Review: Leaping Lemmings – animal suicidal tendencies

Leaping Lemmings - packaging

„So what do you think Ruby. Will they come running again today? I am slowly starting to get hungry,“ said thoughtfully a small eagle to his friend as they were both sitting on a tree branch next to each other. They have just cleared their feather with beak and enjoyed shelter from the sun in tree’s dense foliage.

„I think definitely yes. There are swarms of them. Closed in barred cages. Who wants to live like that? Even without the suicidal instinct, I would chose rather to jump from a rock.“

„That is easy to told, since you have wings,“ said Stephen Junior. „But if I were a lemming, I would definitely jump from that crag..“

„Look, lunch is coming,“ responded Ruby, when a mad laughter echoed from the nearby building door. In the doorway, there stood three men in white coats and dozens of lemmings were jumping and running around their feet. They are free. Some were wearing sort of special equipment on their feet, others jumped like frogs. But without exception all of them ran toward a nearby cliff. Eagles shake their wings and rose into the air. Hunt begins..

Leaping Lemmings - game is ready

This is the story, which tells us board game from , published in . Its authors are the commonly known creators of war games, and . Illustration for the game were created by .

Board game Leaping Lemmings is hidden in a box, which will surprise you with its weight. As if it contained all the entertainment of the world within and more. Maybe the lemmings are so heavy? A thickness of the box itself also corresponds to it – so that all the fun inside would not run on you. That is why we need a solid wall. The lid has eagle diving on horrified lemming on it. The scene is a little bit scary and moreover funny.

You will find a game board in the box, that is relatively small size (at least for GMTs limits). At its center is composed of hexagons, making a place, where lemmings can run. The grass and bushes grow in random places, and there are lying some pellets for those, who dream of special abilities. And to the right is really a rocky cliff. In the upper side, there are five places, where divers will rest after they accomplish their goal. Next to i tis space for cards and below it all is victory points track.

Leaping Lemmings - game is ready

To the game board belong also pile of tokens. You must of course punch them out of sheets, giving you six lemmings families of ten members each and one token to mark the victory points of this clan. But you will liberate also their predators – two eagles Ruby and Stephen Jr. They are equipped also with six-sided dice of the same color as the eagles – one blue and one red.

Other components are comprised of two decks of cards, which must be separated from each other. One contains movement cards with numbers from one to five and a picture of fleeing lemmings. The second pile is full of action cards allowing the scientists (players) to occasionally do some unexpected action. And because we do not know how to count, there is also a third pile containing six cards – one for each family. They are reversible, one side has lemmings image saying „It’s a five!“ and the second one contains only image without text.

You will also find a booklet in the box with rules, that at first glance looks extensive. But be not afraid of it, because Leaping Lemmings is actually a simple game. Only you have to get accustomed to some of its tiny rules.

Leaping Lemmings - game in progress

Experienced players of computer game Lemmings! Know the most about clones suicidal lemmings. But you were supposed to save them. Usually some have fallen victims to the trip, but eventually you have lead them through all the pitfalls to finish. And now back to little animals in this board game, where you will not be rescuing them, but compete for the most effective suicide jump off the cliff.

Lemmings are in fact genetically modified and intelligent animals, that have developed different clans in the laboratory world. Each of the scientists are now taking one of his favorite clans and will attempt to lead them through the eagles plateau all the way to the cliff. Be the first and be the most ellegant, when it comes to the jumping.

At the beginning, each of the players has ten lemmings, which must he place on the starting line on the board. He also gets some secret action cards in his hand, and lay a color card indicating, which clan does he control, in front of him. This card should rest with its It’s a five! side up – you can use the card services once and improve movement of the given round.

Leaping Lemmings - game in progress

All other movement cards are shuffled and placed on the board, as well as action cards. The last six movement cards will be enriched with a randomly shuffled GAME OVER card. It announces the game end in a way, that players could not predict exactly, on which of the round will the game end.

