When everything goes as it should, you don’t even know, that he is roaming around the village. Only occasionally will some animal disappears from the corral or victim from outside the reach of the fire light. There is such an unwritten agreement between humans and saber-toothed bloodthirsty monster. It’s simple – share or get eaten!
The fed tiger is a satisfied tiger. In this, the players should be clear, if they want to peek into the world of Honga. Game created by Günter Burkhardt and it belongs to the non-yellow series of family games by HABA. The new box got Stephanie Böhm’s illustration and came out in late 2018.
On the lid of the colorful box we see both the natives and saber-toothed tiger, holding a big piece of fish in his teeth. Inside, players find a big folding board, represent the village. Players put a shuffled deck of bonus cards and another stack of Exchange cards on it. They reveal a trio of cards to create an offer. They also have to place a mammoth tooth figurine and Honga tiger in the center. Shared stacks of gray and red action disks are added to the common offer.
In addition to the master board, there is also room for an additional stable board, that will be filled by players as soon as everyone chooses a color. They get a matching set of mammoths, which they will put aside for now. But the players will get their own board, which is double-layered, so that the wooden markers will fit into it nicely and do some tracking of resources. Their starting position is number one except for water, whose starting point is zero. In addition, the participants place their pieces on the points counter and also on the sacred mountain staircase.
There are four circular boxes ++around the saber-toothed tiger. This is where the active player always puts one of his action tokens at the start of his turn and rotate it to align its lines with the ones on the board. As a result, each quarter of the disc is connected to part of the board. And it will determine price in the form of symbols of one or more hands.
But before a player can take advantage of his token options, he must first check Honga’s state. If at least one hand (and not an empty segment) is pointing in his direction, then everything is fine and the appetite of the hungry creature is satisfied. But if the tiger has not received anything, then the player will have to share something from their own resources with Honga. If they have nothing in their warehouse, he will eat the whole mammoth!
At the same time, the figurine will also move to the offender and will stay with him across the following rounds. And every turn, tiger eats some goods from his supplies. To get rid of him, player can only use a special bonus card, or wait until other player to lure him the same way.
Only then does the player get to his actions. There are eight boxes on the board, where hands can point and they are spread across the whole board. Each box is adjacent only to some actions. But players can also use a place, where another card is already placed.
In half of the cases, players can simply raise stocks of raw materials by using the action. So visiting the lake or bushes will bring the player some berries, water, fish or mushrooms (their amount is decided by numer of hands on the connected part). In the same way, he can get bonus cards, that can also be played during this phase. Above all, players will try to attract mammoths. But for this purpose, he must sacrifice food from his possession. Mammoth figurine moves to the place, where these giants graze. Gradually, the mammoth figures of all players are growing, the one who came first is pushed towards the end of the scale. After reaching it, player can take it into his service.
In the last action fields, players can exchange raw materials for victory points or move their pieces on a staircase. Here, they are involved in a race to run to the top, where five victory points lie waiting. When someone reaches the highest point, the rewards is given to all the players and the pieces have to go back down.
Moreover, the owner of most mammoths in the herd, has one great advantage. In his turn, he draws a special red instead of an ordinary round action card. It will offer one more hand symbol, and thus bring its owner a higher profit. For each hand, the player can perform the action once, ie to collect more raw materials or lure the mammoths.
At the end of his turn, the player draws one action card, so he is able to plan during the other opponents‘ turns. In the end, however, all participants are mainly interested in collecting points, that they gradually gain for their efforts and change their raw materials for it.
Honga is a very interesting and specific point collection game. All the time, we could not get rid of the feeling, that we were playing a new Stone Age. Only with less chance. It is still a really easy family game, but it also includes a number of interesting minor decisions.
All participants consider the basis of their success at the beginning of each turn, when they must choose the correct location and rotation of their action card. There is always the same number of palms on each card, only differently distributed. Finally, it is only about their correct placement. In doing so, player must bear in mind not only the tactical plan for gaining raw materials and points, but also not forgetting to satisfy the title tiger in the middle.
He creates pressure on the player in every round and it generally applies, that its worth paying attention. Ideally, one hand icon, because more will be wasted. But, of course, it is also about collecting resources from different places. Also mammoths play important role, whose profits are valuable points.
Of course, there are exceptions to all this. Above all, we mean red cards, that offer a different number of actions and are more profitable. But only one of the participants can have this advantage at a time. And this fight is again about mammoths.
Its gameplay scores from start to finish. It offers an unexpected level of thoughtful freedom and paths to gain points. Of course, it is not an extremely complex game and everything is subject to strict rules for less experienced players. And the most interesting element is the saber-toothed tiger, who travels between the camps of all participants and eats their supplies. Players don’t want to have it, but sometimes they just can’t avoid it.
Bonus cards, which cost nothing to play, also interfere very well. They are beyond the scope of permitted actions, so their profit is often very important.
The game is reasonably long, holding itself notábly within an hour. This amount has become standard for similar family games. But here, fortunately, usually games (mainly with a lower number of players) last slightly above half an hour. The experience itself also changes with the number of participants – the importance of the tiger increases with more players, but of course the individual moves are also extended.
It is also necessary to appreciate the excellent theme. And it also includes great processing ranging from illustrations to wooden figures. Even the rules are clear, so nothing can be criticized in terms of quality.
Honga is a great successor of the family games tradition, which will be very popular among beginner and family gamers. Matches themselves are similar, which is also the most significant drawback, but it does not spoil the fun of them. Honga is a very solid family game, that definitely has a chance to bite anyone, who is up for some playing.
Honga is a game about a hungry tiger, who only watches the players, as they collect goodies around their village. He can be reconciled, but in the end his joy is not important for winning. Players must cleverly use the actions and receive not only raw materials, but also victory points. At the same time, the whole player is accompanied not only by quality processing, but also by the joy of the game. Honga is another hilarious box, that has the potential to be on the table of every playful family.