before attacking him.
- the Red Lumbering Bunny, who has an automatic Triple Lucky Clover, lowering the strength of all weapons against him by three.
- the Red Timid Bunny, who can re-roll any action that involves dice. This is a huge deal, as die rolls are rather critical in the game. Mr. Timid Bunny here is always my prime target in games.
- the Red Congenial Bunny, who automatically eats three cabbage and three water each turn. This sounds better than it is - this bunny is simply attacked with weapons.
- the Holographic Bunny, who is not technically alive, so never needs to eat and can only be harmed by a handful of weapons (the Cheese Balls are one of them). This rabbit cannot be used at the end of the game to keep a player from being ejected (players must have one LIVE rabbit to qualify); but his usefulness is extreme, and players don't have to worry about him being whacked.
5.) The expansion also finally adds the red die and a host of other useful cards. Some of the more interesting ones are:
- Rainbo: He rolls all the dice, and kills all bunnies that are the same color as the lowest number. He's really kind of a random card to play but certainly enjoyable to watch, unless you lose multiple bunnies to him.
- Bunny to the Future: Sends a bunny to the future to avoid a weapon. The bunny is lost if the game ends before then, but it's still an interesting card (with nice artwork!)
- H.E.M.P.: This missile package is best used for attacking the Beyea Aliens, possibly killing the bunnies on board. Great fun to use against players who are holding out hope that someday those bunnies will return.
- Guardian Angle: Yes, I spelled that right. This can be used to eliminate a Terrible Misfortune; the cards that cause more ranting than any other. A great one to get a hold of.
- Barriers: These cards can be placed between rabbits, reversing the "Roaming Run" cards that move around the circle, and protecting the rabbit from weapons that affect adjacent bunnies. They're not as effective as you'd think, but they come in handy in some situations.
- Zep Tep!: This is a "Play Immediately" card that does something good! It must be used by a First Time player who can take a saved Special or Very Special card away from an adjacent player.
The special cards are actually not the reason I enjoy this expansion - it's mostly for the Red bunnies and the Defense shop. Both of those add a whole new dimension to the game and almost make this expansion a "must buy", even if it's the only one you get. More choices are good, and that's what this expansion adds.
"Real men play board games"
Defense cards are worth a certain amount of units and can be played singly or combined to eliminate weapon cards played against that player. For example, if a player attacks me with the Centrifuge (attack level 7), I can play a Defense card worth seven or higher, or two or more cards whose sum is equal to or greater than seven. No change is given for used Defense cards.
Where did it say that you could add defense cards together? I can't find that anywhere in my rule set. Man, that actually makes them worthwhile now.
Thanks for the reviews!
An example is presented on the Killer Bunnies web site (the Red Booster 'Bunny Bits'):
"A Weapon Level 08 may be eliminated by Defense Cards that add up to or exceed 8 units. A player may not receive "change" from the Defense Card pile."
I'd have to review the (admittedly sparse and poorly written) rules to see if I can find a direct reference.
I must thank you for explaining Rooney's card prices. Upon opening our new booster, mine is missing and my son would rather not wait for e-mail and mail to correct the ommission.