Dale Yu: Review of Huns

 

Huns

  • Designer: Fneup
  • Publisher: La Boite de Jeu
  • Players:
  • Ages:
  • Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by publisher

In Huns, players each control a tribe of huns, looking to be the one who can take over from the great Khan – of course, by being the Hun with the most victory points at the end of the game!  In this game, each player gets his own board which represents his camp. At the start of the game, there are 2 randomly drawn wagon cards that start in camp. There are colored spaces on these cards representing the types of goods cubes needed to fill them.  There are five different decks of cards – they are each shuffled to start the game. Matching colored wooden cubes are placed beneath each deck as is a d3 in the same color.

The game is played over a number of rounds until one of the end game conditions is met.  The starting player for the round picks up all five dice and rolls them – putting each rolled die near the deck of cards of matching color.  Then, the starting player chooses one of the dice and takes an action associated with it. This continues clockwise around the board until all the dice are chosen.  This means that some players will take more actions per turn than others. At the end of the round, the start player marker is passed to the left (in a 4p game, this will end up being the person who would have gone next anyways), and a new round is begun.

When you choose a die, there are two possible actions that you can do with it.  First, you can use it to draw cards. You draw cards, from the matching deck, equal to the number on the die.  You can keep one of the cards and play it face up on the table. The unused cards are placed back under the deck.

BLUE – Equipment cards which give an ongoing benefit for the rest of the game

GREEN – Mercenary cards which have a special action on them; but this action is only available when all of the cube spaces on this card are filled

RED – Raid cards which give a one time effect, usually involving cubes or cards of your own or an opponent

BLACK – Curse cards which are played in front of ANOTHER player.  There is an ongoing negative action associated with this. Curse cards cannot be discarded until all the cube spaces on this card are filled.  Alternatively, you can choose to Flee the curse when it is first played against you, turning it facedown now – you suffer no penalties now, but will have an endgame scoring penalty

YELLOW – Treasure cards which each have an endgame bonus score based on a criteria printed on the card

Your other option is to draw cubes.  If you do this, the cubes can then be played either: A) to your wagon cards or B) to your cards played in your area.

If you play to your Wagon cards, you can split them up amongst your different Wagon cards.  Cubes can only be put on Wagon places that match the color of the cube. If you manage to completely fill a Wagon card during this action, you immediately turn the Wagon card face down and put it in your scoring pile.  Any cubes on this card are moved to the holding area on your player mat. A new Wagon card is immediately chosen from the four-card display. If you still have cubes to place, you can put them on this newly drawn card.

If you choose to play to an action card in your area, you are limited to playing cubes to only a SINGLE card.  Any excess cubes which cannot be placed are simply lost, and they are put back in the supply. Cubes played on these Mercenary or Curse cards can be of any color and they do not have to match previously played cubes.

The game continues until the end of a round where either all the cubes in a color are gone OR all the cards in a color are gone.  The game then moves to scoring…

Scoring

  • +1 VP per Red card
  • +1 VP per Green card which is full of cubes; -1 VP for Green cards with incomplete cube rows
  • +1 VP/player per Treasure card whose condition you have met
  • -1 VP/player per Curse card which was fled
  • +1 VP/player for each completed Wagon card
  • +1 VP per different type of Wagon OR +1 VP per Wagon in type you have the most completed

The player with the most VPs wins

My thoughts on the game

Huns offers an interesting choice of card and cube play.  You generally want to get cards into your camp to further your engine or to score you points.  You also usually want to draw cubes in order to fill Wagons (To score points) or to fill up Mercenaries/Curses (to further the engine).

A lot here depends on the luck of the dice.  When you go first, you will almost always get a great action with your first die as your have pick of the litter, and understandably, your last action that round is generally weak as it is the picked over remainder.   Because of the cube placement rules, players will not always take the highest numbered die available because you might need a specific color on a given turn.

The game moves pretty quickly.  There are only 120 cubes in the entire game, and most cards take 4-5 cubes each.  Once placed, cubes are rarely returned to the supply, so in a 4-player game, you’re likely only going to get 5 or 6 cards filled over the course of the game.  This makes each filled card a valuable object in terms of opportunity cost. It also means that you can’t spend too much time filling Mercenaries to get great actions because there simply aren’t enough cubes to go around before the endgame is triggered.

I do wish that there was maybe a bit more room for engine building – for me, just as the game is getting interesting, it starts to run out of cubes.  Given the high value of completed Wagons, using cubes for anything other than a 4VP return really needs to be well thought out. In our games so far, the majority of play has been to pick up cubes, and drawing cards has really been more of a consolation – when you couldn’t use the color cubes left to you when your turn comes up.  I have no idea whether this is just group think on our part or not; but it’s what has happened in every game thus far.

I also wish the game didn’t have Curses.  I’m a big opponent of targeted attacks, and the penalty of a Curse card in this game is quite strong for a game with such a short story arc.  Having a to spend four or five cubes to get rid of a Curse is a high price to pay in a game where you’re only getting 30 cubes on average… Sure, you could flee the Curse, but the cost of -4VP is also quite strong in this game. Moreover, there’s nothing stopping the other players for continually playing cards against the same player, another personal no-no for games in my collection.  Finally, we did have one game where we constantly tried to play a Curse each turn (i.e. who ever chose the Black die always chose to look at cards), and all this did was bog down the game to the point where it wasn’t very fun.

The game otherwise plays quickly, and as I mentioned earlier, sometimes feels like it ends just as it is getting interesting from the engine building standpoint.  The scoring tension between the wagons and the treasure cards is interesting, and the outcome of our games usually is in doubt until the revelation of those treasure cards.  That aspect of the game has been a positive. But, I find it hard to recommend the game to families or novice gamers because of the Curses. We have also almost always had one player who was essentially eliminated from the game due to the Curses, and I don’t like games that allow for this situation to come up.  Perhaps other groups are less sensitive to this sort of mechanism, but it won’t work in my group.

Thoughts from other Opinionated Gamers

 

Dan Blum (1 play): Although in general I also don’t love targeted attacks the curses didn’t feel too bad in the game I played (I had one most of the game and still won), but I didn’t love them and I expect any game where many of them were played would be bad as Dale describes. Furthermore I thought the game had other issues, e.g. the treasures seemed too strong as it’s simply not that hard to meet the conditions on a bunch of them if you choose carefully. The game is OK but not interesting enough to overcome these deficits.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it.
  • Neutral. Dale Y, John P, Dan Blum
  • Not for me…

 

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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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