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Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Killer Bunnies is NOT a card game rss

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Shane Brewer
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Killer Bunnies is, despite its real absence of props on BGG, an institution. A game that has 10 booster decks amounting to hundreds of cards, many of which often exhibit great creativity and artwork, and lots of odd bits which change the game, can’t be as bad as many BGGers say. Add in the fact that Killer Bunnies has spawned at least two other spinoffs and is one of only a few serious games that has made the jump from the FLGS to the shelves of Target and it makes one wonder why there is not more love for the game.

As for me and my family, this was the first, and I mean the very first, game we ordered online from a game site and didn’t buy from Walmart. We picked it up based on a recommendation from a completely unrelated discussion group. And we loved it. Yes, it has taken a little while to learn to play. Yes, some games can get long (but they are getting shorter as we become more and more familiar with the cards). Yes, sometimes players feel “shut out” from the bunnies. But we plugged through this and have gotten better and better at overcoming these obstacles.

The game is not without its weaknesses, many of which have been repeated many times here and elsewhere: random victory condition, slow pace of play, lack of bunnies stalls the game etc. But even these criticisms seem a little hollow given the fact that many games involve a luck factor and can take an incredibly long time and suffer from internal design weaknesses that could have been done better. If these are the biggest concerns, there are ways to counter them with some already existing variants. I personally believe that the perceived weaknesses of the game are more related to misplaced expectations and approaches.

Let me explain. First, the game is categorized on BGG as a Card and Dice Game with a Hand Management mechanic. To me these labels imply that the players collect cards through a drawing mechanism and then try to build the best hand – kind of like Rummy. While that is partly true about Killer Bunnies, I believe it misses a serious aspect of the game that could actually alleviate two of the above-mentioned criticisms. The missing aspect is the card trading and bargaining/extortion aspect of the game. If players will understand that trading and dickering and threatening can get them the cards they need (e.g. bunnies) then there will no longer be games where one player sits idly by hoping to draw a bunny. If you aren’t drawing the card you need, find another way to get it. The other side of this aspect is that if there is more social interaction (one example I am thinking of is how my kids are always promising not to play a weapon if someone will give them something, causing lots of discussion, gnashing of teeth, and begging) then the games really do seem to fly by. In a nutshell, if you play KB like a typical, stuffy card game based on hand management then you are going to be bored to death. Liven it up. Laugh a little. Perhaps, in addition to the game being classified as a card and dice game with hand management, it should also be classified as a party game, a negotiation and bargaining game, and a trading game.

The other thing that many people don’t realize about the game is how many different cards there are that take some strategic consideration in how best to use. Many might dismiss the game as a simple little quickie time-filler, with the expectation that the cards will be simple to learn and use. When, in fact, the best players are the players who know the cards and who have spent some time learning how and when to best use them. This aspect of KB adds some real depth and longevity to the game. I know some will argue with my use of those terms as they relate to KB, but I think there is actually quite a bit more strategy to the game that many realize or will admit. Learning the cards also speeds up the pace of play.

As you can tell, I am a little bias. I simply offer my review of the game with the hope that it might affect someone sitting on the fence. KB is a really social game. It is a really great party game. The trick is to change expectations and be creative in playing the game. Thanks for reading.
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william mcneil
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heh i like killer bunnies too tho it can get voilet sometime :P
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Dex Quest
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Thanks for this great write-up. I totally agree that KB is a bit of a noddy game, but you can ditch the random draw ending and replace the win condition with 'most carrots' to bring it closer to Puerto Rico (okay, that last bit was a joke)

I think the reason we should discuss a game like this in BGG is that it has awesome power to draw in the family, especially the fairer sex.

My other half is much better than me at all games, but she also adores any game with animals, especially wabbits. If this means we get to play a game together, then great!

next stop... War of the Ring
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Brad Miller
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We picked the starter up at one of the local thrift stores a couple months back. My wife absolutely loves the game and though I dont share quite her enthusiasm about it I still enjoy it very much. It is probably the most played game we own and most requested by friends and family. Despite its supposed flaws and the randomness of the ending it succeeds in our family due to the table talk and trash talking that ensues as you mow each others bunnies down.
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willsargent wrote:
Thanks for this great write-up. I totally agree that KB is a bit of a noddy game, but you can ditch the random draw ending and replace the win condition with 'most carrots' to bring it closer to Puerto Rico (okay, that last bit was a joke)


Does this game play well with the 'most carrots' win condition? Or am I an idiot and missed the joke...?
 
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Pete Grey
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markgravitygood wrote:
willsargent wrote:
Thanks for this great write-up. I totally agree that KB is a bit of a noddy game, but you can ditch the random draw ending and replace the win condition with 'most carrots' to bring it closer to Puerto Rico (okay, that last bit was a joke)


Does this game play well with the 'most carrots' win condition? Or am I an idiot and missed the joke...?


