Rumble in the House
Publisher: Flatlined Games
Designer: Ken Rush
Duration: 20 minutes
Age: 5+ (the box says 8+)
by Andrea “Liga” Ligabue (endless play)
I’m always intrigued when a new author or publisher enters the market. So it was really a lovely surprise to receive a free copy from Flatlined Games of their Rumble in the House, the first title from Ken Rush. German designer and American publisher for an American game winking at Euro Games fans.
Rumble in the House is a light party game, a so called “filler”, whose best qualities are of course speed and dynamism and not depth and strategy … but is not a trivial game!
Twelve characters are leaving peacefully the 12 rooms in the house until suddenly start a fight. In the end only one will remain master of the house!
Rumble in the House is really a very simple game and in my opinion, it can safely be played by 5-6 years old children. To be honest I think, indeed, it is much more suitable as child game than as a product for adults.
Before starting the game you must prepare the mapboard using the 12 rooms. Each room is a rectangle (all the same size) with 4 exits printed on both side: the amount of possible different combinations is huge.
I recommend you choose a shape that includes rings, or multiple paths to reach the different parts of the house: the game works anyway but a maze-like house is much more funny.
After preparing the playing field you have to randomly place the characters, one per room. Each player secretly draw two markers that indicate what are its characters. The goal is to try to expel from the house the other characters making yours staying as long as possible.
In each round the player must decide whether to move a character from one room to an adjacent or to start a fight in a room with two or more characters. There are no Zocs or stacking limits and a character can leave a room occupied by other characters.
The combat is disarmingly simple: the active player decides which character in the room is eliminated.
As the characters are removed from the game they will be placed in a row next to the board.
At the end of the game the players will reveal their tokens and will receive points based on how long their characters are been able to stay in the house: the winner will be worth 10 points, the last eliminated 9 points and so on. The first two characters to be removed from the house will be worth 0 points.
During the game a player must never reveal his characters and will continue to play even if they were both eliminated.
In a 6 players game all the characters have a “master.” When you play in 3.4 or 5 players there will be neutral characters: of course which ones will be clear only at the end fo the game.
A game of Rumble in the House last 3 rounds. At the end the player with the highest score wins.
The characters in the game are really weird and fun, ranging from Alien to the Cat armed with a heavy machine gun. From Ka’tool, a sort of green monster, to the Penguin with the dynamite.
When I read the rules I was a little ‘puzzled, at first the game seemed very trivial. But playing it, both with children and with adults, I found it pretty funny. It is certainly not a game of deep strategy, but to win you must play smart. The game with 6 players is perhaps the least interesting because all the characters are in the race and you have to play just eliminating all other characters. In a 4 or 5 players game it is really important to understand which characters are in play to not waste time chasing neutral.
Overall, therefore, a funny filler, certainly more suitable for children and adults.
Opinions from other Opinionated Gamers
Dale Yu: I wasn’t a big fan of this one – there wasn’t much game here to be played. Maybe it’s just the group I played in, but none of us felt that there was anything to do but choose someone, move it into another room and then wait for a fight. Since there’s no way to move someone out of conflict, oftentimes one of your characters ended up sharing a room before you could do anything, and then all you could do is hope that another player didn’t choose to start a fight there. I suppose it would be an OK filler – but really, there are other things I’d rather play than this one.
Ratings Summary from the Opinionated Gamers
Like it… Andrea “Liga” Ligabue
Not for me… Dale Yu