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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope.

January 5, 2015

Over the weekend we had the latest in an series of occasional meetups at Thirsty Meeples with another family to play some games, and a great deal of fun we had too (including progressing our quest for ten plays of Apples to Apples this year). Miss B had been given a voucher to be spent in the shop, so as we were packing up and getting ready to go, she went on a quest to find something to buy (with my promise to top up the voucher to double its value if needed). She was struggling to find something until she spotted a group playing Rhino Hero (also sold as the far snappier Super Rhino) and was captivated. When I pointed out that the game was available for purchase and within her price range, the deal was sealed!

This tower is, I fear, not long for this world, though it is a source of great pride for both of us.

This tower is, I fear, not long for this world, though it is a source of great pride for both of us.

It’s easy to see the attraction here. The game involved building a potentially enormous tower of cards (some of which are the walls, and are folded to make stable corners to balance “roof” cards onto) until either someone plays all their allotted supply of roof cards, all the wall cards run out or, as is much more likely, someone fumbles and brings the whole, teetering edifice crashing down. This is made more interesting by the way the roof cards dictate how the next player must position walls on it, and sometimes other special effects like making someone miss a turn or reversing the direction of play. The most interesting special effect is to make the next player move the Rhino Hero, a cute little wooden token, from wherever he is onto a spot on the current roof tile, and this can be one of the most difficult operations in the game.

Our first game went reasonably well, but ended up with Miss B crashing the tower at the extreme of her reach and then getting a bit upset over the incident as she thought S and I were picking on her (this was just before bedtime — we really must remember to not play new games before bedtime). The next day, the two of us had a couple more plays and it went fantastically, with a win each. We had learnt a lesson here too, and played these later games on the coffee table rather than the relatively much higher dining table. This meant that even when the tower was getting up near the limits of its height, Miss B was able to reach its top with comparative ease.

As I am pretty sure I have mentioned before, I have shaky hands, which make this sort of fine control dexterity game really tricky for me, and I generally avoid them (Jenga does not count as a good time in my books), but I will of course give pretty much anything a go with Miss B. Given this, it really surprised me how much fun I had with Rhino Hero. I think that for much of the game, the dexterity element is not too challenging, and it feels like there are some fairly interesting tactical choices to be made about which roof cards to play. All in all I think the game really deserves the love it seems to be getting from people and is a bargain at the price.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 8): “It was a bit frustrating when we first played it, but now I’ve got used to it it’s a REALLY good game. I recommend Rhino Hero and I give it a 10/10.”

The game: Rhino Hero (Haba), 2 to 5 players aged 5+.

  1. January 5, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Ultimately it is just pure fun. I don’t play to win or to lose with this game – we hardly ever get to finish our cards – I just play it with my kids for fun (though they often don’t see the funny side in collapsing the tower)! Recommended as a light diversion from me too.

    • Rob
      January 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      I think it’s probably a major step in developing as a gamer (and possibly as a person) to see the funny side in enormous, catastrophic failure. For babies, few things are as much fun as building a tower and knocking it over; it’s unfortunate that we lose that excitement and have to learn it again. But when we do learn it again, it’s the best thing ever!

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