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HITSTER Giveaway

Was Johnny B. Goode released before or after Ring of Fire? When did All About That Bass come out in relation to Set Fire to the Rain?

In music game HITSTER, coming soon to Kickstarter, each player builds a timeline of music and must guess where in that timeline each new song falls.

Gameplay

HITSTEROne player takes on the role of DJ. Each card in the music card deck has a QR code on it. If you have the Spotify music app on your phone along with a QR reader, the DJ can use these to scan the cards and play the songs without looking at the card, which allows the DJ to play the game as well. Otherwise, you can rotate DJs and look the songs up manually on other music sources.

HITSTER has three modes of gameplay. In original mode, each player is dealt one music card and two HITSTER cards. The face-up side of a music card shows the song title, the year it was recorded, and the singer. You place your music card face-up so that everyone can see the year. As you acquire more music cards you will organize them in a line in front of you by date.

On your turn, the DJ will draw a card and play the song on it for you, and then pass the music card to you face-down so that you cannot see any of the song information. You must then place it in your line of music cards, in what you believe to be the correct chronological order, based on the music cards you already have. You then turn the card over and if you were correct you get to keep it, if you were wrong the card is discarded. If, in addition to the correct year placement, you were also able to guess the song’s title and artist, you earn a HITSTER card. It is now the next player's turn.

On your turn you may discard a HITSTER card to skip the current song and have the DJ play a new one. On an opponent's turn, after they have placed their music card in their line, but before they have revealed whether their guess was correct or not, you may spend a HITSTER card to say you believe they are wrong, placing the HITSTER card where you believe it belongs in their line of cards. If you're right, you move the card to your own line. You may also trade in three HITSTER cards for one music card at any time.

In pro mode, each player starts with five HITSTER cards instead of two and you cannot earn additional ones during the game. Also, you must guess the singer and song title as well as placing the music card in the correct position in your line up in order to win the card.

Finally, in expert mode you have only three HITSTER cards (and cannot earn additional ones) and rather than placing a card in your line up, must outright guess the correct year, artist, and song title.

In all three modes, the first player to win ten music cards wins the game.

HITSTER components

Review

HITSTER makes for a casual, light party game. The rules are simple, players can chat, listen to the music, and make their guesses without having to keep their entire focus on the gameplay at all times. This makes it a game that complements the social setting rather than distracting from it. It’s a fun format to listen to music together, to reminisce or discover some new songs. In addition, the publisher has prepared "fun facts" on each music card as a campaign stretch goal that give a bit of context to how the songs were made, the artist's name, or other trivia related to the song, which enhances the conversation.

The range in song choice is wide — you’re going to find new and old here, and unless you’re really up on your music history we recommend sticking with original mode. The pro and expert modes add replay value once players are very familiar with the 300 songs included with the game — although expert mode is pure trivia without any of the gameplay elements, so it's definitely not for everyone. Also, the more difficult the gameplay, the longer the game will run. At the higher player counts, you may even want adjust how many music cards you need to win the game, or not listen to the entire song, as play time might start running a little long. These types of timing decisions are left up to each group to decide what is the most fun for them.

The components for this game are quite nice. The box has a neat little compartment to place your phone in, and the design on the cards with the QR codes is well done. We appreciated that the design allows the DJ player to take part in the game as well, and it also speeds up the process of putting on the next song. Obviously, this is a game you need to be online in order to play, and for some players that’s going to be a drawback. But we do like that the online component is designed in such a way that no one actually has to look at a screen if you have a smart phone, as you’re meant to lay it on its face and use the rear facing camera to scan the codes so the DJ doesn’t see what song is coming on.

Trying to guess a song’s release compared to songs already in your line up grows excessively trickier, and it’s an enjoyable challenge, particularly as you acquire more and more music cards and it’s more difficult to place each song. The addition of the HITSTER cards is helpful, and we particularly liked that you can use them to challenge another player’s answer, as it keeps you more engaged on an opponent’s turn.

HITSTER is an extremely light game that can appeal to a wide audience regardless of gaming experience. It offers an original gameplay system that lends itself well to many kinds of spinoffs, which we hope to see in the future. It’s nicely produced, integrates the need for technology fairly well, and is a party game that can enhance hangout time with friends or family.  

Pros: Nicely produced, DJ player can join in the game, wide range of songs used

Cons: Requires internet access and Spotify for the best user experience, can run long depending on game difficulty

Giveaway

Are you ready to add some beats to your next party or game night? Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a brand new copy of HITSTER, a 12-month Spotify Premium membership, and a JBL bluetooth speaker! Thanks to HITSTER for sponsoring this giveaway.

HITSTER, Spotify Premium & JBL Bluetooth Speaker Giveaway

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.