10 September 2022
Ignore the rules and you’ll have much more fun.
Three towers, many hands, some of which are not team players: Hand-to-Hand Wombat comes to the table with a fun sounding idea – blindfold some people and give them 90 seconds to build pyramidal towers out of various squares while one (or more) players are trying to sabotage the group by hiding blocks, removing them from the towers, placing them in the wrong places, and whatever other nonsense they can come up with. On paper it sounds like a blast but unfortunately it stumbles in the design.
First off, each game is a ‘best of three rounds’ with the Bad Wombat team getting points purely for the Good Wombats failing to complete all of their towers in time. This is important because it’s not too hard to notice who the Bad Wombat is and vote them out of the game after the very first round, leading to the Bad Wombat player having to sit out and watch as everyone else fumbles around blindly. Thankfully this usually only lasts 90 seconds to three minutes at the most but it is still pretty boring for a game that’s centred around fast and chaotic action.
Secondly, once you’ve played a few rounds of it, there’s not much else to see beyond some variant roles that do little to spice up gameplay and are all (with the notable exception of the wombat that switches to the Bad Wombat team) Good Wombats. Including these, we found, makes the game more difficult and the Bad Wombat even more likely to win on points but makes it so much easier to spot the Bad Wombat and force them to sit out.
All things considered, this would probably be fun for young kids but even then the player elimination mechanic feels out of place. Much like Throw Throw Burrito the idea is there but buried under bad design choices. Ignore the rules and you’ll have much more fun.
PLAY IT? NO
Designer: Matthew Inman, Elan Lee, Cory O’Brien
Publisher: Exploding Kittens
Time: 15 minutes
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