Havok & Hijinks (Preview)
Dragons do more than just breathe fire and boost the sales of undergarment products everywhere…they amass hoards filled with riches and wonder. In fact, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing in “Havok & Hijinks”, a game that’s currently seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign (as of 8/26/13). In this two to four player family-friendly card game, players will take control of a single dragon and attempt to be the first one to expand their hoard to a value of fifteen. Before we take a sneak peek at what this game has to offer, I’d like to thank Adam “Ferrel” Trzonkowski of Epic Slant Press LLC for providing me with a prototype copy. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often representative of the final product, so the contents in the pictures you’ll see below are subject to change.
As you can see from the average play time above, the game is incredibly simple to pick up and play. Each player will pick one of the four dragon types (called affinities) and place the matching dragon card in front of them. Each dragon affinity has a unique ability that it can use during gameplay, so it’s important to pick one that is best suited to your play style. To keep track of whether or not a dragon has used this ability on their turn, they’ll have their dragon card flipped to the appropriate side (ready or tired). Tired dragons can’t use their innate abilities…more on that in a bit.
Besides the dragon cards, the game comes with a Havok deck and a Hijinks deck (hence the name). In the Havok deck, players will find events and treasures whereas in the Hijinks deck, players will discover all sorts of actions that are offensive and defensive in nature. Some Hijinks cards can only be played on that player’s turn (called play cards), while others can be played as an interrupt card that can be used at any time (called crash cards). Not to worry, the cards have symbols printed on them and are color coded to help players recognize these cards as they appear during the game.
At the beginning of the game, each player will get a treasure card valued at one (via the Bronze Talons cards). The two decks are shuffled separately, with each player then drawing three cards from the Hijinks deck to form their hand. On a player’s turn, they’ll first flip a card from the Havok deck and resolve the action. If it’s a treasure, they get to add that card to their hoard. Events are resolved on a case-by-case basis. After that, the player may play a Hijinks card in an attempt to play tricks on their fellow dragons. In most cases, they involve stealing treasure from or messing with another dragon’s hoard. They can also use their innate ability. At the end of a player’s turn, they’ll draw back up to their three-card hand size. The first player to reach a hoard size valued at fifteen wins the game!
Overall, our experiences with “Havok & Hijinks” were positive. The card mechanics were very simple to understand and on that note, I’m pleased to report that this is one card game that I didn’t have to spend hours studying. While the recommended age on the box states “13+”, I can easily see kids younger than that picking this up without too much trouble. With the right parental supervision, I’d say the minimum age would be more along the lines of 10+, but each parent will need to make that determination for themselves. Family-friendly and easy to play, I believe that “Havok & Hijinks” is worthy of any gaming household. To that end, whether you’re a fan of all things dragon or simply looking for something new to introduce on family game night, “Havok & Hijinks” won’t disappoint.