This game was built using the Cheapass Games paradigm of including no bits that you can't easily cannibalize from other games. At the time of this writing, it retails for just $2.50 American. It consists of just three sheets of poster board in a paper envelope; the game board is on two sheets and the rules are on the third. The art printed on the game board is a 3-D computer rendering that looks really sharp, even though it's only black and white. You have to provide your own die and tokens.
This game is basically a variant of Mancala. It takes the pick-up-and-drop-on-your-way-to-the-scoring-bin mechanic of Mancala and adds the following:
A silly theme. Devil Bunny wants to destroy civilization by producing bad taffy. The players are all his taffy machines who have taken it upon themselves to foil this plan by breaking themselves. The only way they can do this is by luring squirrels into the factory and into the machines to gum up their works. The first machine to trap six squirrels breaks down, and thus wins the game. I'll bet you didn't know that Mancala could support a theme so well.
Variable paths. The pieces move along a star-shaped network of branching paths that can accomodate five players.
A mostly random element that either adds a new piece or picks which stack you can move.
A screw-you mechanic in the form of the Devil Bunny.
My old gaming group only played this once. It was just too simple and light for our tastes. Also, the Devil Bunny mechanic may be broken, or at the very least inefficient. You're supposed to move him to an opponent's machine so he can remove squirrels from it. The problem is that in order to move him more than one space, you must first set him up on a big pile of squirrels. In other words, you have to leave the board in a better position than you found it, a major no-no in games with community pieces. It seemed to me that it was dispropotionately less risky to raise your own score than to try to drag someone else's down. That risk would become acceptable if everyone were trying to gang up on the leader, but I don't envision a runaway leader popping up very often in such a simple game.
On the plus side, we all liked the theme. It had us giggling right up until the last turn. It might have been even better if we used squirrelly looking bits, like the flying units from Warcraft.
The Bottom Line
If you like Mancala or other fillers with simple, basic mechanics, then you'd probably like this. If you like games with more weight and/or chrome, then you probably won't.
Fortunately, since it costs almost nothing, and takes up almost no shelf space, there should be no big dilema over whether or not to make the investment for those of you out there who aren't sure.
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It might have been even better if we used squirrelly looking bits, like the flying units from Warcraft.
Sweet! I'm not sure if I will ever play DBHtE again, but I think I will have to place it in the Warcraft box until I do.