So, we here at Serenity Blue have been playing this game for quite awhile. We Kickstarted it actually. We LOVE this game! We were horribly saddened to find that the company who created this game (1A Games) seemed to have gotten themselves in a bit of a bind with another of their titles. This put further expansions of Cross Hares on what we assume is a permanent hold (but being glass-half-full people, maybe we'll say indefinite instead and leave a little hope that maybe they can pick up the pieces and bring us a Volume 2!).
Cross Hares: Volume 1: Testing Ground is a game basically summed up as a bunch of rabbit heroes adventuring across the Testings Grounds to the Factory to defeat the (one of six different) Big Bad End Scenarios. The game's replayability lies in the variability of the die rolls in many aspects of the game. Some games you relentlessly send friends back to the start for the better part of an hour, other times it is a mad dash to the factory to be the first there. You can strategize and choose a character with specific intentions in mind (i.e. choosing the character who allows you to wait at the factory for the second place finisher to arrive only to roll off against them instead of taking your chances against the Factory fates). You can just bounce through the game, rolling with the punches and having a grand old time just appreciating the hilarious little tidbits cleverly concealed within the treasure, Testing Ground and Event cards. Sometimes, you'll even be the bunny in dead last that overtakes the front runners who've been dogging each other so much, they couldn't stop little ol' you from bopping right by and stealing the win out from under their noses.
Setup isn't very difficult with this game. You look through the character cards and choose your critter, shuffle three decks of cards and set them in their clearly marked spots on the board, then set out the tokens where everyone can reach. We like to sort the tokens into two piles for ease during game play (items and specialty markers). Some of the other tokens, such as traps, may also be needed during game play, so keep them handy as well.
Cross Hares has three dice. The Movemenet (green) die is used at the start of your turn to determine if you will move or roll the Research die. The Research (blue) die determines if you will gain a token, advance the Event deck, or go on an Adventure. The Challenge (red) die is used for attack rolls, as well as other versus rolls during events, adventures, and Testing Ground face-offs. The dice are larger than a standard D6 but they are easy to use, seem to be rather well balanced and are brightly colored which makes them fun. The rate at which you get to roll the blue dice varies so much between games it's crazy. Some games you'll roll adventures left and right, sometimes you'll get a whole lot of tokens or change the events whereas other times, you'll barely-if ever- touch the blue die at all. The dice rolls make the game unpredictable in terms of what's going to happen, while still allowing you enough room for your strategy to play out.
The art of the game is fantastic. From adorable little ninja bunnies, to some really creepy bad guys, the art is cohesive and fun. The Rule Book seems pretty comprehensive to us. I don't believe we've ever played a game where we had to look something up only to face the frustration of finding no answer (we all know that feeling, the one where you all take turns skimming this monster of a manual only to all fail to find what apparently never happened during a playtest). It's easy to read, pretty straight forward and explains the game very nicely with just a tinge of humor that strikes our funny bones just right. The game board itself is neat and the separate starting zones (four in all) begins things off with an important decision... do you take the shortest route with less chance to accumulate tokens, or the longest path with more chances to gain some advantages.
There are seven types of spaces-or zones- you can land on. Blank spaces do nothing. Strong Hold spaces let you draw a Strong Hold card which allows you to do things like steal cards from others, send people back spaces, take another turn or just offer you benefits that can help you on your journey. A Testing Ground space allows you to draw from the Testing Ground deck and generally has you fighting something like the Undead or Animal Attacks. Sometimes, you get sent forward, other times you get sent backwards. Specialty Zones get you Specialty markers, just as an Item Zone will get you an Item marker. And finally, the Event Activation Zone. This space activates the card face up in the Event Deck's discard pile. These cards can be brutal. We've played numerous times where these cards have effectively restarted a nearly completed game!
Rolling an A on the Research die is always fun... it may not end well, but it was fun while it lasted. Adventures are generally quite rare as it is basically the equivalent of rolling two sixes in a row. You search through the stack of Adventure cards and choose the one belonging to the territory you are in. Each Adventure is different and some are more difficult than others. One of our favorites is the Water Adventure. "Regardless of how this adventure started, it ended with you and the twins in the pond together." It only gets better from there. Trust me.
When you reach the Factory, you roll the Challenge Die to see which of the six scenarios apply to you. Some of them are super simple- like, you literally just won the game doing nothing- others, you face wave after wave of rolling just right or you are doomed.
All in all, we love this game. We come back to this game every couple months or when there's been a lull in our collective groups of friend's Kickstarting/acquisition of new games. It's a tried and true winner for everyone who's played it- even those who aren't all that into gaming. It's goofy charm and simplicity make for great game nights with friends, while even the competitive gamers amongst us enjoy scheming up new ways to get ahead. I'm not sure why this hasn't been a super popular seller, but it's totally worth a go!
Here's something new!!! So, here at Serenity Blue, we aren't a brick and mortar store, and that has made our ability to get some publishers' games bleak at best. Sometimes, we just can't compete with other sellers who buy more than we do, so we've decided that we will carry what we can carry and when we can't we'll point you to Amazon (one of our favorite places to shop). The link below will take you Amazon and don't panic about the first price you see! There are plenty of other options in the "Other New" tab- and most of them are Prime Eligible!!! This game is definitely worth $25+ and will provide hours of fun! So gather some friends and give it a go!!!