Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 Hide
3 Posts

Hornet» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Hornet: a Vastly Underrated game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Christopher Graves
United States
Chattanooga
Tennessee
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Full Disclosure: I got this game for less than $10 on Amazon. I enjoy collecting less-heard-of-but-still-good games, so I gave this one a shot.

There are two ways to play this game, and I'm not sure which the designer intended. You can play this game silently, which combined with the simultaneous action selection essentially means penalties for playing aggressively are assigned randomly (because you don't know what other people are going to do). That is not fun. Unfortunately, (generalizing here) the types of people who will play this game without much player interaction are probably the same people who would already prefer a more Euro-type game (I have in mind a stereotypical introverted, contemplative board game player).

However, if while explaining this game, you push the social element of talking about what actions you will and won't perform, which hives you will and won't seek to control, and bluffing about all these things as well, this game works VERY well.

3 things make this game fun:

1. Simultaneous action selection -- If you are having conversations with other players about what actions they'll select, this is the only mechanic the designers could have used to make this game fun. The conversations preceding action selection are tricky, because no one wants to give too much information, but there are people you are pretty sure will cooperate with you, and you just want to know... So you ask. And they tell you, but you're afraid they might be lying, but in that OTHER game we played last week they were pretty trustworthy... But even if you have a solid deal with one other player, it matters what everyone does, so you're still not entirely confident. (You see how this is interesting?) SO eventually, everyone slaps down a card and flips it over, a chorus of "WHY?!" and "I hate you." passes, and we do it all over again. The game also gives you two hornets to do stuff with, but only one action per round, so you are only ever using one of your two hornets at a time. This makes bluffing easy, and hides enough information that it is not clear exactly what people will do every round.

2. Risks and Rewards -- The risks are not so extreme as to be off-putting, and the reward is enough that aggressive actions can't be ignored. Of course, this game is hugely about the people you're playing with. Are they all risk-adverse? Play aggressive actions, and win easily. Are they all reckless? Play it safe, and watch them burn each other while you coast to victory. An earlier review on BGG about this game says the person who plays risk adversely will win, and that the game encourages you to not fight (or at least that not fighting is the dominant strategy), and that is patently false. You have to fight at some point. And, maybe that guy has a group full of perfectly rational humans, but with my friends (who are all extremely smart), people still made ineffable decisions because they are bull-headed humans, and this made the game all the more fun. This is something I love about the game, actually: it is a perfect foil to super-rational people like me. Whoever the person in your group is that usually wins games because they think too hard always know what everyone else will do, they will fail at this game when the person next to them fights over a hive because "I put my honey there first, dammit."

3. Close Games -- Usually, I like games that I can dominate, crushing my friends under the heel of my superior strategy and disregard for their actual happiness. This is not that game. Everyone always knows exactly who is winning, and everyone can always do something about it. I have never played a game of Hornet that didn't go down to the wire, and I don't think I ever will, because it is a self policing game. That makes it fun,and that actual contributes to the theme. I feel like a buzzing bee playing this game, which I know is called Hornet and that's stupid and we've been over that but IT'S FINE OK? There's a little bit of luck, too, if you choose: basically, to put honey in a hive (which is how you win), you can either pay 2 resources to make honey, or 1 resource to have the privilege to flip a coin, for which a heads result gives you honey. So, 8 resource an be 4 for-sure honeys, or 8 coin-tosses which represent 0 to 8 potential honeys. This is a nice little catch up mechanism. Obviously, the odds of both methods are even, and I haven't ever had anyone flip 8 honeys and storm to victory on the last turn. But someday, it will happen, and it will be glorious. And when you're losing, just to have that possibility, that potential to thwart someone else's well-won game by a throw of the dice... it's great.

Overall, maybe there are games out there that use similar mechanics to better effect. Probably there are. But Hornet is great! I didn't mention the fantastic art, and quality components. It probably works best with 5 people. You can get it cheap, and if it piques your interest, go for it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


17 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Kerslake
United Kingdom
Torquay
Devon
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the review. I've had an unplayed copy for a couple years and you've givin me a very good reason to dust it off and get it on the table.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Beiter
United States
Tonawanda
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree that this game is an under rated gem. It was really fun and I love the simultaneous action mechanic.

I may have to dust off my copy soon!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.