Hunt: The Unknown Quarry Review

 

Hunt Cover_Front

Hunt: The Unknown Quarry is a game by Jeremy Lennert, published by Victory Point Games. It is for 3-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of bounty hunters who have tracked down a horrible monster that has been terrorizing a small country town to an abandoned mansion. The thing is that one of the hunters is actually the creature in disguise. It will be up to the hunters to figure out who is whom before the creature cripples them all and makes it’s escape. Only one player can win, whether it’s one of the hunters or the creature.

To begin, the three game boards should be set on the table with each floor connecting in the proper order; upper floor, ground floor and basement. The boards are double sided so the layout is chosen by the players. Players choose characters and receive the energy card and matching player pawn. The energy card is placed face up in front of them while the pawn is placed on the room marked hall on the ground floor board. Players also will receive a scratch sheet and writing utensil to mark their discoveries during the game. Some scratch sheets are provided with more available to download from the website or copy from the back of the rulebook. Writing utensils are not provided with the game. Players will finally receive a player screen to keep their notes hidden from other players. Their energy card though should always remain visible to other players. The 5 monster ability cards should be shuffled with 2 dealt face down into a pile. Item cards are shuffled and piles of 2 cards each are dealt out for each player. Once this is done, half the players rearrange the piles while the others look away. Then the other half of the players rearrange the piles while the first half look away. Players then take turns choosing one of the piles to form their starting hand. Players should not show each other their cards. The player that ends up with the monster ability cards is the monster. Players that chose a pile of cards that contained item cards is a human bounty hunter. The remaining 3 monster ability cards are shuffled in with the remainder of the item deck without looking at them. A number of cards is dealt out onto each room face down equal to the number printed on the board. Once this is complete, any remaining cards are spread out as evenly as possible between rooms marked with an asterix. The first player is chosen and they are given the 3 standard action cards. Play now begins.

Before I get into the real breakdown of the gameplay, one thing should be noted. This game works on the honor system. There is a lot of information that must be kept secret during the game. It is very important that players not cheat even though they will most assuredly find ways of doing this through the course of the game. Of course once players compare notes at the end of the game it will become apparent what happened. Players should be made aware of the fact that they should not share information throughout the game as this would accidentally be cheating as well and could well ruin the game for everyone. With this in mind, let’s continue.

In this game, players will take turns in clockwise order, beginning with the first player. Once a player’s turn is over, they must pass the standard action cards to the next player. On the first turn, the first player is only allowed to take one action. The second player can take two actions and the third player can take three. Players starting with the fourth player onward, are allowed four actions. A player need not take all their actions if they choose not to. The player may choose from 4 actions; move, search, pick up or interact.

The first action that a player can choose to take is the move action. This is how the player’s character gets from one room to another. For one action a player is allowed to move their character pawn into a connected room. A character is not allowed to move diagonally, or through a wall that is represented by a solid dark line. They are allowed to move upstairs or downstairs using the stairs for one action as well. Moving out of a room costs an extra action for each player in the room that harassed them since their previous turn. A player’s pawn is considered harassed if another player uses an interact action with them, more on this later. There are ways to counteract this which I will discuss later.

The next action that a player can take is the search action. This action allows the player to pick up and look at all the cards that are face down in the room that the player’s character pawn is currently in. The player can then note anything they like on their scratch sheet. More on these a little later too.

Another action that a player can choose to take is the pick up action. This action allows a player to take an item card from their current room and add it to their hand. Of course, they must have already used the search action during their turn before using this action. If a player has more than 4 cards due to this action, they must immediately drop an item but can not drop a monster action card. The card is placed face down with the rest of the cards. Multiple items may be picked up on a turn without performing another search action but each item picked up costs a separate action.

The last action that a player can choose is the interact action. This action may not be taken on a player’s first two turns. This action allows a player to target another player in the same room by declaring which player they are targeting and choosing an action card from their hand without showing it to anyone. The player sets the rest of their cards down and rolls the die, comparing the results to the card chosen. If the player is happy with the results they will then pass the selected card to their chosen target, again without letting anyone else see it. The player will then look at the card and die roll to determine the effect. They then pass the card back and resolve the effect. This may involve them passing cards from their hand to the player or even marking down wounds on their scratch sheet. Of course the player has the option if they aren’t happy with the die roll to withdraw the action card and return it to their hand without showing it to another player. This still costs one action regardless. The same action card may be used multiple times. As stated earlier, if another player is targeted with an action card, they are considered harassed, even if the card is withdrawn or the roll has no effect. The defending player may use a reaction card to defend themself from certain interactions. The attacking player may choose to use one of the 3 standard action cards, an item card from their hand or a monster ability card if they are the monster.

