Cross Hares: Testing Ground Review

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Cross Hares: Testing Ground is a game by Jesse Labbe, published by 1A Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be setting of on an adventure along a long trail as they make their way to an evil factory which they must destroy. The first player that is able to make it to the end and defeat the factory will be declared the winner.

To begin, place the board on the table. Shuffle the event, strong hold and testing ground cards separately and then place them face down on the board in their specific places. Flip over the top card of the event deck and place it in the discard pile beside the deck. Place the items, specialty markers and adventure boards where they can easily be reached by all players. Players will then roll the challenge die to see who goes first. The winner gets to choose their character first from the character cards. Some characters will require a token card as well as special tokens. Players must check their character card to see. Players will then receive the pawn for their character which is placed on a starting zone in reverse turn order. Play now begins.

On a player’s turn they will roll the green movement die and move the required amount of spaces following whichever way the path leads them that they choose. If their roll results in a ?, they will not move but will now roll the blue research die. If an item or specialty is rolled, they collect that token and may then place it on one of their corresponding spaces on their character card. Each space provides benefits or special abilities that can help them or even hurt the other players. If the player rolls an event on the research die they must flip over the next event card. If an Adventure is rolled, the character goes on an adventure in the location of the player’s character. The player then follows the instructions on the Adventure card.

As the characters move across the board, they will encounter various spaces that will do different things. Stronghold spaces allow the player to draw a stronghold card. Players have a maximum hand size of 4 unless an item or specialty allows them to carry more. Testing ground cards cause the player to draw a testing ground card. Unlike the stronghold cards, these are usually dangerous to the player and require them to roll an attack against the card’s defense or suffer a penalty. Specialty and item spaces allow the player to take the appropriate token and add it to their character sheet giving them a item or specialty of their choice. Research spaces cause the player to roll the research die. The event activation spaces cause whatever face up event card on the board to become active. This usually will affect all players, most times negatively. If players land on the same space as another character they can choose to battle with the loser being forced back 4 spaces. This all continues with players taking turns moving, drawing cards and such until a player makes it to the end and lands on the factory. If the player is able to defeat the factory, they win.

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COMPONENTS
This game has lots of great looking components. The cards are all really great looking with lots of great art on them. The over sized adventure cards are really great looking as well. The character cards have all the info for each character along with their items and specialties. The tokens are nice and thick and look great as well. The board is really large and looks amazing. The dice are really cool looking and I love the different faces on the special dice. The various tokens, character standees and miniatures are really awesome. No expense was spared with this game and you can tell it. Everything in this box oozes with quality and theme. In look and theme, I’d have to say that this is by far my most favorite game. The art is amazing throughout the game.
10 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game carries over the quality of the components. It’s written extremely well. It walks you through the game from start to finish so that you can get right into playing it instead of spending hours reading rules. There’s a great back story at the beginning of the book to give you a glimpse into the Cross Hares world. There are lots of great pictures and examples on pretty much every page. This is one of the best looking and best designed rule books that I’ve ever seen. There are several pages of rules clarifications. There are also alternative ways to play the game scattered throughout the book. There are a couple of pages of kickstarter backers which is a nice tribute to all the great people that supported the game. The last page is an index of where to find what. All in all, this is an amazing rule book that looks and feels amazing from cover to cover.
10 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a truly amazing game. It has some storytelling aspects to it as well as some really fun player interaction. I will admit, the first time we played the game, I didn’t mix up the cards very well so a lot of the same type of things kept happening in every deck. Of course I learned from that on later plays. I played Kiryu the first time but could never actually get my traps to work out right. I did figure out that Baum!Ya is a very dangerous character to play against as my friend was constantly taking away my movement rolls. Needless to say, I lost. As a matter of fact, I’ve yet to win. However, that doesn’t make me want to play it any less. If anything, it makes me want to play it more, so that I can get a win. I really really really enjoy this game. The adventures are rare but can be really fun if you’re lucky enough to roll one. The cards add an extra take that feel at times which add to my enjoyment of the game. It takes about an hour to play and is pure enjoyment for every minute of that hour. This game is great for almost any age group and is super simple to play. There’s not a lot of strategy to this game, simply roll and move, maybe play a card. That doesn’t matter though as it’s about the interactions and the fun that you’ll have. This is definitely one of my top games.
10 out of 10

OVERALL
Cross Hares: Testing Ground is a light game with a story that’s worth telling. The game plays in roughly an hour but the fun you’ll have will last longer. The artwork, theme and design of the game from the components to the rulebook is absolutely amazing. I’m love how great the game looks. There’s not a lot of strategy to the game but has some really fun player interaction and story telling instead. Fans of the classic trail based games of yester year should really enjoy this as well as players that like a good story. The game is fun for almost any age and is simple to play. This is lots of fun to play, even though I haven’t won a game yet. I highly recommend this game and look forward to playing it many many more times. Definitely one of the best games for 2014, at least in my book.
10 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great games, please check out 1A Games at their site.

http://1agames.com/

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About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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