KILLER BUNNIES AND THE QUEST FOR THE MAGIC CARROT
By Diana "Sparkly Unicorn" Dumee-Wolters on June 21, 2017
Most of us like bunnies. They're cute and cuddly and wouldn't harm a fly, now would they?! Well, okay; Watership Down had some pretty evil bunnies, but even they weren't total psychopaths. But I have discovered there is also a dark side to this long-eared species of fur balls. Yes, you wouldn't have guessed it, but there is such a thing as Killer Bunnies! I know, I know; Monty Python proved that years ago, but that was just one bunny... now, there are dozens!
Killer Bunnies is a card game in which players compete to get their hands on the Magic Carrot. Whichever player claims the carrot for their own, wins that game... simple, isn't it? Well... no! The amount of cards and decks available nowadays is staggering. In total, there are eleven booster decks and then there are also a number of additional sets, like Conquest bunnies, Kinder bunnies, Jupiter and Odyssey.
You play this game with just cards and dice. There are a lot of different cards, like: Play Immediately cards, carrot cards, bunny cards and weapon cards. there is of course Kaballa's market where you can buy cabbage- and water cards for your bunnies, as well as carrot cards. Roony's Weapon Emporium is the place to turn for all your offense and defence needs and lets you buy defence cards and discarded weapon cards. Both at the Kaballa's Market as well as at Rooney's Weapon Emporium, you pay for all of these goods with Kaballa Dolla. Consider your needs and buy items accordingly. The right cards will definitely increase your bunnies' chances of survival! Seven twelve-sided dice are used with many of the cards during the game. You see on your card what colour dice you need to use with that specific card.
Killer Bunnies is, as is quite evident from the title, all about the quest for the elusive magic carrot. In the end one carrot, the Magic Carrot, is drawn from the small carrot card pile, and the player who draws that card, wins the game, but only if this player also has a bunny, alive and well, in the bunny circle. How just this can inspire such an expansive and crazy game, I don't know, but I do know that it is truly awesome!
The game is best played with three or four players, but two will work as well. During the first time you play this game, you will be reading quite a lot, mainly because there are so many different and very unique cards and you'll need to figure out what every card does. The basic gameplay is quite easy; each player receives seven cards, five in hand, two on the table (top run and bottom run). You need at least one bunny to have a chance to win the magic carrot. Bunnies are placed in the bunny circle. Then, and you might already have guessed this, you will want to kill your opponent's bunnies, because you have more chance to win the game when you are the only one with a bunny in play at the end.
Don't start crying if you didn't get a bunny in the first draw, you'll manage eventually. There are tips in the instructions what to do when you're Bunny-Less, but if it's your first game, it's recommended (and allowed) that you quietly sift through the Draw Pile and exchange one of your cards for a bunny card.
How you play
You place your first card face down on the table in front of you. This will be the first card you will play. It is called the top run card. After doing so, you choose a second card you will play. Every card has a rectangular box on the left side. On some cards it is pink. When it is pink it means you must have a bunny in play first before you can use the card. This is the reason why you really want to have a bunny card already in the bunny circle, so you have the freedom to play any other card from your hand. Possible choices are:
Choose a carrot
These cards allow you to get one (or two!) carrots from the market. The more carrots you have at the end of the game, the better your chances will be to win.
Allows you to attempt to kill an opponent's bunny right away.
Feed the bunny
Also allows you to attempt to kill an opponent's bunny, but more slowly (gna gna). The opponent may, however, be able to buy Cabbage and Water to save his bunny. So it would be very smart (and sadistically evil) to close the market before you play such card. The bunny will surely die of starvation.
Like I said, many of the cards are very unique, so take your time and read carefully to see what each card will do.
When you have played a card, your Top Run card or a Special Card or a Very Special card from hand, you need a card to replace the missing card and have seven cards again. You draw this card from the Draw Pile.
Now you know a bit about the game, this is how you play then after you have determined with a roll of the dice which player will go first:
1. Flip over the Top Run card
2. Slide the Bottom Run card up to the Top Run card position
3. Draw a replacement card from the Draw Pile
4. Replace the Bottom Run card with a card from your hand.
You play a turn each clockwise and the game is over when the last Carrot is chosen or purchased from the market.
