There seems to be a number of new card games hitting store shelves and gaming tables these days, and among those is Hunting Party.
Two things sell a card game.
If you have a chance to look at the cards then the artwork is a definite draw.
Credit Hunting Party with some effective artwork.
The game revolves around the idea of an African safari, and the artwork reflects that theme with a healthy dose of the feel of the colonies at their height. Artists include Andrew Hepworth,Janine Johnston, Jim Pinto, and Vaughn Reynolds, and the quartet has done a fine job.
You certainly won't turn away from Hunting Party based on the art.
Of course the second draw to a game is the way it plays.
Designer Jeff Siadek has done a nice job capturing the idea of a big game safari in a game which accommodates two-to-five players.
From the game rules, they come on two sides of a small paper insert, the object is pretty straight forward, "gain the most points from trophies and your secret goal at end of game."
In general terms game play is surprisingly straight forward too. "Each player is a Hunter on safari in darkest Africa. Each round represents one day, during which Hunters choose their actions (Camp, Shoot or Flee) and then attempt in turn to influence the party’s fate. After all Hunters have had a turn, the final Fate affects the party as a whole and each Hunter individually, and a new round begins. The game ends when the Fate deck is exhausted or the turn after one of the Hunters dies."
The cards are actually divided into four different decks within the game, easily identifiable by different colour backs; action, fate, hunter and goal cards.
The cards are pretty standard in terms of quality, although having a black border on both sides is a bit of an issue. If you have ever collected sports cards you will know black borders are easily marked and can detract from value. Here the aesthetics become affected as the black borders will not likely last.
So if you really like this game after a play or two grab some card sleeves and protect the cards.
It is interesting that on the Board Game Geek website one comment was that since the game revolves around shooting (animals) the game is not family friendly. That seems a bit of a stretch. How do you teach children to play chess them since it is a war game? If such a thing is a concern, be forewarned I suppose.
What I did find interesting is the designer notes on the rule sheet. It is always interesting to see how a game goes from idea to gaming table. In this case Siadek states, "Hunting Party went through several iterations including directional shoot cards and reloads, but players just weren’t getting enough trophies so I ditched them. I also took out the Fate card that made everybody discard a trophy because it just made things suck more rather than making things cooler. This game languished on my back burner for a long time because I was worried it looked like I was ripping off my own “LifeBoat.” I got over it. Hunting Party stands on its own."
I certainly agree Hunting Party stands on its own. The art, theme and mechanics all hold together nicely.
It won't replace cribbage as my favourite card game, but it is a fun new alternative.
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-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Feb 8, 2012 - Yorkton, SK. Canada