Dan P BoardGameCo
I will not take the time to recount the rules or play of this game, which is one of my absolute favorites - the other reviewers have done a great job.
Rather, I'd like to comment on the feeling and the thinking that's involved in playing HS.
I win about 50% of the games of HS that I play. This does not reflect on my skill in this game, though, as I'm constantly teaching it to novices.
If you enjoy games where you make decisions based on an unforeseeable current condition or context (I would use El Grande as a decent example of such a game), then you will love HS. It's a great 'betting the odds' game as well.
Things I love about the game:
1. Teach it in 5 minutes to total novices. VERY easy rules.
2. Very little down time
3. You're always involved in tough decisionmaking, even though there are only a few variables.
4. Very portable.
5. Very inexpensive.
Things I don't love:
1. Doesn't play well with fewer than 4. (It's OK but not transcendant with 3).
My experience (after about 30-40 plays) leads me to some theories of satisfying play:
1. It's just as smart to save bucks to avoid negative cards as it is to pay a lot of cash for good ones.
2. Don't blow your wad early. There will almost always be ways to effectively employ it later (through bidding up cards later in the deck when others have less cash) to help you win.
I have an entrepreneur friend who has his high-level new hires play this game on their first day as both an ice-breaker and a way to see 'what they're made of.'
This is one of my very favorite games; although it's not as 'meaty' as many gamer games, it's tightness and efficiency in design are a marvel, and it's a great way to get people into the hobby.