The Funny-Bunny BitsAs should be fairly obvious by now, many cards are unique. Most of them are just really funny, and I think that is exactly what makes the game so much fun to play. I'll share a few of these cards with you here, starting with the less unique cards.
Play Immediately cards. If you draw a Play Immediately (terrible misfortune) card during play, then the game stops right then and there and you'll have to announce you have the card and kill one of you own bunnies in The Bunny Circle. If you have no bunnies in The Bunny Circle, you must place the card on an opponent's bunny in The Bunny Circle causing it to die (and be discarded). Killed bunnies are discarded on the bunny pile. There are moments during the game when it is possible to 'revive' bunnies. This is why it's more practical to keep them in a separate pile.
Then there are so-called Special Cards. These cards can also be played like Run cards (bottom run, top run), but (because they are special) they can also be played directly from you hand instead of flipping your Top Run card. Special Cards may be saved, so you can use it later, as protection from some kind of evil your opponent throws at you. And, you can use any number of saved Special cards during your turn in addition to your regular play. Pretty awesome, isn't it? Don't forget that if there is a Pink rectangular box on the left border of the card, you'll need a bunny in The Bunny Circle in order to play that card.
And if all this wasn't enough, there are also Very Special Cards. There is just one difference between Special Cards and Very Special cards. A special card may only be played during a player's turn whereas a Very Special Card may be played during any player's turn.
There are quite a few aggressive cards in the game. Various weapons, illnesses, bad karma, abductions, time travelling, thieves, viruses, bad luck, gorging, gambling, all kinds of lovely misfortune to try to kill your opponents bunnies. But be careful, some cards also afflict adjacent bunnies; viruses for example, go round The Bunny Circle, so if you don't have a barrier in place you can get your own bunnies killed. Luckily, there are also all kinds of useful helping items in play, like the aforementioned barriers. Another one of these items is Heavenly Halo, which is placed on a bunny and protects it from all harm like weapons, hunger, misfortune and abduction. Other items include: Clovers for good luck, Large prune Danish, magic fountain, sunny day and many, many more.
Another fun feature of the game is something called Bunny Triplets. If you are very lucky bastard and manage to have three bunnies in The Bunny Circle that are the same colour (Blue, Green, Orange, Violet or Yellow) or the same kind (Congenial, Gleeful, Lumbering, Sinister or Timid) then you may play an additional card per turn (yay!).
Just play the game and you'll find out what everything means and what other cards there are. Are there even more cards? You bet your fluffy ass there are! There are so many card in play that it would be impossible for me to mention them here. I personally think Killer Bunnies is an extremely awesome game; all the different cards that do different things, the combination of small cards and big cards, the need for dice from time to time, which gives the game somewhat of an extra dimension. It is cool to be aggressive towards something as adorable and lovely as bunnies, in so many weird ways. This is something I really, really like.
Another thing that makes the game so awesome, are the many different options you have while playing: things to do while being Bunny-less, the tactics you can use, the images on the cards and the unique different meanings of the cards are really funny. If there was a downside to Killer Bunnies, it would be that, to play successfully and win, you need to know the game and the cards it contains. This means that it could take some time to really get the hang of things, but don't worry; play it a few times and you'll eventually get the hang of it. I honestly didn't play it for a few years because I was only able to play it against people that still needed the instructions. This can get a bit tiring when you just want to play a funny game. But then, I forgot the rules myself and was able to start over once more, happily with others that didn't know it as well either. The instruction guide is very clear and funny to read. Best you read it before you play, or better, play with someone who knows the game (if they are so inclined). Killer Bunnies is awesome; it is addictive and has enough cards and booster decks to last you a lifetime. So get the hang of it and kill those bunnies!
KILLER BUNNIES AND THE QUEST FOR THE MAGIC CARROT
A Game by Jeffrey Neil Bellinger
Illustrations: Jonathan Young
Players: 2 - 8 players, ages 12 & up
Playtime: approx. 45 minutes