With carrot supplies running low the rabbits must venture out into bird infested paths to try and collect enough carrots to survive. In Carrotia players must build the most efficient maze in time to get some carrots and get out before the birds snatch them up. Released in 2016, the game is part of MAGE Companies “Family Zone” line of games.
A game of Carrotia is played over three rounds, each with a building phase and movement phase. The game is setup by setting up 3 piles of quest cards, each with its corresponding sand timer, choosing a character, and giving each player a set number of tiles based on the number of players in the game.
When all the players are ready a Quest 1 card is flipped over, along with the 30-second sand timer. Players now take turns placing tiles on the board to best match the criteria laid out on the Quest card. The Quest card will show you where the rabbit enters and exits the maze, where carrots are located, and where birds start. Once the time is up players must stop building. If tiles were laid incorrectly, or need to be rearranged to fit the Quest criteria, another bird is placed on the board which gives the players extra moves to complete the maze.
Once the maze is complete players take turns moving the rabbit meeple through the maze trying to collect as many carrots as they can and get out in 10 moves. The rabbit cannot move backward. Each time the rabbit moves a bird die is rolled dictating where the bird moves. Different birds wreak different kinds of mayhem on the board, carrots, or rabbit.
During the movement phase, players can use the special ability of their rabbit once. Abilities range from the ability to move backward to collecting extra carrots.
Once the round is completed players move on to Quest 2 and must now build a 4×4 maze in 60 seconds using the previous round’s 3×3 maze as a base. Round 3 adds and extra bird to the board, but also raises the move limit to 15. Quest 3 gives you 90 seconds to build a 5×5 maze, add even another bird and gives you 20 moves to finish the maze.
After all 3 Quests are completed the game is won if more than 20 carrots were collected.
Everything is Carrotia is thick and sturdy. Quest cards are similar in quality to standard playing cards, though square, while tiles are the same dimensions and are a chunky cardboard. The bird and carrot tokens are a similar cardboard as the tiles, just not as thick. All the dice included in the game are wooden with enough heft as to not feel cheap. The included rabbit meeple is large and pretty impressive.
The cover art on the box is excellent, with a very fantasy feel to it. Unfortunately, the character art on the character cards falls a bit flat. It’s a bit darker, grittier, and not up to par with what’s presented on the outside of the box.
I almost gave up on Carrotia the first two times I tried to play the game with my 7-year-old son. We just couldn’t make heads or tails of the rules included in the box. I was ready to give the game up like a bad habit and write a pretty scathing review. I figured I’d look up some videos on how to play to make sure I wasn’t missing something.
Turns out the version of the rules that came in our box are well known for being pretty terrible, and a newer set of rules that are much clearer were written for the game. With the new rules in hand, we were able to get through the game easily.
Carrotia is very light but works well for younger players. The concept of building a maze to fit a quest card takes a bit of getting used to, especially during Quest 1 when you only have 30 seconds to do so. After a bit of play, it feels a bit more natural and things get a bit easier. The random movement of the birds tends to liven things up when you really nail a maze and think you’re in the clear, which kind of self-balances the game a bit.
I’d recommend Carrotia for players aged 6-10, and 10 is pushing it a bit. While it’s a bit much for younger players, it’s certainly not enough for older players. My 10-year-old and 11-year-old weren’t feeling the game as much as my 7-year-old was. You know what? That’s perfectly OK. 6-8 years old feels like the real sweet spot for the game, and at $20 you won’t be breaking the bank for a family game that’s light, entertaining, and pretty fast paced.
A copy of Carrotia was provided free for review by MAGE Company.