As with many industries, there is constant flux in the board game community. Companies enter the market on a regular basis while others fade from existence. We will occasionally see mergers happen. A few examples are Stronghold Games with Indie Boards & Cards and NSKN Games with Board & Dice. More often, we’ll hear of acquisitions that occur for a number of reasons such as retirement, death of key personnel or products that became too big for an independent publisher to handle. There are also instances where one company obtains the publishing rights. One of the benefits of all these types of transitions is that it puts a new set of eyes on old titles. Games see new life as they get refurbished with more modern components, high quality artwork, updated rules and cleaner game play. Such is the case with the Devil Bunny villain first introduced in the 1996 game, Devil Bunny Needs a Ham from Cheapass Games. When Greater Than Games acquired the license in 2019, they began working with designer James Ernest to introduce this cult classic to a new generation. In addition to the re-release of Devil Bunny Needs A Ham, the team at Greater Than Games created Devil Bunny Versus The Entire Galaxy, an entirely new title set in the Devil Bunny universe!
Quick note regarding this overview. We were contracted by Greater Than Games to share details about these two titles in advance of the Kickstarter. It’s important to point out that these are prototypes and the final version will not look like these!
Devil Bunny Needs A Ham
Get your luck-pressing skills (aka luck) ready as you take on the villain in Devil Bunny Needs A Ham! It’s a game for 3-5 people and takes approximately 30 minutes. Players are acting as sous-chefs trying to scale a tall building while Devil Bunny relentlessly attacks them because he needs a ham and thinks this will help. There’s a lot to unpack there… sous-chefs climbing a building and a villainous bunny who wants ham? Okay. Maybe it will make more sense once we get rolling. Set the board on the table. Everyone begins by placing their tokens on the “ground” and Devil Bunny starts at the top. A starting player is selected then play proceeds clockwise.
The goal is to reach the top, but Devil Bunny has other ideas. On your turn, roll both dice. If neither die reflects a six, then you’ll use the dice to move. You must move in a continuous line either diagonally or horizontally, not vertically. You must move as far as possible, but don’t have to use the entire roll if you’ve reached the limit. Combine the dice to move one climber or assign each die to move separate climbers. You cannot move through Devil Bunny or other players. Oh, and those windows with salmonella, tar, porcupines and other devilish things? They’re bad. You can’t move through those either because, you know, tar, porcupines, and salmonella aren’t very inviting.
I’m kind of getting ahead of myself because if either die reflects a six then Devil Bunny gets to go FIRST and pounces. Not only is the player highest up the building knocked off, but Devil Bunny takes that spot thereby blocking other climbers from moving there. We’ll circle back to what happens when a climber falls. After Devil Bunny takes his turn, THEN if there are any non-six dice remaining, they are resolved by the active player using the movement specifications I outlined above.
So what happens when a climber gets knocked off the building? Well, there are a couple of options and it depends on whether there is someone below you as well as how far you’ve climbed. The player falls straight down until they either hit another climber or hit the ground. If there’s another climber directly below, that player must catch them, willingly or not. The player who catches the falling sous-chef selects any legal space beneath them, including on another climber. If that happens, the new catcher repeats the process. If it’s the ground that breaks your fall, it may seem like certain death, but your fate is actually determined by how well you’ve been climbing. In other words, it depends on how high on the building that sous chef had climbed at the point they were knocked off. If that space was below the Line of Death without anyone below to save them, then the climber simply lands on the ground, dusts itself off and tries again. But if they were above the Ledge of Death when pushed, well, that’s an awful long way to fall. Death is imminent and that climber is removed from the game.
Even if both climbers from a player are removed from the game, players always get to roll on their turn. Root for boxcars so you can help Devil Bunny enact his rage against the other climbers!! The first sous chef to reach the top claims victory.
Devil Bunny Versus The Entire Galaxy
The original release of Devil Bunny included a series of comics. I really need to read it because this critter went from wanting ham to loving butterflies. It makes me wonder what transpired in those comics! But I digress… In Devil Bunny Versus The Entire Galaxy, you’re intrepid actuaries collecting butterflies at a circus. Each player (2-5) selects one of the bases and collects the corresponding color of butterfly discs. Everyone places one of their discs on the numbered space closest to their base while Devil Bunny starts on the space in the middle. Collecting butterflies isn’t an easy feat, but Devil Bunny makes it harder. He pounces whenever he sees a big enough stack, thus scattering them everywhere. Your goal is to save three of your designated color before Devil Bunny destroys everything.
On your turn, you’ll roll the die. If you roll a 1-5, you’ll have a couple different options on how to proceed. Either take one of your discs and place it on a numbered space corresponding to the die result. In the event there are already discs on that space, simply add yours to the top. If Devil Bunny is on that stack, place your disc in the center space. As an alternative, you can forego placing a disc and move ANY stack that has your color on the top. Pick up the entire stack and move it along any line, dropping the bottom butterfly each time you encounter a space along the line. You cannot reverse movement or utilize a segment more than once during a move. You are allowed to drop a second disc on a space if you cross over that space coming from a different direction. Only discs of a player’s color may be placed in their corresponding base. In addition, you have to go around Devil Bunny as he blocks movement from going through him. Discs dropped in their home score toward the end game goal.
Of course, if you roll a six then you can probably guess what happens. Yes, Devil Bunny goes into action. He pounces on the tallest stack, scattering the discs into adjacent spaces. The active player determines which pieces scatter where, including to their own base!
Players take turns clockwise rolling the die, pouncing when a six is rolled or deciding whether to place or move discs with other die results. The game continues until someone has managed to collect three of their own discs inside the tent of their chosen color.
If you’re intrigued by the adventures of Devil Bunny, keep an eye out for the re-release of the comics. The two games, Devil Bunny Needs A Ham and Devil Bunny Versus The Entire Galaxy are headed to a game table near you, but first they’ll be making a stop on Kickstarter. When you’re done pouncing on the project, visit Greater Than Games to see what else is happening in their universe and check out their assortment of games on Amazon. As always, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay on top of the latest news.
What nonsensical mischief would you like to see Devil Bunny get into next?