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Subject: Bunny Kingdom - A hare away from perfect rss

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Russell McKinney
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THEME

I’ll be honest, the main reason I bought this game was because of the theme… specifically, the bunnies. I love those cute little hoppy fluffballs to death, and a game themed around them was an insta-buy for me. That being said, they managed to bunnify pretty much everything in the game wonderfully, from the carrot spires on the city pieces, to the wonderful artwork on the cards. Everything screams bunny, and it is beautiful.

10/10

BOX/STORAGE

The box for Bunny Kingdom is very basic, but it works perfectly. Four little compartments for the four different bunny colors, a slanted section for the cards, and an extra spot for the cities and buildings. I don’t think there’s really any way it could have been done differently, and I think, for a game with as few components as this one has, this is pretty much as good as it can be!

Side note, it took us way too long to figure out that the slanted section of the box insert was meant to hold all of the cards nicely in place. We were wrapping the cards up in a ziplock to keep them together the first couple of times, before it dawned on me that there was a little spot for the cards already made. This isn’t a fault of the game or anything, just an observation in how clueless I can be sometimes.

10/10

COMPONENTS

Game Board - The actual board in Bunny Kingdom is colorful, nicely put together, and very pleasing to look at when it is crawling with little bunny pawns. There is one flaw however, and it is the size. Prior to purchasing the game, I saw a review on Amazon that kind of confounded me when I finally played the game. It stated that the board size was so small that it makes it difficult to play, which I couldn’t understand for the life of me… until I played with more than two people.

The issue isn’t that the board is too small to hold everything, but rather that when the board is covered with bunnies, cities, and buildings, it becomes very easy to miscalculate things. Don’t get me wrong, it looks awesome to see little bunny ears scattered across the new world, but when you are trying to figure out what fiefs have what resources, and what lava flows go between what territories, and what buildings exist in which fiefs, it can get a little difficult. Not so hard that it is unplayable, but we found ourselves scanning over the same areas again and again to double check our counting, and on more than on occasion we miscounted.

Another thing I can see happening, which luckily hasn’t happened for us so far, is knocking over already placed bunnies. Trying to wiggle your little bunny pawn in between a mass of other ones definitely opens up the opportunity to bring a million bunnies crashing to the ground, which, for a game like this, isn’t good at all. 7/10

Cards - The artwork on the cards is splendid, and the first few playthroughs we found ourselves taking extra time to look at, chuckle at, and admire them. The little bunny characters are fun and imaginative, and despite being very pop-culturey, fit into the game quite nicely.

For the parchment cards, the rules are very clear and easy to figure out. Nothing too complicated, not overly wordy, just clear instructions that you don’t have to keep looking up rules for later.

Much like with every other game I play, the only real complaint I have with these cards is the material. It’s not a big deal at all, but I don’t dig plastic cards. They are more annoying to shuffle, especially with a deck this large, and they just look and feel cheap to me. It’s mostly a personal preference thing, but still, I would have liked some nicer feeling cards. 9/10

Chits - There aren’t many chits in Bunny Kingdom, just the little building tiles for farms, sky bridges, and resources, but for what few there are, they are just fine. They came out nice, they feel nice, and they get the job done. 10/10

Bunnies - The little bunny figures each player gets are absolutely adorable. Not a lot of detail in them, but just enough to be wonderfully precious. That being said, there isn’t a whole lot else that can be gone into with the player pawns. They are nicely made, and do exactly what they are needed to do.

…and did I mention that they are adorable? 10/10

Cities - The cities that you use to build up your fief’s strength are also pretty great. The level one and two cities don’t have a whole lot going on (apart from the little carrot towers), but the level three cities are very impressive. We aren’t talking top-level scenery molding or anything here, but the all of the tiny details they do have are very fun. I also really enjoy how your bunnies have a spot on the cities to nestle in nice and securely.

I am actually planning on painting my cities at some point, and was given a great idea by my roommate of painting the carrots of each city type different colors. Level ones would be bronze, level twos silver, and level threes would be gold. I think it would add a nice touch to the game, personally! 10/10

RULEBOOK

Short, sweet, and right to the point. Everything is explained clearly, there weren’t a lot of places where I found myself needing to go back and re-read something to try to understand it, and everything had plenty of visual examples to help us along.

There were a couple of places here and there where I felt like the rules could have been a little better organized instead of hopping from subject to subject, but they were few and far between, and very minor.

9/10

SETUP

I don’t know about everyone else, but a game with a simple setup makes my heart swell with joy. Bunny Kingdom’s setup is one of those types of games. Shuffle the giant pile of cards, place starting cities, select your color, and start the fun!

10/10

GAMEPLAY

This style of game isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if it is, you’re going to really enjoy yourself. The mechanics of play are very simple and easy to learn, but despite the simplicity, there is quite a bit of strategy involved. Nothing insanely heavy or intense, but definitely enough to allow you to absolutely obliterate your opponents if you know what you are doing.

The actual gameplay itself is very similar to the drafting style of something like 7 Wonders. Trying to take what you need from your hand of cards, but not leaving your opponent anything in the hand that they can use when you pass it their way. In a two player game, this leads to a lot of frustrating moments. In that variant you play one card and discard the other, so getting the cards back around to you, only to find what you wanted had been discarded, can definitely lay waste to your carefully constructed plans.

