The Bunny King has sent out his Rabbit Lords to take control of territories in the New World and turn them into successful Fiefs. The Lords must build cities, gather resources, and complete tasks for the king to be build up the most successful Fiefs to be declared the “Big Ears” by the Bunny King. Bunny Kingdom is a medium weight game of drafting and area control designed by Richard Garfield, designer of such games as Magic: The Gathering, Netrunner, and more.
At its core, Bunny Kingdom relies on two main mechanics: card drafting and area control. Each player gets an army of little plastic bunnies that they’ll use to claim territories and try to build contiguous squares to create Fiefs. There are also Parchment cards that contain treasures or missions that are scored at the game’s finale.
The game starts with each player getting 10-12 cards, depending on the number of players. Everyone also places one if their plastic bunnies on the 0 space on the board’s score tracker. Play then proceeds.
- Exploration Phase: In this phase, players will draft and play cards until everyone’s hands are empty. Every player chooses 2 cards to play and passes the rest to the left or right, depending on the round. Played cards are resolved and then the process begins again. There are several types of cards that can be played:
- Parchment Cards – These are played face down and are revealed at the end of the game.
- Territory Cards – A bunny is placed on the board in the space indicated. The card is then placed in the player’s discard pile.
- Building Cards – Place the required building or tile on the card until the Construction Phase.
- Provisions Cards – Immediately take two cards from the draw pile and play them. The Provision card is then placed in the player’s discard pile.
- Construction Phase: During this phase, players may place any buildings or tiles acquired from the first phase. This step is optional. All buildings and tiles may be saved until later Construction Phases in the game.
- Buildings can be placed on any territory player controls. A level 3 building can only be placed on Mountain territories.
- Farm Tiles increase the wealth of your Fiefs by adding basic, or additional Luxury, resources to a territory.
- Sky Towers connect two Fiefs players control over any distance.
- Camps allow a player to claim a currently unclaimed territory. These stay in play until another player plays the territory card that allows them to claim it.
- Harvest Phase: Players score all their current Fiefs. Fiefs are scored by adding up all the towers in every city in the Fief and multiplying that by each unique resource the Fief produces.
Once the 3 phases are complete players are each given a new hand of cards and a new round is started with cards drafting in the opposite direction of the previous round. The game ends after 4 rounds. At this time players reveal and score all their Parchment Cards. The player with the highest score wins.
Want more details? Check out the full rules.
Bunny Kingdom comes in a kinda-industry-standard large box that’s filled with a massive amount of plastic bunnies in 4 different colors. These little minis are super cute. There’s also a pile of finely molded plastic cities ranging from 1 tower to 3 towers. Each has a space for a bunny to stand on when claimed. There’s also a huge stack of sturdy cards, which form the bulk of the game. The only other components in the game are cool cardboard tokens to represent new farm types, Sky Towers, and Camps. They sit in the cover of a territory and have a half-moon cut out of them so they can fit around a bunny in the territory they’re placed on.
The only thing about the game’s production that kind of stinks is the game’s insert. It’s a flimsy cardboard insert with 6 compartments. While the bunnies are stored in bags, there’s not enough to fit the game’s tokens and cards which end up getting tossed about when the game is put away.
There’s no doubt about it. Bunny Kingdom is a fun game. IELLO rarely disappoints with their titles, but this one really shines. It’s fairly easy to learn, quick to play and gives players plenty of choices, even within the constraints of the drafting system. Players constantly need to evolve their plans, often making do with less-than-ideal cards until they get a new hand of cards from the player next to them which hopefully contains cards more conducive to their end goal. What seems like a free-for-all in the wide open board in the first few turns of the game quickly becomes a struggle for territory as the board rapidly fills up with bunnies.
All this is well and good, but the addition of Sky Towers and Parchment cards really take the game to the next level. Parchment cards are great if you can complete their requirements. Playing one also means that you’re pretty much losing an action on the turn you play it. Sky Towers can save a smaller Fief by combining it with one somewhere else of the board and turning into a monster scoring opportunity.
Bunny Kingdom is worth every penny of it’s $49.99 MSRP, and has earned a permanent spot on my shelf.
A copy of Bunny Kingdom was provided free for review by IELLO
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.