Friendly Furry Fights: A Preview of Gyrating Hamsters

Gyrating Hamsters

These furry little hamsters are vicious, silly, and chaotic, in this fun, family-friendly card game now on Kickstarter.

Gameplay

Each player starts the game with eight cards. They choose three hamster cards to place on the table in front of them as their horde and the game starts. In order to win, you must collect nine hamsters of a single clan (color) in your horde or sixteen hamsters total.

On your turn you draw two cards. You may then choose to add a hamster clan card to your horde, or skip this step. After that you may choose to play any card type, including another hamster clan card, or skip this step. And finally, you may choose to battle another player.

Each hamster clan card has a color and a type of hamster. Some types of hamsters have special abilities and if you have at least two of them in your horde, you can use their power. If you have three of the same types of hamsters in your horde, they are safe from action cards, attack hamsters, and battles. If you have four of the same type, they are also safe from chaos cards and gyrating hamsters.

Attack hamsters have special one-time abilities when played, and while they don’t belong to any clan, they do count towards your horde total. Action cards give you special, one time abilities, and can sometimes even be played on other people’s turns.

Gyrating hamsters are special cards which you can use to play as a wild card, standing in for any clan color, or can be used to steal a hamster from another player. Chaos cards are always played immediately when drawn and do just what they’re name indicates: something chaotic. For example they can make players shuffle all their hordes together and evenly distribute them, or force all players to choose a hamster from their horde for a mass duel.

When choosing to do battle, you may either duel or have a clan battle. In a duel, you choose one of your hamsters and one hamster from another player’s horde. In a clan battle, you choose up to four hamsters from your horde of a single color and up to four hamsters from another player’s horde that match that color. Both players than roll as many dice as they have hamsters in the fight. The player who rolls the single highest number overall (the dice results are not added together) wins the fight and takes the losing hamsters into his horde. If there is a tie, both players roll one more die until there is a winner.

Gyrating Hamsters cards

Gyrating Hamsters cards

Review

Some games are just pure, silly fun to play and Gyrating Hamsters is such a game. The hamsters’ artwork is great and there’s a really nice variety of them and it’s enjoyable to discover new ones as you play through the deck. Each hamster card also has fun flavor text at the bottom. The game just has a great sense of family-friendly humor.

There is a lot of randomness in the game because you never know when a chaos card will strike (though it’s neat that there are some things you can do to protect your hamsters from them and balances out the randomness) and while you can increase your odds in clan battles, a bad roll can still see you losing hamsters. This does add a certain push-your-luck element to the game which is enjoyable, but some players might still not enjoy that randomness.

Also it might just be the printing for the prototype we played, but the red and orange cards were a quite similar shade and difficult to tell apart.

The game play and turns are quite quick. Since players can protect their hamsters when the same types are grouped together and with other various actions and abilities, the randomness never drags the game on for too long. In fact the length is just about right for a game of this depth.

There is a nice mix of abilities, actions, and cards, and also quite a few interesting decisions that players have to make: what hamsters to risk in battle, duels vs. clan battles, and so on. These decisions keep the game engaging and makes it a great fit for families. Well worth checking out on Kickstarter.

Pros: Fun art and flavor text, good length, nice mix of cards and abilities

Cons: Some players won’t like all the randomness, some of the colors are hard to distinguish in the prototype

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.