Before I begin, I received a discount on this game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. If you would rather watch a video of this review check it out below. You can get your own copy here.
I am not quite sure what happened to me that I have become much more of a fan of cuteness in games as I get older. But Bugs help me, I have. I used to be all about gritty, hardcore art…but now, cartoon-y, adorable, and wacky are the styles I gravitate towards the most. So right there, I was immediately interested in Bunny Kingdom. Then when I learned that it was a game that is all about creating a plan, and performing your plan better than everyone else at the table, and there is almost no way to mess with the other player, I knew I had to have it. You see my wife LOVES games that let her create and carry out a plan, I love chaos, and she hates playing games where she can have an awesome plan and I can just crap all over it. So this seemed like a potential gift from the gaming gods.
Card drafting (a bit of chaos), area control (planning), anthropomorphic bunnies, that can (with the expansion) take a rainbow bridge to the sky (adorable). So needless to say expectations were pretty darn high for this one, particularly after I had listened to and watched some fairly glowing reviews of the game over the past few months.
Bunny Kingdom plays over the course of four rounds. In these four rounds you will draft between 10-12 cards each round. Each of these cards correlates to either a specific space on the map, or will give on an upgrade to place on a space on the map you control, or it will include an end game scoring card.
As you place you will slowly claim areas of the board, and build cities in those territories. At the end of each round you will score your fiefs (multiply your cities by the number of goods connected territories produce). Then draw new cards, and the drafting and passing begins again. At the end of the third round you get to score your cards that score at the end of the game, and that is it.
High score wins.
So what do I think?
The artwork on the cards, and the little bunny meeples, and cities are adorable. It is such a cute game to play. In addition, the mechanics around the game are extremely tight. The game is very simple to learn, and simple to play but there is always so much going on every game, that you never quite know what to expect. I also appreciate how the game feels like it is ramping up each round, so that by the end you are agonizing over what cards to pass on because you know that the hand you are passing is filled with cards that will be huge boons to your opponents.
I also think that everything the expansion adds is for the better. It is a bit more variety, and another mechanic or two, but that is all. It really adds tons to the gameplay, without a huge rules overhaul.
This is a deceptively thinky game. On the surface it is a take a card toss out a bunny and move on, but in reality you are having to plan far out in advance, and keep in your brain cards that you have seen in the past, and what the odds of those cards making it back to you are. So while the game looks simply cute and cuddly, in reality there is a lot going on to trip you up.
The expansion board does away with the grid location mechanics of the main board. I do not understand why that is, it simply makes it a little bit confusing when you play. It is fairly easy to over come, but it just does not make sense to me why it is changed.
Bringing it all together
Bunny Kingdom is an absolutely adorable area control card drafting game. Yet, under the cute and fuzzy surface is an intense game of card counting, planning, and just a hint of stealing those cards you think your opponents need. The game is simple to understand, but quite hard to master. The expansion only adds to the game, though it does have an oddly labeled expansion board, that is a bit confusing. With so much going on, and a steady ramp up of action the game is a little prone to analysis paralysis in the late game. This is a very good entry into area control style games.
Yeah…we know what bunnies wanna do with their time…and read isn’t it
* Adorable production
* Deceptively simple game. Easy to learn, but so many ways to blow it
* Expansion adds a ton of great stuff, but has some odd choices with how the extra board is labeled
* Awesome ramp up of action from round to round
* Could be prone to AP
* This is a delightful simple to learn area control and card drafting game