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Subject: Hopping to victory rss

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Merric Blackman
Australia
Waubra
Victoria
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Ramping up my reviewing.
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Happily playing games for many, many years.
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Hooray! I've played Hare and Tortoise!

This venerable game was the winner of the inaugural Spiel des Jahres award. Randy had picked it up in a Maths trade, as I recall, and he brought it out for a lighter game after we'd been burning our brains playing Steam, Automobile and other such Wallace designs. The game, with its elderly and ill-maintained box, did not inspire much confidence by its appearance. The rules were simple, with a very small part of luck. However, as we soon found, player decisions were the most important part of the game.

For those unaware of the game, the object is to be the first to cross the finish line. You have a supply of carrots, which you can spend to go forward. One square is 1 carrot, two squares require 3 carrots, three squares require 6 carrots, and so forth in a sequence which can actually have you spending hundreds of carrots at once. The trick is that you have to finish the game with ten or fewer carrots, and getting new carrots... well, that's interesting. Oh, and you also have to eat three cabbages as well.

All the squares on the board have different characteristics. If you begin your turn on a numbered space, and you are in that position in the race, you gain 10x the number in carrots. So, if you're last (4th) on the number 4, you gain 40 carrots! Cabbage spaces allow you to spend a turn eating a cabbage (and gaining some carrots). Carrot spaces allow you to gain or lose carrots. Hare spaces are the only random spaces on the board. Roll high, and it's good. Roll low, and not so good - although the result is modified by how well you're doing in the race. Landing on a hare space when you're 1st is likely to cost you a turn or even slip you backwards. When you're last, you could go forward a lot.

Then there are the tortoise squares, which you can only go backwards to - they give you lots of carrots when used correctly. However, as you can't land on another player's piece, if they're on the nearest tortoise square, then you can't move backwards. If you run out of carrots or end up in a position where you can't move at all - well, it's bad. None of us had that problem, though.

The actual details of the race would be fairly mundane to describe. We spent carrots, maneuvered into the best positions (gaining 30 carrots on a "3" space was nice!) and otherwise tried to block each other. If there was one things where I excelled in this race it was at getting rid of my cabbages. I landed on the cabbage space early, then ate the second one through a lucky roll on a hare space (ah, maneuvering to be last place! Joy!), then raced towards the end of the board and ate my last one - also blocking Randy, Rich and Ian from landing on the same square.

The end of the game was clearly mine, as Randy recognised. I won my first game of Hare and Tortoise, using my excess carrots to speed me past the finish, ending on the required 10 carrots. It is a charming game which, although simple, allows for tactically inspired play. At least, I'm going to claim that! I'd happily play it again.


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Australia
Sebastopol (Ballarat)
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That's Karl on the left. Eternity on the right.
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The actual details of the race would be fairly mundane to describe.


C'mon Merric! It could have rivaled Rimmer's Risk AAR. "I then rolled a 4 and 2 and thought I was done for, but then he rolled a 3 and a 1..."
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Orion Bell
United States
Nebraska
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I was not part of this fine game here, but I wanted to add I have played this game hundreds of times and my friends all love it. It is one of those crazy games that grows on you as you develop a strategy to have enough carrots to get you to the finish line but not so many that you can't win. It is a great game, if you don't have it, find it. Great fun for family and friends.
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