Bandido (2016) Review
Agents, we just learned that one of the most dangerous criminals is trying to escape from our prison. Nobody has ever escaped from here. This can not happen. We are counting on you. Take all the time it takes but you have to bring him back. I entrust you with shovels and flashlights to pursue him. Sorry ? To do what ? I did not warn you? Let's say the prisoner seems to have dug tunnels all over the prison. It's up to you to discover them and block all the possible exits. It will not be an easy task but I trust you. You are my best agents (among those who have not gone on vacation). You can not fail ... can you?
Bandido is a small card game in the "mini" range from Helvetiq. This is a game by Martin Nedergaard Andersen (author of Hippo, among others). Offering a cooperative, one to four player game, where they have to block the prisoner who is trying to escape from his cell.
First of all, you must choose the difficulty. It could not be easier. The prisoner is represented by a tile whose number of exits varies (from six to five). Once the meaning of this tile is chosen and positioned in the center of the table, the game can begin.
Each player has three cards in their hand. In turn, an agent must connect one of their cards to those already on the table. Then, draw a new card. That's all it is. The rules are indeed explained in a very short time and of course no need to return to the book. Simple is not it?
As much as the way of playing is extremely simple, the victory is far from being as simple. Each map offers different paths, openings going in all directions. A player is content to close an exit while another frustratingly finds themself opening three new ones. Because the difficulty lies in the fact that in turn, players must play a card. So, to do so with those in your hand is not always easy. We were often stuck in choosing the worst card, so as not to penalize our team too much.
All the salt of the game lies in this constant choice of the least worse. Of course, sometimes, plans are made on two pillars of thinking, effectively closing roads. Except that in the meantime, other players may have played new cards, completely upset your plan. Because even if the game is a cooperative, players can not show their cards. So, it is imperative to discuss between yourselves at the risk of being stuck.
The laying rule is simple. You must complete one of the tunnels by placing a card. This card can be positioned as you wish. It is just necessary that each part connected to the other card already in play corresponds perfectly. You can not, for example, create a path that leads to a wall.
To help you, some cards have flashlights. Torches can effectively close outlets. But it's not so simple. Already, they are not numerous and often, they do not completely close the paths, proposing for example another exit on it. You will have to think about when to play them and how to position them. These cards are clearly some of the most important of the game. Although it is possible to close a road without one. But this second option involves a more difficult and longer preparation (while being very dependent on the communication between the players).
Bandido is a clever game that theoretically does not take much space. Theoretically, because it is a small box easily transportable. The cards are also small. Except it's a card game. In other words, the cards will accumulate on the table and the tunnels will grow continuously. There is a little flaw because contrary to what you think of the box size, you will finally need enough space for playing to enjoy the game better. We then go to an easily playable game that can go anywhere, constrained by the available space. It will then make some concessions to enjoy the best of the game at any time. In this range, Bandido is perhaps the least practical game.
Thematic level, the game quickly finds its limits. You will be more likely to focus on what cards to play, rather than imagine running in tunnels in order to stop a prisoner. The graphics are also quite (too?) sober or dull. One can imagine that the choice was to privilege visibility at the expense of immersion. At this level, the game is very readable.
Small in size, Bandido is a pretty interesting game that offers a good challenge. Depending on the configurations and games, the game can be played very fast or continue until the end of the draw. Easily playable, it can suit any type of player and the whole family. The luck of the draw offers a very good replayability. A replayability that, for most players can be contrasted by the repetitiveness of the mechanism on several plays. In addition, with so much chance, the game sometimes becomes really uncontrollable, except knowing the cards by heart.
The youngest will find a good entry-level in the cooperative world. Easy to get out, easy to explain, with a fairly short game duration, Bandido can be an interesting challenge for the whole family. It also has a good price choice in relation to the content of the game, which is a not insignificant.
The cards are very readable. The game will require more space than the box can make you think. The rules are simple, clear and do not suffer from any questions. The illustrations are generic and sober which allows good visibility at the expense of immersion.
A good entry level in the cooperative game. Simple in the rules but with a good challenge, the game offers cheerfulness especially with the family.
Technical note 7/10
Unlike the size of the box, the game will require a lot of room to enjoy it (even if it is possible to move cards when placed). The illustrations are quite minimalist but everything is very readable. The rules are clear and easy to remember.
My BGG score 6.5 / 10
(Ok game, will play if in the mood)
Bandido offers a good challenge thanks to a luck of the draw. Ideal entry in the world of the cooperative, especially for the youngest, the game unfortunately offers its limits quickly. Sometimes uncontrollable, it can give the feeling of frustration when you can’t do something. For most players, repeatability can occur. Note that the game may be longer than advertised.
