Spotlight Series: Bunny Kingdom

This week at the shop, come check out Richard Garfield’s Bunny Kingdom. Bunny Kingdom is a card drafting and territory control game where players are conquering a newfound world on behalf of the great Bunny King! The game consists of four rounds, and each round has 3 different phases.

The Exploration Phase comes first. Each player starts with a hand of cards, they then choose two cards to play and pass their hand to the next player. There are three different kinds of cards, including territory, building, and parchment. Territory cards allow you to place rabbits on the board to gain control. Building cards allow you to build a the end of the round, or in a future round. Parchment cards are placed face-down and are not revealed until the end of the game. You pick and pass cards until they run out, and move to the second phase.

In the Construction Phase, players have the choice of building the cards they chose in past exploration phases. There are a few restrictions for building. For instance, you can only build on territories that you can control, and you must respect building requirements. For example, you cannot build a mushroom farm on a water tile, it would have to be built on a forest. Other special buildings are camps, which can only be built on empty territories, and sky towers. Sky towers come in pairs and allow you to connect separate fiefs, which we will explain more in the next phase.

The final phase is the Harvest Phase. This is where players gain their carrots (victory points). Points are calculated based on the strength and wealth in your fiefs. First, fiefs are connected territories under your control. So, tiles where you have adjacent bunnies, not diagonally. There is also lava flowing in the mountains that can separate connectivity. Calculate the strength multiplied by the wealth in each of your fiefs, where strength is the total power number from cities, and wealth is the number of different resources produced. After all players add up their points and move their bunny on the victory point tracker, begin the next round. The game ends when all 4 rounds are over. Reveal any parchment cards and calculate those final points. The player with the most points is honored with the title “Big Ears!”

Drafting games are exciting, planning out your own strategy as well as trying to anticipate and interrupt another player’s plan can be rewarding, or frustrating if you’re on the receiving end. Bunny Kingdom is unique in that you also have to worry about board control, as well as making sure your territories are diverse in their resource production. Your strategy also needs to be flexible, since someone could ruin your plans by drafting cards you need or blocking you from completing a fief.

This game is suitable for up to four players, and they add a variant in two player games. Expect a game to last about an hour, depending on number of players and how quickly they take to draft. Bunny Kingdom is a pretty quick game to learn, and would make a great introduction to the card drafting mechanic, with some more depth.

Some similar games if you are interested in Bunny Kingdom are 7 Wonders, a card drafting game in which players build on their own wonder of the world to produce resources, build an army, or making scientific strides. In Sushi Go! draft with your friends to create the best sushi meals by gaining points in each round. Draft tiles instead of cards in the crowd favorite Azul. This game has beautiful components and was one of the more popular games of 2017 and is still definitely worth a look at.

Next week we are playing Call to Adventure, a character-driven fantasy storytelling game. Play as a questing adventurer, acquiring traits and overcoming challenges. Will you grow to become a great hero or stumble down a path to darkness? Join us next week to find out!