BraveRats from Seniji Kanai: a two-player game about rats in kilts, painted faces, bagpipes and battle-cries. Freedom; the most important thing in the world. That’s exactly what this vermin thought. They thought it was so important that in this tiny game, you can re-enact their ten minute war of independence. Battle-cry included; Alba gu bRÀTh!!!
What you get for your money:
A small box with 16 cards and the rules.
How do you play the game:
Well, this is going to be the shortest explanation ever. Can I start?
You both choose a card and simultaneously reveal it. A card has a value and an ability. The card with the highest value wins, but the abilities might change the outcome. A draw is decided by the outcome of the upcoming round.
The player that wins four rounds, wins the game.
I can stop here, but because there is so much empty Overview space I will explain every ability. Just like that.
7, the Prince; you win the round except when the other player plays the Musician or the Princess. 6, the General; the value of the card you play in the next round is 2 higher. 5, the Wizard; ignore the ability of your opponent’s card. 4, the Councillor; if you win this round, this card counts as two victorious rounds. 3, the Assassin; this round, the lowest value wins. 2; the Spy; your opponent must play her card first during the next round. 1, the Princess; when the other player plays the Prince, you win the game. Yes, the whole game. 0, the Musician,; this round ends undecided.
That’s it. On to the review!
From the rules explanation above you already can guess; this is a very, very simple game. It takes only five, maybe ten minutes to play. During the first four rounds of the game you have to be a bit lucky, after that you can actually try to think about what your opponent might or sometimes has to play if she really wants to win.
You can bluff a bit, you can try to convince your opponent that your are going to play something else, but I don’t think bluffing is a major factor in this game. It’s really mostly luck and deduction.
When to play which card. That’s the whole game. The Prince versus the Princess, a waiting game, I win the round for sure with my prince, but she still has her Princess. Will she play it now?? When I play the Assassin, I don’t want my opponent to play a lower card than a three. The Spy is a nice card to play in the last phase of the game. So it’s really a game of outguessing your opponent (at least trying to) and if you don’t have a clue, just be a bit lucky.
There’s no theme at all. Some nice illustrations, that’s all. It’s a numbers game.
The illustration are pretty funny and look cheerful. Although, don’t tell the rat warriors I said that.
Quality of the game parts:
It’s OK. I don’t like the black card edges and I sleeved my cards as a precaution.
Is it fun? For one game? Yes. Two games in a row? OK, fine. Three games. There goes my attention.
A few cards, a value and an ability. I think this game idea works as a multi-player game. I like Love Letter. I know it’s not the same game; in BraveRats you directly compare numbers and abilities and you know exactly what the other player has available to him, you just don’t know when he might play a specific card.
A five to ten minute game or specifically a five-minute long two-player game is not really a game length I need. I rarely have to fill five or ten minutes of time. I rather just wait for whatever I’m waiting for.
I do sometimes have to fill half an hour or so and then I rather play a half-hour game, like a nice abstract or Balloon Cup or (even) Lost Cities (just to name a few), than a couple of games of BraveRats. All examples, but I hope you understand what I try to say here. There’s just to little in there to keep me interested.
It is portable, so that’s a plus.You can take it with you on your vacation, play in on a plane or something like that. It’s easy to teach, another plus. Gamers and non-gamers can quickly learn and play it. However this game just isn’t the game for me. The game quickly became monotonous. Too quickly.