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Subject: The score was close but I won by a hare... rss

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Pete Belli
United States
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"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."

Bunny Hop is a children's memory game with some "gotcha" flavor that features a 10" x 10" mechanically operated plastic carrot patch. This unusual title was published by Educational Insights in 2007. It is a colorful game with silly situations to attract young players and enough action to keep those little hands busy. I paid $3 for my copy at the local thrift store and snagged a bargain.

Bunny Hop can be enjoyed by 2 to 4 players. According to the instructions the game can be played by children age 4 and older. No reading is required. Any child will certainly be able to grasp the basic rules and play the game with no difficulty. The devious strategy of trading bunnies might be a bit challenging for younger kids.

Each child begins the game with five bunny tokens. Two of the bunnies are "lazy" and will not hop out of the board. The other three bunnies will jump up if they are activated by a farmer.

The farmers are color-coded and each contestant picks a color. The choice of farmer is not important to the play experience since all of these farmers will activate the carrot patch in a similar fashion.

The board features twenty holes that are activated when the player's farmer token (located on the corners of the board) is pushed down. The players carefully place their bunnies in the proper holes (color matching again) and the kids must remember which holes contain the "lazy" bunnies that don't hop... hopping bunnies are much easier to collect and collecting bunnies is the path to victory. Younger children might need a bit of coaching on their buuny memorization technique.

The special color die determines which shade of bunny must be selected as the "target" rabbit for this turn. The chosen bunny is pushed down to engage the spring-loaded carrot patch device and the farmer does his thing... if the bunny hops up the kid grabs it and adds the token to his or her collection. If the die roll ends up on the side with all four colors the child may grab any bunny in the carrot patch. Another result is a trade which requires the kid to trade bunny tokens with another player. Kids with a low tolerance for frustration might find this element of the game annoying.

The first player to collect a set of bunnies in all four colors is the winner.

A kid with some tactical skill will try to force one of the other players to give up a crucial rabbit during a trade. Another sneaky move involves grabbing a previously revealed (but not captured) "lazy" bunny that another player desperately needs before the other kid gets his or her turn.

There will be some laughing and playful shouting... plus a little teasing. The mechanical board doesn't make much noise but this is probably not a game to schedule for quiet time. The bunnies only hop a few inches above the board so there is almost zero danger of a projectile injury.

I enjoyed messing around with this game. Adults playing with kids can "accidentally" make a careless rabbit selection and allow a child to squeeze out a win. Since I'm a nasty jerk the final score in my sample game left me with a one bunny advantage.
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