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Review: Bunny Bunny Moose Moose

Posted by Eisley on 13th December 2009

In Bunny Bunny Moose Moose, players use their hands to make deer antler or bunny ear shapes to score points.  Each turn, one player takes the role of the hunter who reads out a poem and reveals a card at the end of each line.  Only 6 cards are in play at any one time, so the 7th card replaces the 1st card, and so on.  All the other players sit in a row facing the hunter so they can see the cards.  On the table there is a score track and each player has a moose and bunny piece.

The cards show either a moose or a bunny: a moose card can show a mixture of antlers up or down, wide or narrow, and on the left or right or both; a bunny card can show ears straight or floppy, at the side or on top of their heads, and on the left or right or both.  Each card also shows a points value which can be positive or negative.  There are some other cards too which show moose and/or bunnies with their tongues sticking out as well as a card showing a plus/minus symbol.

By placing their hands/fingers on their heads, the players are trying to mimic the antlers or ears shown on the cards so that what they are doing with their hands matches as many of the positive scoring cards as possible, i.e. a player whose left hand is in the shape of an antler pointing upwards would both satisfy a card showing an antler on the left as well as another showing an antler pointing upwards.  Players are also trying to avoid mimicking cards that score negative points (although in some cases it can be worth it if it results in a greater amount of positive points too).  Players can not have a mixture of ears and antlers.

When a hunter card is revealed (and there are at least 6 cards on the table already), the hunter shouts ‘bang’, the players freeze, and each player’s hand positions are scored.  For each card the player has satisfied with their hands’ positions/shapes, they receive the points marked on the card.  Then, the player moves the piece matching the animal they were mimicking, i.e. you move your moose piece if you just had antlers, the number of spaces equal to their total score for the round.  (The hunter scores points each round too by nominating a player at the start of the round and they will score whatever points that player scores.)

When all players have been scored, the players move around one place so that each will have a turn at being a hunter.  After a fixed amount of rounds, the game ends and the winner is the player whose lowest scoring token is the furthest forwards compared to the other players (making it important to develop your scores in both moose and bunny during the game).

Overall, Bunny Bunny Moose Moose is a game of looking a bit foolish and having a lot of fun doing it.  In essence, it sounds simple but it’s actually a lot to think about as the best mixture of hand positions is constantly changing as new cards are revealed and other cards get replaced.  Our game was completely chaotic but that’s the appeal – this isn’t a game to take too seriously because its charm is all in the mad fun.

When you read the rules, it becomes apparent that there are actually a lot of different card types to cope with.  When playing, the cards need to be obvious so your time is spent juggling the different combinations in your head and not deducing the meaning of the cards.  Cards showing wide antlers upwards are easy to grasp, but I did find that it was difficult to immediately remember the difference between cards showing antler upwards either wide or narrow, and antler wide either up or down, bunny ear either top or side.  This isn’t a design or artwork problem of any kind at all – in fact, I think the way these are communicated on the cards is a good visual solution for what is a difficult task.  However, I would suggest that players are introduced to these more complex cards bit by bit rather than on their first attempt, as it’s difficult to have fun when you don’t actually know what a card is telling you, plus scoring can take time without this familiarity.  (The rules do suggest a simplified version at the back, but it doesn’t seem necessary when you’re reading them.)

When I play again, I will remove some cards for the first round or two and then introduce new ones over time so players become familiar with them.  This is especially true of the cards showing animals sticking their tongues out (which mean you move the score marker of the other animal type), and the plus and a minus symbol (which reverses all scores).  The game can be made harder too by using a longer poem so that there are 8 cards simultaneously on display.

Whilst I wish we’d have played a simplified version on our first attempt, I really enjoyed Bunny Bunny Moose Moose.  I don’t see the issue of complexity as a negative because it’s completely adjustable.  I look forwards to playing it over Christmas. 

Bunny Bunny Moose Moose is one of my Top 5 Games for a Family Christmas.

James.

[Played with 5 players]

Note: You can read the rules on the Czech Games web site which gives examples.

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