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Subject: This game needs a little house ruling rss

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Found this game while thrifting, and played it with a buddy and his two girls (4&6yo). The kids were really getting into the game which is why it was quite frustrating that it took so long to finish. We got busted by the farmer so.many.times...

The game is pretty simple: roll a die and move your rabbit or move the farmer. The 6-sided die has 2 farmer symbols, 2 rabbit symbols and 2 double rabbit symbols, so each roll there's a 1 in 3 chance the farmer moves. If your rabbit is in sight of the farmer you have to drop any carrots you've collected and run back home to try again on your subsequent turns.

In the end one of the girls was 1 step away from victory and had to roll the die. Should she roll the farmer he would move and she would be spotted, all other rolls would make her reach home and win - a 66,7% chance to win! But she rolled the farmer, poor thing... At that point we called it quits.

So I think this game needs some house ruling. I wouldn't mind the swinginess of the die so much, if the game would finish in 10 to 15 minutes, but 30+ minutes of trying and constantly getting hammered got pretty frustrating.

I have two ideas myself:
1) Wether to move or stay put is a choice.
In the game as written your rabbit will often be in a safe spot, but the farmer is on the lookout. Then, when you roll a rabbit symbol, you have to move and will immediately be spotted. I propose to remove the obligation to move and give players a choice to stay put if they would like to. The game gets a little less random and a bit more push-your-luck this way, as players who take bigger risks may get rewarded, but it's also possible to play it safe (which just takes more time).

2) The farmer is less observant.
In the game as written the farmer has an overview of the area he's facing all the time. This is why players can move into his field of view. A possible variant is to have the farmer only be observant the moment he moves, but be otherwise occupied the rest of the time. You could show this by always placing him with his back turned towards the garden, only to turn around when his symbol is rolled on the die. Then he turns around, has a look and moves to his next spot (where he is then placed back turned, so he doesn't observe from there yet). This variant creates a safer garden, and has the farmer behave more like in the kids game 'Statues'/'Red Light Green Light'/'Grandmother's Footsteps'.

To anyone who has played this (with or without kids), please let me know what your experiences are!

 
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