With the current popularity of board games, parents that are gamers are taking a closer look at the games that are available for their children. Germany’s game company, HABA, has several offerings that are well made and fun for kids. One of their top sellers is Rhino Hero. Let’s take a look at why this game has such wide appeal to both kids and adults.Rhino Hero is a card stacking/dexterity game that comes in a 4 1/2” x 7” box and includes bendable wall cards, roof cards, a starting base, and a wooden meeple of Rhino Hero himself. The quality of the components are excellent. Although the multilingual 32 page rulebook is nicely done, only five of the pages are relevant to any given language.
The wall cards which are bent into shape for placement are of a very sturdy stock with a vibrant yellow interior and a more subdued earth tone exterior. The colors quickly grabbed the eyes of players as they were laid upon the table. The sturdiness of the cards are apparent as the folding of the card along the crease doesn’t weaken the structure of the card itself, even after multiple plays. These are built to withstand the rigors of a game of this nature.The base card is of the same sturdy stock as the other included cards and is double sided. One side has markings for the placement of two walls, while the other side is for a more challenging game, as there is only wall marking to start play.
The roof cards, which are the foundation of the gameplay, feature silver foiled corners and are further indicative of the quality of the components that HABA has in their games. Each of these cards feature the wall patterns to be matched for each turn.
Rhino Hero himself is a custom 1 1/4” painted wood meeple that has a decal applied to the front that displays a graphic of Rhino Hero.
To start the game each player is dealt five roof cards (seven cards in a two player game) and players will attempt to be the first player to play all of their cards. Play starts by bending the wall cards and placing them on the floor tile matching both the pattern and amount of walls. That player will then place one of their roof cards on top of the walls, thus completing their turn. The following player now has to build walls to match the pattern on the roof card that the previous player played. However, they also have to follow any of the effects that are in the silver cornered region of the card. Some of these effects include: having to draw an extra roof card, reversing turn order, next player loses a turn and perhaps the most important effect: move the Rhino Hero meeple to the spot designated on the newly played roof card. This is where the fun really begins. Besides having to deal with building a large building of cards, you now have to take Rhino Hero from one roof and place him on the new one. This often times leads to the collapse of the structure, either by your hand knocking into walls/roofs or the weight of the meeple causes the building to fall over. The game ends when a player has played all of their roof cards or when the building collapses, in which case the player with the least amount of cards in their hand is declared the winner.
This game appealed to players of all ages. The younger players enjoyed the graphics and game play while learning about spatial relationships and balance, while the older players had a raucous time as they teased each other as they built the towering structure. Parents in particular were happy to have a game in which they could play with their children on a somewhat level playing field. It is rare that there are games that have such a wide range of appeal and the box designation of ages 5-99 seems to be quite accurate. This is an excellent game for parents with young children or adults who want to have a fun party game.