Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over 18 months and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every other Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Wiiiilsooooon!:- HUNGER: The Show


GameHUNGER: The Show

Publisher: Phalanx Games

DesignerPim Thunborg
 
Year20
17

Hunger: The Show is a 2-6 player card game in which you attempt to forage for food and raft supplied to survive, and ultimately win a survival TV show. You’ll have to frequently forage for food to survive, which is hard enough with the limited resources on the island. Other participants might decide to steal from your stash of food while you are distracted foraging, you could spend your day guarding your stash... but then you wouldn’t be getting any food!

Hunger: The Show is played on a small board located inside the game box, a bit of a questionable choice as the walls of the box make it a bit hard for 6 people to all be able to see. The board has 4 locations, though some of these will be locked off in smaller player count games so as to keep everyone interacting. Each turn you choose a combination of 2 cards, one location, and an action to do there. The actions are pretty simple, gather meat, fruit or raft materials all let you get 2 pieces if you are the only person in the area, 1 if 2 people are doing it and nothing if 3+ are in the area (you just fight and get no work done). Thieves steal everything gathered at the location unless stopped by a guard, who shakes down the thief for supplies and gets paid a little by everyone they protected. If thieves or guards are in an area where no gathering/thieving is happening then they get a few coconuts while they waste their day (these are mere scraps of food compared to meat/fruit).

A game set up for 2 players, each player starts with enough canned food to keep them alive for 5 rounds, if you want to make it to the end you'll have to find more, and guard what you already have!

Probably the biggest problem I have with Hunger: The Show is that it really isn’t a 2-player game, in the two player mode you are restricted to 2 locations, one of which is the camp so you can’t even gather items there. This makes being a thief far easier as there’s no real benefit of being a guard bar stopping the thief, if there was another area to gather from then at lest you could avoid them and make the thief waste a turn. But instead you are in a situation where, if your opponent is gathering food, then you know where they will be! There isn’t any shame in making a 3 player plus game, Hunger: The Show actually works well with three (or more) players. But you shouldn’t put 2 player on the box when it simply doesn’t work.

The balance of food shortages is really good, you need 4 food to survive, with food tokens generally having 1-4 food on each that means that a turn spend gathering 2 tokens will only net you an average of 1.5 days of supplies! It’s quite easy for areas to become farmed out of certain resources too, which makes the game even more desperate as it progresses into the final rounds. The end of game card is hidden in the last 6 cards of an 11 card event deck, we found if it was much past turn 7 then at least someone was starving to death. I do like how you have to make tough decisions between maintaining you food supply, draining your opponents and gathering raft supplies for actual points, which only matter for people who make it to the end.

Supplies are hard to come by, it takes 4 food to survive a day on the island... yes that can be 4 whole chickens... it's called snacking!

Hunger: The Show is a light game focused on predicting your opponents actions, it’s quick to play, so even if you are knocked out you aren’t out for long, but ultimately, is it fun? Well yes, but not as much as I’d like it to be. If you really love the theme of survival Island TV shows then there is enjoyment to be had, and you can probably get non-gamers to play it if they like the theme too, but the game is distinctively average. The board being on the inside of the box feels like a cost cutting exercise to the detriment of use and the art, while nice, is a bit to bubbly and happy for a desperate fight for survival. In its credit it does work well with large player counts and makes for an inoffensive filler game, there are just better choices out there.

5/10

HUNGER: The Show was a review copy provided by Phalanx Games.

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