Game: Rhino Hero
Designer: Scott Frisco, Steven Strumpf
A children’s game by HABA is not what you typically find us reviewing at The Game Shelf. We don’t ever play games with kids (we’re waiting for our nieces to get a bit older) but I think we’re probably big kids at heart! We tried Rhino Hero a couple of weeks ago on a visit the Thirsty Meeples in Oxford and had a lot of fun with it, so we’ve got ourselves a copy and played it with a few different groups.
In Rhino Hero you are building a tall thin apartment block from different cards. Each player starts the game with a hand of cards which represent the floors of the tower, which are placed horizontally. On you turn you have to place two walls (folding cards) on the lines depicted on the previous floor and then balance a floor card from your hand on top. It’s then the next players turn, unless you played a floor card with a modification such as reversing the play order or skipping a player. This can really mess with people, because, like games like Uno, the aim of the game is to get rid of all the cards in your hand. You win if you empty your hand, but you lose if you knock over the tower. If someone does knock it over (which has happened in every game we’ve played) then the player with the fewest cards left in hand wins.
|The six different modifiers on floor/roof cards - Make the next player draw an extra card into their hand, reverse the play order, place Rhino Hero, skip a turn and place two cards on your turn. All of the cards also have a variety of wall patterns.|
But where’s the Rhino Hero in all of this? Rhino Hero is a small wooden character who also has to be placed on the tower when a card with his picture on it is played. He has to be placed on the spot and therefore can be used to make the tower very unbalanced. He’s quite heavy so he is often the key feature in making the tower fall, unless you’re also playing the wall patterns to be evil and weight the tower.
The game has a huge amount of visual appeal, especially for something with such simple, cheap components. The cards all have cute cartoon artwork depicting the inhabitants of the tower who are animals doing human day-to-day tasks like brushing their teeth. They have also gone to the level of detail of giving each wall card an outside brick wall and an internal wall with lovely wallpaper. The other visual attraction is of course the spectacle – a typical tower gets to around 2 feet tall (although there are enough cards to take it to 3 feet tall) and you generally have to get up and move around the table to take your turn. If you play this in a public place people are likely to watch!
We obviously enjoy playing heavy games, but we’re not averse to something really quick and really light. I know some gamers would look down on Rhino Hero as a children’s game, but everyone enjoys a game that makes people laugh and trash talk around the table. We’ve played this game a lot as a couple, my parents really enjoyed the game even though they found it a bit silly and I’ve even tried playing by myself to challenge myself to use every card in the box without it falling (I failed). With the right group of people who don’t take their gaming too seriously then Rhino Hero is some cute fun.
I can’t rate the game too highly because it really is simple and isn’t an amazing, unique idea, but it is very enjoyable and I think we’ll play it until the cards wear out from being folded too often. The Yellow Meeple gives Rhino Hero (when played with adults) a 6.5/10.