The game board will also be put to life with two eagle tokens – both will take their starting position in a circle of their color in position A. Each of the eagles has six hexagons under his supervision. Players then should randomly place pellet tokens on the designated spots. They can be run over to collect them.

The game is very simple. In each round one of the players will take on the role of eagle, therefore becoming the Eagle player and throws both a red and blue dice. According to the numbers on the dice, he moves corresponding eagle further clockwise for so many positions. Eagles are circling above their district and seek their prey. Danger is always imminent for six hexes, which surround their current position.

Leaping Lemmings - game in progress

Now player turns one movement card from the deck and all players will now gradually shift their lemmings for this number of positions towards the cliff starting from eagle player. Animals can only ever move forward and only once per turn can they sidestep. It is now important, on which hex their move ends. When they arrive at the empty open field (without bush), they will simply wait there for the next round, when their master moves with them again. But at the same time, they will tremble at the sight of an eagle circling, because they are easy catch.

Prior to his keen eye, lemmings can hide in a thicket, but there fits only a small number of lemming figures (from one to three depending on the number of players in the game). Furthermore, to enter this place, you have to spend two movement points instead of one. Only there is a lemming safe for a while, before he tosses himself off the cliff.

Outside these bushes, lemmings can also stop on the spot, which is already taken by any other sprinter. In this case, the lemming tokens begin to stack on each other. The one, who arrived second, has the advantage of remaining the top for now – so you simply put them on top, when they arrive. The original lemming is covered, and from this point he can not move from here, until lemmings lying on top of him move away too. But being on top of the lemming pyramid also has its disadvantage – it is precisely this lemming, which will be a victim to an eagle visit.

Leaping Lemmings - cards

If a player moves a hungry eagle predators to area, where a lemming is sitting on an open field, then bird has got his dinner. In the event, that there is more than one prey, it is the eagle players right to choose lemming, who falls victim to hungry bird. When the eagle catch a lemming, it begins to feed – you turn that his chip the other way up to see this. After throwing the dice in the next round, he will probably have to take off, but first of moving points will be spend for takeoff.

As lemmings are running and some of them get trapped in the clutches of one or the other eagle, another will make their path all the way to the cliff. And now a tough decision lies on the shoulders of the players, because at the edge, there do not grow any shrubs, where lemmings could hide. Jump right away and get fewer points for shorter distance, or wait for higher movement card and enjoy a good long jump for more points? Your victory points are based on how much points will remain, when you reach the rock edge. If you jump straight from the last box with a five, you will collect great five victory points.

Some may find this system a bit confusing, because there is one step, that makes a lemming like into air to jump, but even this one is worth the first point. For this purpose, there are five boxes on the board numbered one to five – when the lemming moves over the edge, you then continue counting on these spots from one up. This makes counting very easy. You can not miscalculate.

Leaping Lemmings - game in progress

During the lemmings sprint toward the cliff, they can also collect pellets lying on the board on some spots. They have hidden on them either value in the victory points or they may be exchanged for a favor – for example highering or lowering value of a movement card. Of course you should not forget to use the action cards, that you have in hand from the beginning of the match.

The game ends as soon as you draw GAME OVER card instead of next movement card. Players can no longer continue to run with other lemmings. They therefore survive. They get their next chance for suicide soon, in the next race, which will certainly come very soon. Players now add up points for jumping off the cliff plus all collected on small pellet tokens. Whoever got the most points is the winner.

Leaping Lemmings is a simple game, that is really, really catchy. Its topic will probably startle you at first sight – making lemmings jump from a cliff, and win the game for most jumps is not quite educational. But the game takes this suicidal theme and exaggerate it little. It does not seem to you, that such event happens there at all. And if you take everything as a joke, you can enjoy great fun with your kids.

Leaping Lemmings - cards

This is truly a family game. Contains chance in the form of turning cards with numbers, but while all players have the same options, there is no luck involved in the result. And it’s up to players, how will they use these points and if they can escape the hungry claws of eagles or if they just get eaten.

