Review: Hooyah – being a tough marine for a few minutes

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - packaging

Airdrop went okay. Arriving by car caused, that Tom had to push himself against the wall and try almost to blend with environment. Car passed without any suspicion. The camp was asleep. Somewhere inside, his colleague is hiding, who was kidnapped yesterday. Fortunately intelligence quickly find out, where he is being held. Tom hoped to got there before his interrogation, as they were said to be really violent in this terrorist cell.

Slowly he went ahead and explored the terrain. He bowed down his weapon for a moment . Everywhere around was really quiet. He hoped, he would not be forced to shoot, even with silencer it could be too noisy. Caution was the main skill of his Marine Corps unit. They have been specially trained for similar tasks and many urged their superiors to be sent on this mission. He volunteered first and now he can prove, he was the right choice.

He stretched around the next corner and heard voices. One of them was very angry. According to several words, he just witnessed a quarrel. He was about to move away, when he catched the word „prisoner“. Tension came back and with it after few words also certainty, that these two men are guards and his friend is held inside building. So here it is, flashed through his mind. First, he must explore the terrain and then nothing could stop him, from getting his colleague back home..

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - game is ready

Are you interested in going on a similar mission? Do not worry, you will not have to risk your neck, because you can do everything from safety of your home. That is, why there is a new cooperative game from author and by a corporation U.S. Game Systems, We have already reviewed another card game of theirs: Banana Split (review).

Hooyah is no big guy. When it comes to its dimensions, it corresponds to box of another card games. It is slightly larger, although quite low in terms of height. What will surely delight you is its contents. First you get jumped by instructions guide, that will teach you how to play. But it is not right time for this now, first let’s see, what we will be offered in effort towards completing quests.

Main component, around which everything will revolve, is deck of cards. There are 75 operational cards, which also serve as an event and thus have dual use. On each of them you will find a number from one to five tinged in one of five colors. Beyond here you will meet twenty cards of equipment, fifty to provide you with various skills required in carrying out missions and five jokers usable instead of them.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - game is ready

You will find ten different soldier cards, to whose role you will reincarnate. Our only complaint here is directed to the fact, there is not even a woman among them. I bet there are women in SEAL. So if you play with someone of tender sex, she must contend with a male. Each character has a special ability on certain color of skills (such as red shooting or blue abilities in the water) and of course his portrait.

Deck also contains five mission cards, where you will go with your troops. And foldable holder, where one of them is inserted. It creates a bridge in the shape of the letter „A“ and has handles in its corners. Each mission itself is not only accompanied by text, but also contains some requirements and a description of the specific task with a map of the site. So you really feel as a member of an elite commando on some briefing.

Furthermore, the box has still some more goodnes as time counter. But not with sand inside. This time, its done more simpler (and nicer) as a compass, whose needle will count down your turns needed to complete the task. Along with him you punch out another thirty tokens with a red cross used to mark soldiers injuries.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - game is ready

As a bonus, you will find one more thing inside. It’s a dog tag, which you can hang on your neck, while you play. Or even for a walk outside, if you like. It perfectly complements the atmosphere of the game and is a pleasant surprise, that will delight, even though its not necessare for the game itself. Here, the publisher must be clearly commended.

At the beginning of the game, you intentionally or accidentally select one of the five missions available. But you will have to make your way towards it by completing partial tasks. You attach this grand mission on the stand and lay it on the table, so all participants can clearly see it. Its fulfillment is your common goal, there is no solo winner, as in most other games. Military rescue operations are purely and only about cooperation of the whole team, the individual’s going down on the expense of precise design.

One of the players must become commanding officer. On his shoulders will hang more obligations, than others will have, so it should be an experienced player. Other players get randomly assigned roles in the team by dealing them character cards. These all participants will also receive five tokens of health.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - game is ready

In front of main mission card, there will be five pairs of shuffled cards of operations face down. The first two furthest from the goal are revealed and a leftover deck is put aside as drawing package. In addition, you must also prepare supply area, which consists of skills and equipment decks. From there, you put openly five cards face up to make offer for your soldiers.

Now is missing only to set time interval for operations, that are rotated on the table accordingly to two large numbers written on them. Its their sum, that gives you time, you have not only to complete the partial mission, but also to prepare yourself for it. Mark this value on the gauge with the needle.

So we have been successfully briefed and finally we can get into the action. It is divided into three phases, where players operate as a team, but still themself. Indeed, how could it be otherwise, when it comes to SEALS? The first step to success each round is a preparation, in which you are trying to get enough cards in colors shown by operations cards.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - cards

Gradually, all players get their word. Everyone is free to choose exactly two cards from the menu of equipment and skills on the table. Its possible to choose from five revealed cards or draw randomly from the deck. Everybody keeps them secret and does not show it to others, although players see them, when you pick them up. During the turn, you can also play cards, which have PREPARE EQUIPMENT written on them. They will usually allow you to draw more tickets and that will make it easier for you. At the end of your turn, you subtract one point on the timer and pass it to another player to do exactly the same.

Soldiers pass and reduce the time limit until the commander calls command „Hooyah“. This is meant as a signal, when commanding officer thinks, team is properly prepared and you’re ready to fulfill the mission itself. When the timer reaches zero, every player who takes action loses one life.

Once per round, the operation commander may declare a signal for the onset. Players will then speak up number of cards they are holding in their hands. Each player can, however, announce only number of cards of one color each time. This way, team (and commander) receives partial and incomplete information about their preparedness. Reported color depends on players decision and can have a big impact on final outcome.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - game is ready

Based on the information, commander may then decide to call out another signal for onset. Players can immediately report status of other color. This way, team gradually puts together his status and ability. But the goal is not just to get enough cards to complete the mission. Before that, you still have to deal with unexpected events.

