Hello! Welcome to this Deranged Review. Nice shoes!
Scene: a dark, damp dungeon. Two conniving teams. Many references to food (#1).
I walked into the room seconds before Hylaria started playing, so as a last-moment addition I managed to join the party. Thankfully, hardly anyone present knew the game, so the designer and his right-hand mate had to explain it to everyone.
I'll be giving grades on several aspects of the game, such as discussed here.
For ART, I look at the big picture, and how that picture looks. EASE covers ease of play and learning curve, FLEXIBILITY covers the amount of free will you have and is therefore linked to replayability. FUN might be deceptive, as it's a gut thang, but I'll try and specify in the text, and COMPONENTS should be self-explanatory. I'll not say a lot about rules and specifics - you can find those out for yourself.
The Game Itself: Team-based wackiness.
Hint, decipher, choose, profit! First to 22 cards wins!
Each team has a few minutes in private to decide on a code before actual play begins. Once the negotiations have ended, both teams sit down at the table in alternate places. Then, in turn order, each player does... well, whatever he or she pleases that is not in express violation of the local laws (#2), then picks any card not in front of him to add to the ones on the table. Once there's three of the same, you score the cards between (and including) the newly added card and the nearest old one. If not, play resumes with the next player.
-The drawings are cartoonish, but it's only upon closer examination that the true brilliance of the illustrations shows itself. The 8 different tiles each have several different hooks to refer to - and I'll name exactly NONE of them. Well, perhaps a few.
Each character conveys a different emotion. Here, that one's on the house.
-It's a bit much to get your head around but the actual game is easy enough. Most of the CPU goes to remembering what the chosen clues were, and what your co-conspirators are trying to tell you, and why in Dread Cthulhu's name is the other team constantly talking about dinner?
So there's a lot going on, but surprisingly little of it is rule-induced difficulty.
-The flexibility in this game comes from the many different things you can decide to use as code. There's plenty of detail on each illustration that you can connect it in new and unforseen ways! As with many of these association games, the game gets fresh once you add new players.
I'd rather not play it twice in a row, as I'd probably get all confused, but I'd certainly play it again.
-Once you get past the confusion of what the tentacle is going on, the game rather earns it's name. Opponents keep doing random stuff where you have to filter out the important things, and cover your own communication in about as much white noise as possible.
-Had what was possibly a prototype, so could not comment on component integrity. Looked good though!
Coöp-association game? That's a pro!
Seats about 12 "comfortably".
Euhm... only works with 4 and up?
Well that was weird! While Hysteria fits the mold of recent party games like Dixit and Codenames: pictures, it has something new to bring to the table as well. The teamwork aspect fom Codenames gets expanded significantly, as there is no master spy handing out orders.
So there's much more individual input than with Codenames, but it's still more co-op and competetive than Dixit could ever be. There's about as much deliberate white noise as with DEER LORD!, there's more meaning and paying attention to what is happening than with Dixit (where it comes in short bursts), and there's the improvisational part of classics like Pictionary and Hints. Hylaria is a great addition the collection of whoever loves Codenames/Dixit, or would like something similar but new and unknown.
As usual, please give your opinion in the comments .
Oh, by the way, I am Deranged. I like to have fun with (and around) boardgames, and have played many of them over the years. I've been furniture in my FLGS for years ^^. I tend to like old games; well, I tend to like good games, most of which have been around for bit ^^. I've written 78 reviews as of yet, which you can access here, and a handful of random topics discussed here. If you want me to write a review for you or recommend me a game, there's this neat little envelop near my avatar!
#1: Well, actually it was a well-lit, whitewashed, bright and clean dungeon. The rest is true, though.
#2: Other player's cards are off-limits, naturally.