Of course, there are lots of little rules, that you have to watch and learn. Therefore to play with children in the first game, we recommend a simplified version of the game and gradually add more and more rules, as small players get used to the game. We played our first game with the children entirely without action cards and pellets, only with eagles and lemmings sprinting for the reef. While a child will not have to remember and learn so many rules, instead they can start quickly and play the game. In our case, there was great fun even in this simple version and children loved it.There is no problem to add action card then in future games, because it is no longer such a big jump.

Each match is reasonably long and usually sticks within an hour. The higher the number of players is, the more will the game take, because each turn every player shall respond with movement of one of his lemmings. And do not count on the fact, that you had a chance to get all your lemming off the cliff in such limited time. Its a really long run.

Leaping Lemmings - tokens

In the game, it is important to plan and have some strategy. Eagles move along a predetermined trajectory, so you can calculate, when to run through their territory, when to hide in nearby bushes, and when you can afford to wait on an open plain.

Great atmosphere is also supported by lemmings jumping on each other and making a stack. At the moment , only the top of them is prey and it was a choice of the player, because he decided to end his run there. At the same time, only he may leave the place for now. Jump to any opponent lemming is worthwhile, if you need to stop or slow him down. You can for example avoid players to jump off a cliff this way, when the cards are right for jumping.

The atmosphere is strongly related to the number of players participating in the game. In two or three players, we recommend, that each of the two rivals takes two clans and move with them both. In the end, he then adds victory points for both teams. Otherwise the game will have too little conflict and will be significantly less fun. The four clans is enough, and the fun begins when all six are running!

Leaping Lemmings - eagles

Leaping Lemmings also enchants you with its graphic design and quality of all components. They are perfect and you cannot complain about none of the contents of the box in the slightest way. Conversely drawings are funny and entertaining, but everything is well-arranged at the same time.

Leaping Lemmings is a game, that is undoubtedly a family entertainment. While you must pass first few games with little kids and introduce them to the game gradually, the result is worth it. Moreover, once you learn the rules, everything is smooth and simple. A great gaming system brings a lot of fun. The strategy here is of course combined with chance of eagle move, but at this particular game, you would not mind that. So do not hesitate to plunge headlong for this box. You would not be disappointed!

DesignerJohn Poniske, Rick Young
ArtistRodger B. MacGowan, Leona Preston, Mark Simonitch
PublisherGMT Games
Year Published2010
# of Players2 - 6
User Suggested # of Players Best with 6 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6 players
(28 voters)
Playing Time72
Mfg Suggested Ages13 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(12 voters)
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(11 voters)
CategoryAnimals, Humor
MechanicDice Rolling, Grid Movement, Hand Management, Hexagon Grid, Push Your Luck, Race, Take That
Primary NameLeaping Lemmings

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Leaping Lemmings – animal suicidal tendencies
Final word
Leaping Lemmings is a perfect family fun. When we look away from the theme of the game, which it, let's say untraditional, there is everything, that children and families like. Animals, dice throwing, shifting of heroes along the board. But there is much much more, that this. Action cards, victory points for jumps from cliff, hiding in bushes from hungry eagles and lemmings stacking on one spot. Game has simple basic rules and maybe that is, why it plays so well. Yes, there are a minor rules, which might confuse younger gamers, but you can simply introduce them in few games. But don't get us wrong, Leaping Lemmings is not only a childrens game! Adults will enjoy it really well too, because given to its nature, it offers lots of options, how to send chaos on your rivals. In first place, there are eagles, who hover over the field and sometimes dive quickly to grasp some of these little creatures. This game is great present and excellent amusement for family evenings. And even a funny game, which can you introduce to your friends. Its universal game! Do not hesitate and jump off the cliff. But don't look down, you have to belive!
Reader Rating0 Votes
elegant and simple game
hilarious fun
game for all ages
movement is same for all players = same chance on winning
collecting victory points for diving off the cliff
every lemming has a name
lemmings stacking and hiding in the bush
akční karty
advanced players might find the game too simple
random eagle movement might bother someone
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