I think I am actually leaning toward saying that this game is best played with two people. Multiple players is definitely fun, but the added rules of drawing reserve cards, and discarding something from your hand before passing each turn definitely adds another layer of fun to the game. With 3 or 4 players, once around the board and you already know everything that’s available to you, which makes for building a better strategy, but there is something really fun about hoping that something you need comes up in either of the reserve decks on the table. It adds a bit of mystery to how each round will go, and I think that is a big plus. I know some people absolutely abhor any sort of luck in games, but I like a little chance sprinkled into games every now and then.

9/10

FINAL THOUGHTS

Bunny Kingdom is, overall, very solid, especially as a gateway game. There's enough strategy to satisfy a wide variety of people, but not so much that it's unplayable for more inexperienced gamers. It's pleasing to look at, it's a ton of fun, and I can't wait to introduce some more people to it!

OVERALL RATING: 9 golden carrots out of 10
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Cj W
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Totally agree - I saw this game pop up here at BGG and thought “eh my wife loves bunnies, I’ll get this just because”. I checked out the MvM review and they gave it a good review so I was totally sold. But I would still have bought it even if it was just okay because of the art and the bunny minis (Binnies maybe ?)

As you stated the main issue I see with this game is that it’s pretty easy to knock over already placed bunnies. But if we are careful it’s okay. If there were some indents in the board (or a bigger board) it would help.
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d Michel
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They are supposed to be producing a larger playmat later this year. I can only imagine the reduced board size was a cost cutting measure because a larger board certainly would have fit in the box.
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Evan
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dearolddad wrote:
They are supposed to be producing a larger playmat later this year. I can only imagine the reduced board size was a cost cutting measure because a larger board certainly would have fit in the box.


I'm not sure about that. Iello appears to have gone to great expense to create extensive submarine pieces for Oceanos and the components in that game were almost over produced. It doesn't seem to be in the publisher's M.O. to cut corners on their games, in fact, production value seems to be consistently high with Iello products. I just simply think they misread consumer preferences for this one. Maybe they thought the busy board at the end of the game would produce a "coolness" factor that the gaming community would relish, but instead they received nothing but complaints about how hard the game is to score and the fiddliness of placing bunnies late in the game.
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Cj W
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GoingTopShelf wrote:
[It doesn't seem to be in the publisher's M.O. to cut corners on their games, in fact, production value seems to be consistently high with Iello products. I just simply think they misread consumer preferences for this one.


Agree with Evan on this. The art and component production quality is top notch on this game as are others I've seen and/or played by Iello. As was stated it may have been just a slight misread of the market but whatever, it is what it is.

All I know is this game was a wonderful surprise. It went from 'oh this is cute looking' to 'whoa this is a great game' immediately.
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Russell McKinney
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Norsa wrote:
Totally agree - I saw this game pop up here at BGG and thought “eh my wife loves bunnies, I’ll get this just because”. I checked out the MvM review and they gave it a good review so I was totally sold. But I would still have bought it even if it was just okay because of the art and the bunny minis (Binnies maybe ?)

As you stated the main issue I see with this game is that it’s pretty easy to knock over already placed bunnies. But if we are careful it’s okay. If there were some indents in the board (or a bigger board) it would help.


Yeah, my thought process when I first saw the game was "OH! Bunnies! Adorable! I'll buy this to support bunnies!" That was pretty much it. I was very, very pleasantly surprised at how much fun it ended up being.

Also, I like Binnies. I am going to use that now.

dearolddad wrote:
They are supposed to be producing a larger playmat later this year. I can only imagine the reduced board size was a cost cutting measure because a larger board certainly would have fit in the box.


I have to agree with everyone else, I don't feel like it was a cost cutting sort of thing. Maybe they figured because the little bunnies are so small they didn't need a huge play area? No idea. However, a larger play mat would be awesome. Do you have confirmation that they are releasing one, or is it just a rumor?

GoingTopShelf wrote:
dearolddad wrote:
They are supposed to be producing a larger playmat later this year. I can only imagine the reduced board size was a cost cutting measure because a larger board certainly would have fit in the box.


I'm not sure about that. Iello appears to have gone to great expense to create extensive submarine pieces for Oceanos and the components in that game were almost over produced. It doesn't seem to be in the publisher's M.O. to cut corners on their games, in fact, production value seems to be consistently high with Iello products. I just simply think they misread consumer preferences for this one. Maybe they thought the busy board at the end of the game would produce a "coolness" factor that the gaming community would relish, but instead they received nothing but complaints about how hard the game is to score and the fiddliness of placing bunnies late in the game.


Just looking at the box alone, and how gorgeous it is, not to mention the wonderful art, pretty much confirms for me that it wasn't a cost thing. Everything in the game is so nicely made, so it would be strange that they would try to save money by having a tiny board.

Norsa wrote:
GoingTopShelf wrote:
[It doesn't seem to be in the publisher's M.O. to cut corners on their games, in fact, production value seems to be consistently high with Iello products. I just simply think they misread consumer preferences for this one.


Agree with Evan on this. The art and component production quality is top notch on this game as are others I've seen and/or played by Iello. As was stated it may have been just a slight misread of the market but whatever, it is what it is.

All I know is this game was a wonderful surprise. It went from 'oh this is cute looking' to 'whoa this is a great game' immediately.


Right? I was fully expecting the game to be a lot of fluff, but it ended up being an instant favorite for me.
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