No, its quite a good variant and alleviates the end game frustration of the "Carrot lottery". I usually play most carrots wins, with ties being broken with lowest carrot sum number added up as tie breaker. This encourages thievery devil as you can steal others carrots.

I think can be a great game, played with the right crowd. It brought me back to gaming after 15 years. I do shorten my games, however, by tweaking my deck.

This will make your games come in around 45 minutes max.

1. I only play with first two boosters.

2. I remove the "Close the market" cards and the related 2-3 cards to them. I found this card has no other purpose than to just slow the game down. Quite profoundly at times.

3. I only use the 1st 12 carrots that come with the base set.

Never outstays its welcome. People that hate it can play something else. People that love it usually want to go again immediately.
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Thanks, gonna try that variant. KB almost hit the table over the weekend but then I remembered how long it got and it got scratched...for Shanghai Rummy. What a bad mistake in judgment that was.

 
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Marc Drebing
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KB is a classic game, my second most favorite game in fact. Every game is so completely different, and I love how the ending is completely random from who played well during the game and who didn't. I can't wait 'till the new KB spinoff is released. KB has also become an Easter tribute game, in memory of the easter bunny we try slaughtering each other's bunnies!!!!!!
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Shane Brewer
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Great thoughts. Absolutely remove some of the carrots for a shorter game and some of the nastier weapons (the red dotted ones). I'll have to remember to remove the close the market cards too because they do slow things down. There are also some variants where every player is given one bunny to start.

Overall, I think the game is such a good game that people should find ways to overcome its weaknesses and enjoy it.
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Ryan Kinney
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DrBrewhaha wrote:
it makes one wonder why there is not more love for the game.



DrBrewhaha wrote:
made the jump from the FLGS to the shelves of Target


You answered your own question before you asked it.
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Bill Kunes
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Agree with many others who have responded. Really enjoy this game, I have interested more people in this game than any other I currently have. In fact, all but two have gone out and bought it and have passed it on... that hasn't happened with any other games I have yet.

We typically agree on the number of carrots in-play before we start based on time availability and mood of all the players.

We keep it fun, remembering to laugh and not take it too seriously.

We also like the alternative scoring sheet we downloaded from BGG
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Paul Morgan
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My group plays this game with a few changes like most. We remove all the 'close market' and associated cards. If a player draws no bunnies with their starting hand, they reveal their hand to prove their lack of bunnies and draw a new hand. With soo many cards in the piles after adding multiple expansions, we make three or four draw piles for players to pick from. This adds a bit more fun as you may have an idea of what you may be looking for in each different expansion. As well, we stopped buying new expansions after the fifth one. With the random draw of 'choose carrot' cards, I can't imagine the game being very fun with the player having most carrots winning at the end... But we like the chaos and randomness that the end provides. That is what this game is all about, random chaos.
 
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Dex Quest
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Pete, I thoroughly agree with that approach. We also play only with the first blue box only (includes the one booster).

The thing I like about smaller pack sizes, and this will sound crazy to folk who like gazillions of cards in any game, is that it ultimately adds more character to cards as they become more familiar - something non-hardcore gamers seems to warm to, too. Super-familiarity can almost add more character to the cards - Oh, how the crowd laughs when the hopeless kitchen whisk is pulled out and fails, yet again, to do any damage, and how everyone winces when the nuke glides across the table.

One other thing about KB is that we, as English gamers, don't understand any of the humour whatsoever. The Mad Scottish baker etc just doesn't make comedic sense this side of the pond
 
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James Engelhardt
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Adding the bunnies from KinderBunnies can help, too.

It's all about the bunnymins.
 
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Max Jamelli
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Shredi Knight wrote:
DrBrewhaha wrote:
it makes one wonder why there is not more love for the game.



DrBrewhaha wrote:
made the jump from the FLGS to the shelves of Target


You answered your own question before you asked it.


I don't think it has anything to do with where you can buy it.
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Laura
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petegrey wrote:


1. I only play with first two boosters.



So do you play with: Blue, Yellow, Red, and Violet

or

Blue, Yellow and Red only?

The Yellow deck is included with the base game, and I always consider the two together "the base game."

I think the idea of paring it down will really improve the game. We had gotten very bogged down using all expansions up to Orange. (Our enthusiasm for the game really got squelched under the increased complexity with the added boosters.)

Thanks!

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Pete Grey
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Yup-Blue, Yellow, Red, and Violet.

I also have added a few extra bunny cards I got as promos and pass out a bunny to everyone to begin with.

I need to play again soon
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Jacob Hall
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No one laughs when I pull out the Green Jell-O with Evil Pineapple chunks in my house. I swear I have a 50% kill ratio with that weapon. (It must be the pineapple chunks).
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