Robert Hornbek

Game Development & Exploration

Killer Bunnies

Posted by rHornbek on July 11, 2010

I had heard about this game a few times before.  I had seen it recommended on GameBoardGeek.com and it even popped up as a recommended item on my Amazon.com account.

The concept is pretty simple: collect magical carrots and bunnies while killing your opponents bunnies!

Needless to say I thought this was a game worth checking out, however I could not find a store locally or online that had it in stock.  This past weekend my girlfriend (Sonja) and I were in Santa Barbara and we came across a boardgames store that had one of the starter boxes.  With my positive reenforcement and her passion for cute things she just had to buy it.

We found that only one of the bunnies was all that "killer".

It wasn’t until much later that night that we managed to play the game.  However, before then, on the car ride home, Sonja opened the box and began reading the rules.

At first it sounded pretty straight forward: buy carrots, collect bunnies and kill other bunnies with weapons.  Then there was Cabbage and Water which you could buy with “Kaballa Dallas” which were also called “Bunny Money” to feed your hungry bunnies.  Then the rule book began describing Special cards and Very Special cards that could be played from your hand or played in your Run Stack.  But if you played the Special card from your Run Stack you could also choose to save it for later, but if it was an Aggressive card you couldn’t play it without a bunny…

Once we were done reading the FIRST rule book we began reading the second which described in greater detail how many of the cards worked and under what conditions they did not.  To complicate things even more there was a section at the end of the second book that was titled “Serious Rules for Serious Players”, we stopped reading at that point.

Once we actually started playing the game things became a little more clear, until we read some of the cards.  On many occasions we had to refer back to the rule book simply to clarify what half of the cards really did, simply because the text printed on them made no sense.  One card literally said the following:

“Allows a player to choose and roll either the Orange or twelve-sided die…”

The game came with six dice, each a different colors including orange, however they were all twelve-sided dice!  I don’t know if they were just trying to be funny, or if they really have no idea what they are doing.

We felt by the end of the game what Killer Bunnies really needed was about three or four LESS rules and mechanic.  As I mentioned above there were these things called Run Stacks.  See when you play cards you play them at the bottom of the Run Stack and at the beginning of your turn you can only reveal the card on the top of the Run Stack.  This means cards only work two turns after they are played.  As I also pointed out, there are some cards you cannot play unless you have a bunny, but if the bunny is killed before that card is played it must be discarded instead.  I personally had two bunnies the entire game who both got killed almost immediately.  The rest of the time I was just discarding cards waiting for a bunny which never happened.

We aim to play the game one more time now that we are familiar with the rules.  If it still feels like a pile of crap, we think amending many of the rules may actually make it interesting and fun to play.  There is something about the game that is oddly fun that we want to try and bring out by cutting some of the fat.

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