Monday, July 22, 2013

Hurricane: The Board Game

Is it wise to play a game called "Hurricane: The Game of the Tropics" in Florida smack in the middle of hurricane season? I think it would only really be tempting fate if it was played while a hurricane was bearing down on the Gulf Coast, but even then, it might have to come out and be a part of the party.

If you are interested, a little information about the origins of this board game can be found here. I'm not sure I believe that this game was an "immediate hit" or that it "(sold out) in stores from the Gulf Coast to New England." If it did, I'm guessing people got it home, read the directions and went, "Huh?" Just look at this picture of Michael and Mom, taken while Murphy read the directions to us:

We had to reference the directions multiple times while we played this take on Monopoly, where instead of railroads and Park Place, you can buy resorts that are in classically hurricane-prone zones of the tropics.

Murphy was the Master of the Game, since he is the one with the best reading comprehension skills in our group.

That thumbs up was given WAY before we realized just how boring this game would be if we followed the actual directions.

So, a basic rundown: up to 4 people can play at a time, and while that seems like a small group, it's probably best, since the rules are completely confusing. Each player is given a yacht and a pawn. The yachts start in a Cruise Port and the pawns start on...well...the START square of the board.

As you move around the board, you can purchase resorts for extremely reasonable prices - between $50,000 and $250,000. You can also buy hurricane preparedness options for your resorts, such as an evacuation plan, a seawall, and structure reinforcements. 

If you land on a resort that is owned by someone else, you have to put your yacht in the water and make your way toward the resort. This is a tedious process and one that we will probably rework the next time we play. Here is Michael, making his way toward the resort in New Orleans. (side note: Who in their right mind would buy a resort in New Orleans? I mean, really?)

I think Mom was trying to get to Cancun. I feel like this game might actually be improved by adding some drinking options to it as well.

Issues arise if your yacht is in the water and you are in the path of a hurricane. This was the slowest part of the game. The only time the hurricane moves is if a player lands on an "H" square. To see where the storm is going next, you use this very detailed card of coordinates and you go one line at a time. Most of the time, the hurricane would only move two coordinates in one direction, meaning it was slow going.

This is where we changed things up a bit. In addition to the "H" squares, there are also "P" squares on the board. The directions say that if a player lands on a "P", they have the chance to buy additional options for their resorts. In our version of the game, if you land on a "P", a Sharknado! is coming!!! This translates to the hurricane moving two times instead of one. It doesn't seem like much, but once we started doing that, the game really picked up.

We also edited some of the Special Bulletin cards. :-)

The Bermuda Triangle is just one of the obstacles you run into as you go around the board. The consequences of being in the Triangle are actually quite boring and will be changed when we rewrite the directions.

If you ever get the chance to play Hurricane! (I can't type it without the exclamation point, even if the actual game does not have that particular punctuation in the title), I would recommend that you have the following:
  • One sober person who is actually paying attention to the rules.
  • A sense of humor, because the game is quite ridiculous.
  • Beer. Lots and Lots of Beer.

The game makers had a Kickstarter to revamp the game, but they did not make their goal. Reading over some of the "improvements" I think I like the original version better. Not everything needs an app to make it more exciting.

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