Once the mission commander shouts „Hooyah“, whole preparation ends and each player must draw a random event card from the deck. But those will be drawn in several rounds, and their number is determined not only by number of soldiers in the team, but also the operation level, which you are going to attempt (first to fifth). Cards usually require you to check your personal preparedness in some areas. You must either play corresponding card from your hand (and lose it) or reveal three cards from the deck and hope, that correct ones will be there. If you fail, your character loses one health token. But the game also contains other events, which force you to discard cards, evaluate more events or lose some lives.

Now, you just need to play as many cards as you are prescribed by a pair of rotated operation cards. Players interpret these cards gradually in small groups as they see fit. If they do not meet the requirements at the first attempt, they can continue playing more, until they comply with the request, or fail completely.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - cards

In the course of the game, you can also switch card colors. For this purpose, there are skills of your soldiers and some the abilities of operation cards (OPS EQUIPMENT). You can also replace four cards of one color to one of any other color at any time.

In both situations, you remove played cards and put them on the discard pile. Victory will bring you some new tokens of health, but only if you meet mission objective before time expires on the clock. You get as many tokens as there is time left and commander decides to allocate them among his soldiers. Cards of fulfilled operations are acquired and you can continue to the next operations in order in direction towards final mission.

In the event of a failure, players lose one life and also all cards in their hand and replace the failed operation for a new one. So you will not move forward, but you have to play the operation again. If one of the soldiers rans out of lives, he is out of the game. If it happens to all, you have lost.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - game is ready

Otherwise, you can continue through to the next operation until you meet final mission, which includes not only event, but also a much harder task to collect colored cards. Only then can you say, you have succeeded. Then you calculate your efficiency, expressed in points, so you can compare your job with your other games in past or future.

Hooyah is a cooperative card game, in which you collect cards together. Seemingly, there is nothing to it, but players can add cards to their hands only for a given time. This is essential given the difficulty of the game, because without quickly going into real action, you can not be successful. You need to save some time, for which you get tokens of lives for next phase of the game.

Topic is not too matched up with the atmosphere, but that does not mean, that Hooyah plays poorly. Quite the contrary. Although you do not feel like a true elite soldier, game still has a nice relaxed feel. But this does not mean, that the game was somehow simple.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - cards

Difficulty is quite high and is not just a simple game to beat. There is also a significant part of coincidence at stake. In case you have bad luck with the event, you will run into problems. However, it is especially important to thoroughly employ all special skills of your characters and start with simpler missions one and two, that are a little more tolerant to your mistakes.

Unfortunately, an exciting new game system is linked also with one significant disadvantage. The experience is very different from the number of players, who participate in the game. While in one or two, game is easier basically like having game with open information, in more player communication is difficult (limited by the rules) and you must often take decisions on edge. At time, when you will be able to see the true state of cards after the round, it may be too late and clock ticked away.

But Hooyah is not intended to provide perfectly balanced experience for all numbers. Instead, on the other hand, it encourages players to communicate at the table, depending on how it just suits them. Its aim is to make fun for players to work together and beat the game. Its simple rules guarantee sutability for even younger players.

Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game - cards

Scoring of course has a different weight for each mission. So if you want to keep records, then be sure to mark down, which tasks have you achieved your score. Only then you really can compare your success throughout more plays.

Variability is excellent and it’s only thanks to five mission cards, you can rotate and also ten characters. Most of the work is done by winning card of transactions, which are your main obstacles on the way to victory. Here you will lose precious lives, that may be lacking in the final mission.

Hooyah is an interesting game, thanks to its accessibility for family gaming. It is not difficult, yet it really is decorated with exquisite workmanship. So it definitely deserves the attention, it currently lacks, because nobody knows it too much. You should enroll in the army now, become a SEAL and to give terrorists, what they deserve!

DesignerMike Fitzgerald
ArtistJoe Boginski, Jody Boginski-Barbessi
PublisherU.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Year Published
# of Players1 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3 players
(3 voters)
Playing Time45
Mfg Suggested Ages10 and up
User Suggested Ages12 and up
(2 voters)
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(1 voters)
CategoryCard Game, Modern Warfare
MechanicCooperative Game, Hand Management, Open Drafting, Set Collection, Variable Player Powers
ExpansionHooyah: Navy Seals Card Game – Mission – Hostage Rescue Promo Card
Primary NameHooyah: Navy Seals Card Game

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Hooyah – being a tough marine for a few minutes
Final word
Hooyah is coperative card game, where players first have to prepare together for a given missions. Its conditions are known from the start, yet many unforseen circumstances can easily surprise you as randomly drawn events and you have to be ready for them as well. You have a strictly given amount of time for briefing, while you must be as quick as possible, because you can heal for the remaining time. Missions are acomplished by turning cards of the right colors from your hand. Players of course can have various equipment and each has also their skill, which helps a lot. Rules are simple and you graps them during one round. The only one not clear enough is questioning of your commander after each complete round. But you get it right in the end too, because its intuitive. Rulebook is long, but filled with examples and images, so do not be afraid of it. Large part of game is in luck. Your preparation time is set based on difficulty, but you draw cards from random menu and there are unexpected events revealed for each player. This may easily make the game last a little longer and bring you into defeat. Experience differs with number of players, while with more is perceivable better, yet its fun even in lower numbers. Hooyah is well done cooperative game with excellent processing and simple mechanis, which is suitable for all natural born soldiers..
Reader Rating0 Votes
interesting cooperative mechanic
preparation a then you fulfill mission
timer measures turns available for each task
excellent variability
playable even in one player (without agreements)
players do not know each other cards
different missions
atmosphere is not exactly of military action
bad luck might surprise you and unexpectedly raises difficulty
experience differs based on player numbers
gametime might be longer
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