Dale Yu: First Impressions of Hop!

 

Hop!

  • Designer: Ludovic Maublanc
  • Publisher: FunForge
  • Players: 3-6
  • Ages: 6+
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with preview copy provided by FunForge

hop

Hop! is the new game from FunForge, with delightful painted minis and a 3-D board which easily catches the eye of all the passers-by at the show.  In this game, players try to score the most points by the time that one of the players makes it to the highest level of the board.  Cloud tokens and bird tokens are spread out on the table around the board. Each player chooses one of the painted figurines and takes the balloons and bet token that correspond to that player.  The board is a four level affair, with the bottom three tiers having half of each level designated for a particular level (i.e. the bottom most tier is Level 1 on one side and Level 2 on the other).

 

img_20161119_211225On any given turn, the active player is known as the Hurler – this person is trying to throw a rainbox piece onto the finger of the SKEWERER (a player which is chosen by the HURLER).  On any given turn, the top card from the Dare deck of cards is drawn, and this card gives you certain rules which you have to follow while trying to hurl the rainbow onto the SKEWERER’s finger.  The card may even require you to get the help of an ASSISTER or choose someone to be a TURBULATOR to try to prevent you from succeeding.  All players who are not involved in the rainbow tossing get to bet on the result.  Their bet token is secretly placed on the happy or sad cloud side and covered by their hand until the throw is complete.

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For the actual throw, the hurler backs away from the table so that the rainbow is at the level of the table at the start – it is then hurled in the air towards the skewerer.  The skewerer starts with his elbow on the table with his index finger extended; once the rainbow is thrown, the skewerer can take his elbow off the table and move around in order to try to catch the rainbow.  Remember, that during this entire procedure, you have to follow whatever rules are specified on the Dare card for the turn.  A successful throw ends with the rainbow on the index finger of the skewerer AND all of the Dare card rules have been followed.  Pretty much any other result is a fail.

If the throw is successful:

  • The HURLER moves up one level on the board
  • The SKEWERER and ASSISTER gain a cloud token – chosen randomly from the table and value remains hidden
  • All players who bid on a successful throw get a bird token and place it dove side up
  • All players who bid  on a failed throw take a bird token and put it crow side up

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If the throw if a failure:

  • The HURLER loses a balloon
  • The TURBULATOR gets a Cloud token – chosen randomly
  • All players who bid on a failed throw get a bird token and place it dove side up
  • All players who bid on a successful throw take a bird token and place it crow side up.

After the reckoning of a throw, players check if they have a set of three bird tokens on the same side.  If a player has 3 Doves, he advances one level on the gameboard AND returns all of his bird tokens to the table.  If a player has 3 Crows, he returns all of his bird tokens to the table and then loses one of his balloons.

The game ends when a player makes it to the highest level of the gameboard OR a player loses all of his balloons.  When a player loses his last balloon, his figure is put on the table (and is at Level zero).  At this point, players sum up their score – this is the sum of the level where they ended the game plus the value of all the cloud tokens that you have collected.  The player with the highest score wins, ties are broken by the player who is higher on the board.

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My thoughts on the game

Hop! is a cute dexterity game that is fun to play, and the sort of game which is probably enjoyed more for the experience than for the winning or losing.  In the basic sense, the game is simple enough – try to throw the rainbow.  The toss itself is pretty easy to accomplish, so the Dare cards are certainly necessary to make the game challenging.

However, the range of difficulty (ludicrousness?) of the Dare cards is all over the place.  Some may ask the Turbulator to prevent the skewerer from moving or to pull your arm away when you’re trying to throw.  Some cards will make you throw with your foot or to possibly to throw with your eyes closed.  Yet others will ask the skewerer to catch with one arm tucked under their leg.  In any event, you can see how the cards might get you in funny/hilarious situations.  You can also see how some of the cards are nearly impossible to obey (and succeed), and it all is just due to luck of the draw.

The setup of the game keeps everyone involved and interested as there is something for each player to do in every throw.  Our first game had the minimum 3 players, and while we were always active, there were not many occasions where we could bet on the result.  The second game was played with 6, and I feel that this was a bit better as there were more people to enjoy the laughs with – and there were more chances to bet as well as participate in the hurling.

With young kids, this could be a great keeper and a regular activity/game.  With my group – which is all adults – this is a fine diversion for one or two games but not something that we’re going to really pull out to play that often as it does feel more like an activity than a game.

The molded pieces are well done and the artwork of the game is awesome (though I’ve come to expect just about all art by Marie Cardouat to be awesome…).  The oversized box sits prominently on the game shelf, and while I won’t be playing this much with the regular group, this is definitely the sort of game to have around when the younger nieces and nephews come to visit.

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Thoughts from other Opinionated Gamers

Melissa Rogerson: We had two copies of this in the library at PAX Australia and one was constantly used for demos for the entire three-day weekend. This type of game works extremely well for these events where people are looking for a reason to be drawn into play, and the beautiful components definitely help to draw a crowd. When we play, we try to eliminate the cards that have potential to damage players or furniture, generally by popular consensus. The game works well for mixed-age groups as well as where there is mixed interest in gaming. It will never be the main game of an evening, but it works well as an icebreaker, or as a filler that people can join or leave as they need.

 

Fraser: Take me back to the days when I was more flexible, had sturdier furniture and a larger area to play games then I would rate this a I like it, until then it falls into the category I see what it is doing, but I am not the target audience and have no TARDIS so it falls into Neutral for me.  It would go well with children.

 

Nathan Beeler: There’s nothing wrong with silly. I like silly. But even great silly wears out its welcome eventually. This is just mediocre silly, which translates to about two plays and no clamor, I’d wager.

 

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it. Melissa Rogerson
  • Neutral. Dale Y, Fraser, Nathan Beeler
  • Not for me…

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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