Another game I’ve been introduced to recently is the seductively titled Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot.
The object of the game is to collect carrot cards, with the hope that the coveted magic carrot ends up being in your possession at the end of the game. The player with the magic carrot wins. This goal may sound pretty straightforward, but getting there is anything but. In order to get carrots, you have to have bunnies in play, and there are a myriad of weapons and other means by which your killer bunnies can kill the killer bunnies that other players are using to kill yours. Suddenly you’re not spending so much time securing carrots as you are in unleashing fluorine gas and the Ebola virus on your enemies’ bunnies, or in keeping your own ranks reinforced.
Like many games, Killer Bunnies sounds a lot more convoluted on paper than it is in practice; it actually doesn’t take too long to learn the basic operations. The trickeiest part is that each specific card has its own rules on how it can be played, but those you can just figure out as you draw them or as they otherwise come into play.
For most people, I think the obvious drawback to Killer Bunnies will be its randomness—”random” not so much in that it is silly and has a quirky premise, but “random” in the sense that many unexpected things happen without immediately discernible logic. For example, many players may be startled (this one still startles me) to reach the end of the game and have all other successes or failures invalidated by an almost completely arbitrary lottery to see who happens to have the winning carrot. Other surprises might occur as unfairly powerful cards come into play: weapons cards that obliterate whole groups of bunnies with a single stray asteroid, a “Mystery Urn” card that results in one player winning a ridiculously large pot of other people’s bunnies, a “Heavenly Halo” card that makes one bunny virtually invulnerable, “Terrible Misfortune” cards that instantly kill one of your own bunnies when you unwittingly draw them. These kinds of things will really grate on some more serious gamers, who may misguidedly think that the person who plays the game most skillfully should be the one to win.
Now, I know many fans of the game use point systems to at least reduce or eliminate the end-of-game randomness, and you can probably find a well-tested method online (the system we came up with right before my second game served us pretty well). At some point, though, you have to recognize—in case you didn’t catch it in the title or premise of the game—that Killer Bunnies was never meant to be taken all that seriously.
So, if you can’t take joy in a somewhat ridiculous journey, you’d probably be better off playing something else. If, however, you need an excuse to get some cool people around a table together for an hour and a half, this game definitely does the job, and unlike Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, there’s enough substance here to keep everyone amused and mentally engaged.
My grade: B