Thanks to Wonderbrow Games for providing a review copy of this game.
Hunters of the Lost Creatures is an upcoming 3-4 player card game from Wonderbrow Games. You’re trying to hunt for different creatures in order to populate your wildlife park, but you’re competing with others who have the same idea. The game features lots of animal based puns and art to match.
The game is quite simple. For setup, all you have to do is separate the four decks (Sea, Air, Forest, and Steppe) and shuffle a randomly selected Cat-a-pult or Turnado into each. The top card of each deck is revealed. Each player gets a set of four Hunters, one for each land type, and three Park Closed cards.
Each round, you’ll choose a Hunter to play. All players will reveal at the same time, and if you are the only one who chose that particular Hunter type, you get the visible card from that deck. If more than one player chose that Hunter type, no one gets the card, and if everyone chose that Hunter type, the card is removed from the game. You’ll then reveal new cards from the decks that had cards taken, and continue.
As you continue to play, you may get new special cards that can be played instead of a Hunter in a round. These include:
- Cat-a-pult: Remove a card from a player’s park from the game.
- Turnado: Swap two cards between any two players’ parks.
- Thief: Steal a card from another player’s park.
You also have your Park Closed cards, which can be played so that nothing gets in or out of your park on this turn. In other words, none of the other special cards do anything against you.
The game ends when only one hunting area has any cards left. You score ten points for having 1-2-3 in a color, and thirty for also having the 0 and 10. All cards not part of one of those combos scores face value, and the high score wins.
I got a pre-release copy of this game, and some things have already been changed, so I can’t speak on final quality. Art is fairly cartoonish, and all the card names are some sort of pun. Like the Goldfish, which is a swimming bar of gold. Or the Smellephant, which is an elephant that smells. That kind of thing.
Thematically, it’s fun to be hunting for these weird creatures for your park. There are some unique creatures – there’s only one each of the 0, 10, and -10 values for each color – and several copies of the 1s, 2s, and 3s of each color. You get to select your four hunters for each game, but there’s no functional difference between them – no extra abilities or anything. In fact, the flavor of each is just that they’re someone who would be hunting in that land type, but we usually just ended up referring to them as their color. It is nice that there are 16 different hunters as it gives your hand a sense of uniqueness. But they’re all the same.
Game play is very simple. Choose a card and hope no one else also did. It’s sort of a modified rock-paper-scissors mechanism where you’re not trying to beat the other player, but just hoping they didn’t pick what you did. In fact, you’re hoping they picked what the other players did. There are some times you might pick something to try to prevent someone else from getting it.
Which brings us to the take-that mechanism, which is something I very rarely actually like in games. My problem with it usually is that it’s very random. Someone happens to get a card and is able to use it to harm someone else’s game. I think this game handles it better because everyone has the exact same chance of getting a take-that card. You have to play a hunter to match its type and hope no one else is going for it. In my experience, this often results in the take-that card just getting discarded. Which is OK too. If someone does get one, they can be pretty devastating. So, I think it works fairly well here.
The game is very light, and you could honestly play fairly randomly and still get fairly good results. That’s more or less what my six-year-old daughter was doing when we played, and she won. It was a pretty close game because I managed to play a -10 card on her (yes, even on my own daughter), but she won. Which is weird, because they say in the description that it’s a game that it’s a game you can win against your buddies or lose to your six-year-old kid. So, it’s not really a strategic game, but one that you can turn your brain off for a while. Which you need every once in a while.
IS IT BUZZWORTHY? Hunters of the Lost Creatures is not necessarily a game I think I would recommend to more serious gamers. However, it’s a pretty decent and accessible casual game that you can play with people who are just hanging around, or with family, or really any time. It’s fast, it’s portable, and it’s good for some laughs. The game is supposed to start its crowdfunding game next week, and I’ll post a link when I have it.
Thanks again to Wonderbrow Games for providing a review copy of Hunters of the Lost Creatures, and thanks to you for reading!
(Also just wanted to celebrate my 1100th post on this blog! Yay!)