Combined score of 6.75 / 10
And now it's up to you...
Thank you to Helvetiq for allowing us to discover the game
Kariba (2010) Review
Kariba clearly has a little air of Noah in it’s theme or in the approach of the period. But we are faced with two games that are very different. Kariba is a little Reiner Knizia card game from Helvetiq. Once again, we are in the range of small boxes from this publisher. Little box, little pleasure? That's what we'll see together.
Kariba plunges us into the animal world. In terms of material, one finds a kind of hexagonal track with encrypted sides from 1 to 8. Each figure corresponds to a type of animals which is found on the cards. For example, the 8 will match the elephant and the 1 to the mouse. In other words, all 8 value cards will be elephants. The rest of the components consists of a deck of 64 cards.
Kariba's principle is very simple. Each player has a hand of cards. In turn, a player must play one or more cards of the same species of animals. Be careful, the goal is not to discard cards but to have the most at the end of the game. But then, why play multiple cards? Will you tell me... I would answer that very good question, but you are a little fast since I haven't the heart of the game. Yes, it is true it was a trap, I will go back to my explanation ...
The cards played go directly to their section. If I play rhinoceros, which corresponds to number 7, I play it at this location only. Once the cards are placed, we check the number of animals of this type present. If there are three or more cards placed, then the animal in question scares its direct neighbor. For example, if there are three or more zebras in location 3, they will scare the meerkats (number 2). We do not take into account the number of animals that are afraid. Fleeing animals are collected by the player who has just played. Of course, if there are no cards in the direct neighbor, we continue to follow the numerical descending order.
We can then say that elephants being the largest number, they are afraid of nothing. But the author thought about it, reassuringly. Even the biggest animal is always afraid of the smallest. Remember the Disney movie, Dumbo ... Yes, mice scare elephants. But pay attention, they only scare these big pachyderms. So, if there are none and there are more than three mice when you add one, you do not pick up anything.
Kariba is a game of positioning cards but especially opportunist. You have to know how to play your cards at the right time in order to collect the most cards while trying to give less opportunity to your opponents. Do not hesitate to keep cards to play at the right time at the risk of benefiting the other.
This is a clever little game, easy to learn and play. For once, you can not only easily carry it, but also easily play anywhere. The graphics of the game are Felix Kindelan. This illustrator is a regular in this range. In order to correspond to the greatest number, especially to the youngest ones, the choice was to give a "cute" aspect to the animals. This is an interesting bias that does not interfere with the game, even if it may surprise.
Composant level, everything fits perfectly in the box. We can however a little quibble on the track. Indeed, once out of the box, by being bent inside, it is difficult to lie flat on the table. Perhaps it would have been better to make a puzzle cut so that everything fits better in storage. But that does not spoil the pleasure and the track remains an accessory. It only serves to indicate where to place the cards according to numbers.
For once, this is a small game ideal for holidays or for players who move regularly. Once the rules are read, you will not return. The game is explained quickly and we can easily chain games, especially for the short term. It is an ideal format for children.
Level gameplay, without being very pushed, Kariba still allows good little moments of reflection. We learn to manage our hand. Is it better to collect the cards now or wait until there is more, at the risk of seeing them pass under your nose? One can also choose to set up traps or play cards "breaking" the possibility of taking a lot of cards for an opponent. There is a little deceptinal side not devoid of interest.
Of course, the luck of the draw is an important element. However, given the duration of the games and the finally quite unpredictable system of laying cards, luck does not frustrate the players so much. In addition, it gives everyone the opportunity to win.
This little collection game is a nice surprise. Appetizer, aperitif game or holiday game, will easily find its audience. Even if it does not revolutionize the genre, it proposes a purified challenge. Aimed more towards a family audience, it will find its place for a moment even among the majority of players.
Technical note 9/10
Component level, apart from the track that we would have liked less bent, everything is of good quality. The illustrations allow everyone to play without being offended. Simple to carry, not taking much more, it makes it a serious competitor for all your travels.
My BGG score 7.5 / 10
(Good little game that is easy to play with family)
Kariba is a nice little card collection game. Without revolutionizing the genre, it offers proven, refined mechanisms that work with pleasure. Its duration is a big plus, to be able to easily get out with family (especially with the youngest, while allowing satisfaction for the adults too). A good pick in a small box.
Combined score of 8.25 / 10
And now it's up to you...
