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BUNNY KINGDOM arrived on the scene, from Iello, around 4 years ago (maybe 5) and deserves another shout now because it is such an enjoyable, cute and fun game, which you may have missed out on.

It is a Richard Garfield game, but it is as far away from Magic the Gathering(™) as you can get, and it is also far more enjoyable as a social event. MtG is great for collecting, buying and selling, but as a game played between 3-4 people it hasn't the satisfaction of a boardgame - especially one that has oodles of Bunnies.

There is an expansion that arrived in 2019, 'Bunny Kingdoms in the Sky' but for this reflection I am only looking at the basic 2017 game.

  

Each player has a set number of Bunnies in their chosen colour, one of which is placed on the zero spot of the score track which is part of the game board. This game board is made up of a grid with different terrain squares representing Mountains, Plains, Sea, Forests and Towns. During setup the Town squares have a one-towered City piece (a small plastic model) placed on them. Once these are in position and the large deck of cards has been shuffled, you are ready to play the game.

Twelve cards are dealt to each player from the deck and from these each player selects two which they will play this turn - the remainder of the twelve (10, then 8, etc until all cards have been played) are passed to your neighbours. There are four Rounds in the game, each made up of 6 x card phases, 1 x Construction phase and 1 x Scoring phase. After the Scoring phase of the fourth round any cards put aside by each player (tasks, treasures etc) are counted in to discover if you have additional points to add.

At the end of the first Round (all cards have been played) scoring phase the second Round begins. Deal out 12 more cards from the deck to each player, take two as before bu this time pass the remainder of the cards in the opposite direction, thus it's Left (clockwise) for Round One, Right for Round Two, Left for Round Three and finally Right for Round Four.

Everybody plays their two cards and activates them at the same time. One exception is if more than one player has a 'camp' card, in which case the lowest numbered 'camp' is placed first.

The cards drive the game and provide the luck, skill and strategies required. There is one card for every territory (square) on the board. Playing a card with a Grid Number (A1, B7, J5 as examples) means you place a Bunny in that square. There can only already be a Bunny in it if someone has set a camp there, in which case the arriving Bunny trashes the camp and forces the other Bunny to hop along home back to its controlling player. Yes, if there is a Tower on the space you still put a Bunny in it.

Some cards are Scrolls. These are the cards you can keep to score at the end of the fourth Round. Place them face down to one side. Some cards show a Camp, a Sky Bridge, a Building with 1, 2 or 3 Towers, or a Special Resource. These are put face up in front of you until the construction phase, at which point you have the option to build them - there is no cost in cash or resources, you simply place them on the board in a space where you have already got a Bunny. The Camps are again the exception for when you place a camp on the board it is with a Bunny and into any unoccupied space.

 

Camps are generally used as connections although they can be placed in any empty space. If you want to enlarge a fief, a fief can be a single occupied space or a connected group of spaces, you could position a Camp between two groups to make one large fief. This will be broken if the connecting space card is played, either by another player or yourself - if you play a Camp card on your own camp then you remove the camp but leave your Bunny in place.

There are several strategies you can use to try to win. I have yet to find a successful strategy, although I won the last game we played (yesterday), because one of my opponents damaged the scoring of the other opponent and that left me quite free at scoring time.

 

In one game I took the chance on holding Scroll cards and playing less pieces on the board to begin with. This didn't work out with me winning as most of the Scroll cards I had required my having a certain number of pieces on the board or being in position to gather X number of Resources. Next time I collected Building cards and during the Construction Phase I only played those that would enhance my scoring, saving the others until the next Round - playing my Bunnies as best I could towards using the Buildings I had saved.

The only game I won was when I concertedly did my best to balance all aspects of play. My wife had already tried that strategy and not won, so that showed me that this wasn't a game where you could discover one way of playing, stick to it, and win every game.

The players banter and the cute Bunny figurines, plus the beautiful illustrations by Paul Mafayon, along with the around £35.00 price (Zatu) make this a most excellent buy. Definitely a light-fluffy Euro game that is just as pleasant being played by core board gamers as it is by families.

Take Note. Looking at Google having typed in Bunny Kingdom price there is a sales advert from AliExpress stating that Boardgame Kingdom of Rabbits is on sale for £2.530.78. They no longer have any for sale according to their site, but the price comparison still appears on Google. I believe this to be a typo, but just in case, please be aware.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021