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Hunger: The Show – Board game review

Hunger: The Show is a survival game where you play a contestant on a reality game show on a desert island. It was created by Swedish designer Pim Thunborg and published by Phalanx Games in Poland.

Specification

  • Players: 2-6
  • Age: 7+
  • Approx Play Time: 20 mins
  • Cost: 59.95 PLN (Polish Zsłoty) approx 13.00 GBP
  • Buy a copy (in Polish)

Design

One of the things that first attracted me to this game is its vibrant use of colour. It’s also the first game I have played where the play area is actually inside the box. The instruction booklet is really well laid out, with multiple examples of how to resolve some of the more tricky situations. As an added bonus it has small humorous footnotes spread throughout and each page has a box in the bottom corner, encouraging the player to initial it to simulate a contract of sorts.

One of the best design bits has to be the inside of the box though. The play area is split into four distinct areas that make up the island with positions for the resource pieces, it’s a very novel design. Around the edge of the box, there is studio equipment to add to the atmosphere that this whole thing is a game show. Runners are rushing to and from places, carrying items around the studio and even a pizza delivery guy is waiting to be paid by the studio staff. It really helps set the feel of the game.

Gameplay

Each player picks a character which can optionally have a special ability that will give the player an ability to gain better resources. A leader is determined at random, this is just a designated player (the leader) to start to resolve the actions on. Players are also given tins of food to get them through the first few days, as well as up to four destination cards, (dependent on the number of players,) and five action cards in their hand. Each turn the players decides what location and which action they want to perform, like catching chickens, picking fruit, gathering bits to make a raft, guarding an area or stealing from an area. Once everybody has picked an action and a location, they are revealed and then resolved from the “leader” player, moving clockwise.

If only one contestant performs an action at a location, then they get to gather two of those items. If two contestants perform the same action at a location, then they each take one of the items. However, if three or more contestants perform the same action they all end up empty handed. That leaves the two more complex actions of guarding and stealing. Thieves are a pest, they will steal tokens (maximum of two) from any player if they are in the same location, there is a way to stop them and that is through avoidance or a guard. A guard does exactly that; it guards an area against thieves, they then get to keep whatever loot the thief is trying to steal and then the guard gets a contribution from each player that they protected.

The players first priority is to not starve and at the end of every day each player pays four food (to eat). This can be made out of the food they were given at the start of the game, or any food they managed to gather. Their second priority is to collect pieces so that they can build the best raft when the end of the show is triggered. You need to collect both rope and wood to build a raft and the tokens you pick up contains either resource, so if you are unlucky at picking up then you could have no proper raft at the end of the show.

Verdict

Hunger is a good game and it’s a great price point, but it’s not without its flaws. One of these flaws is that I feel it’s certainly a game that relies on more players, as a two player game it’s just not fun in my opinion. I would recommend a minimum of three players but anything above that is incrementally better from my experience. With five players the challenge goes up because another location is added and more resources too, this really adds to the game with the amount of possibilities. Hunger is a bit like a game of poker and with each turn, you are trying to guess what the other players have selected, so I think if you have some prior knowledge about the players you are playing with then that may be beneficial.

It’s a very quick and easy game to learn, works well for children and setup takes a very minimal amount of time. This keeps the game from having that stale dragging feeling that some of the less casual games can suffer from. However, in that, I have a small amount of criticism about the longevity of the game, I find myself wondering if I would still play it in a few months time? Well, yes, but only under a certain batch of conditions. It would be a great game to start or end a gaming night because of it’s speed an simple gameplay, it would also be great as a tournament game where you could play several rounds to find the ultimate survivalist. It’s a game I would take out, show friends, play and then probably move onto something else. I’m not saying that is a bad thing but I am saying that it has a very limited shelf life in my opinion.

We would like to thank Michał Ozon and the team from Phalanx Games for supplying us with a copy of the game; We really appreciate it and wish you luck with it. I’d also like to thank Pim himself for taking a few moments to chat to me at UK Games Expo, it’s so nice to get to meet the designer face to face. Hunger will be available to play at our next Bristol Meetup and we shall be holding a little tournament to win our review copy.

Does this game appeal to you? Do you think that it is worth the money? Would you buy it? If not what doesn’t appeal to you? I’m sure that Pim and Phalanx Games would love to hear your feedback and as per usual, we can pass those on via our comments section and/or Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

3 responses

  1. Chris Scott

    It is certainly an intriguing game. I might check it out as my friends and I are always looking to try something new on the tabletop.

    Like

    June 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

  2. Pingback: GeekOut Bristol Meet – July 14th: VIDEO GAME HELPLINE | GeekOut South-West

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