Hippo (2017) Review
During the holidays, we often look for a way to take the most games with us. Thus, when we have less space, we do not hesitate to mix boxes, using the largest to carry several other smaller games. A clever system, but that can sometimes be a bit problematic to navigate. It is true that the current trend for publishers is to make more larger game boxes without the content following. We end up with boxes sadly half empty or with thermoformages that hide miseries. In a context of lack of spaces, this notion can be used as motivation in the purchase factor or on the contrary, be a cause of non-purchase.
Helvetiq understood this problem in a new range of games. Here, we are close to the Japanese "minimalism" in terms of size and content. Small box, little material but a fast game that works and is not just there to make a tapestry. So I have decided to tell you about this range that surprised us pleasantly. The first one on the grill is the recent Hippo.
Hippo is a game by Martin Nedergaard Andersen to whom we owe especially the famous Bandido which launched this range. The few illustrations are from Sarah Bourquin who has already operated on the friendly Forest. You’ll be facing a fast game of around ten minutes, open to players as young as six.
The game consists of three dice, small cardboard buoy tokens in the colors of the four players, and twelve box-size tiles that act as pools. After taking the time to align the tiles in numerical order (normally it's not too complicated), you're ready to play. Each player has twelve tokens. The goal of the game is to be the first to get rid of all of these tokens. If that happens, it's an immediate victory.
On each players turn, you will roll the three dice. Once the three figures are obtained, the player whose turn it is will be able to try to get rid of their tokens. For this, they will be able to put them in the pools according to the numbers. So you can choose to put a token on the three numbers or combine the dice values to make stronger combinations (but in this case discard less tokens).
But beware, in the pool there are not enough places for everyone. On pools 1 to 6, you have three possible lines, each of which can accommodate a buoy. From 8 to 12, there are only two locations per digit. So when you have to put a buoy and there are no more places where you want to go, you just push everyone. In other words, the player whose chip is thrown out of the pool, retrieves it and will have to get rid of it again on a future turn. Simple but cunning.
As you have probably noticed, there is a number I did not tell you about: 7. The 7 is a special combination that gives the right to a special action. Pool 7 is occupied by Hippo. He decided to help you all. Thus, on his space, there is no expulsion. All buoys are welcome. But that's not all. Hippo to thank you for playing with him, even allows you to take another turn. And this, without limitation. In other words, if the turn after you redo a seven, you start again. And so on.
As you have probably deduced, Hippo is a little dice game where luck is important. It can happen that in a turn, a player gets rid of all or almost all their dice without the others to stop them. But Hippo is above all a simple, fast and fun game.
It's great accessibility makes it possible to play in families big or small without problems. This is one of it great strengths because you can easily play with the youngest. The rules are explained in a few seconds and the games can be linked quite quickly. The youngest will even see a way to learn the calculations without really feeling it. The little cunning side of the game is a real pleasure. Expelling another to settle a score will make you laugh through your little smile. We then witness a reversal of the environment factor situation.
Pool 7 provides a safe place for the youngest children, where they can make a roll feel safer and less likely to be excluded from a location. Although it ultimately makes the game easier, it also allows the game not to drag on. Which is a big plus for this type of game.
For the big players, as much as you prepare for it, you will finally have little influence on the game. The strategy is quite limited and the degree of action too. Repetitiveness can sometimes show it’s ugly head. This aspect is however counterbalanced by short and lively games.
It can of course be blamed for being too easy (I think in particular with the pool 7) or its buoys tokens being a bit below the quality of the rest. This remains quite minimal and not at all disturbing especially when compared to the proposed price. By cons, two players, the game loses its interest, the available space being too important to effectively benefit from the exclusion system. From three players, it works very well.
Very simple, quick to install and offering short games, it is ideal as an aperitif game or as a travel game. Easy to carry thanks to a very small box, the game is ideal to accompany you on vacation and to be played in any type of transport, especially with young. The turns are linked quickly, the game is dynamic and has no timeouts. In its category, Hippo will find his audience and especially entertain you.
Technical note 8/10
We can blame the cheap side of the buoys tokens compared to the rest of the components. The rules are simple and well written. The game offers a pretty cute look that can be easily apprehended by the whole family and any type of players. Its small size ensures a transportability difficult to beat.
My score BGG 7/10
(Good - usually willing to play)
Simple, fun, fast. We are clearly in a range of games studied to provide immediate pleasure. Hippo adapts to any type of audience (especially family and child) and allows to spend a short time without getting bored. Random allergic move your way. Its short duration clearly plays in its favor compared to what it brings in terms of gameplay and sensations.
Combined score of 7.5 / 10
And now it's up to you...