Energy may be spent in addition to any actions performed. This may be used to add additional effects. A player may use energy to surge. This allows them to add or subtract 1 from a die roll when interacting. It can be used to take an additional turn. This is referred to as adrenaline. It can also be used to feint. This allows the player to ignore the effects of being harassed for the rest of their turn. Energy is recovered at the end of a player’s turn if they have only used the search or pick up action or used a spy card. Otherwise energy can not be recovered that turn.

Finally a few words on wounds and dying and using the scratch sheet. When a player is wounded, they should mark off one of the life boxes on their scratch sheet. They may also use the scratch sheet to mark whatever information they care to record, much like the sheet used in the game, Clue. A bounty hunter is crippled once they have suffered 3 or more wounds. This should not be announced until the next time the player suffers a wound. Once crippled, a player can not spend energy or move more than 2 spaces per turn. When interacting, if they roll a 4, 5 or 6 on the die, they must withdraw the action card. If all the bounty hunters have been crippled by the monster, the monster wins. If however, the monster suffers wounds equal to the number of players, it is mortally wounded and must announce this immediately. The rest of the players must announce if they are crippled or not. The monster wins if all the hunters are crippled. If at least one player remains uncrippled, then the player that dealt the last wound to the monster is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
This game is really well designed and comes with lots of great pieces. First off there are the huge double sided boards. These have that great Clue feeling to them. The rooms are all unique and look great. They are a bit thin but are fully functional and work great. The character pawns are thick cardboard and fit nicely inside the plastic stands. Each one has a unique character that matches one of the 6 energy cards. The artwork is really nice and looks like it was pulled from the same genre as the Call of Cthulhu or some other noir style mystery. The die that is included is simply that, a normal 6 sided die. The player screens have that same image on the front and are full of great player information on the back, much like a player aid would have except cooler. There are scratch sheets included for several plays and players, 9 to be exact. Of course the rule sheet has 3 printed on the back of it that can be photocopied to make more. Of course the star of the game is the cards. They look great. Each one has that same look and feel as the rest of the game. Whether it’s the item cards, monster abilities or the standard action cards, each one brings out that feeling of the theme really well. Overall, I’m really impressed with the look and feel of the game. A really great job.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is really well done. There are lots of pictures throughout the book, as well as examples of gameplay. The back page has the scratch sheets that can be photocopied that I spoke about earlier. Everything is laid out very well and it’s very simple to read and understand. The inside cover has a very nice chart that shows which weapon kills which creature. I’ve thought about making a photocopy of this to sit out on the table as a player aid but haven’t done it yet. The book looks great and covers each topic thoroughly. I have yet to see where something came up that the rulebook didn’t cover good enough. All in all, I’d say that this was designed really well and it looks great on top of it all.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Much like the game of Clue, this is game is all about solving the mystery. The only thing is in this case, the mystery might just kill you, figuratively of course. This is a really excellent game of deduction and mystery solving. It feels to me like Scooby Doo meets Clue, if that makes any sense. You go around the board trying to look at cards and interact with the other players, all while keeping copious notes on what you’ve seen and what you think you’ve figured out. In the meantime, the creature player is doing their best to stay undetected and cripple each player so that they can make their escape. That’s really the game in a nutshell. Doesn’t sound like much, but it is. It’s very thematic and is a lot of fun. For me, the creature roll is fun but the hunter is even better. The feeling of tension that you get knowing that at any time you could be targeted by the creature player and could very easily be taken out, is awesome. I always enjoyed Clue as a kid but this feels like a grown up version for those of us who’ve outgrown the game. There are lots of decisions to be made and lots of items to be used. Knowing when to use an item and when to use an action is a big part of it all. I can say that for me, this works really well and scratches the deductive itch that I didn’t know I had been missing in my collection.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Hunt: The Unknown Quarry is a medium level game of deductive reasoning with a horror style theme thrown on for good measure. Playing time lasts anywhere from an hour to two hours, depending on the players and their deductive abilities. The components and look of the game are really great. I love the rich noir style horror feel with a Clue style backdrop. The gameplay has a lot of the same feel as such games as Clue, Mr. Jack and Le Fantome de l’Opera. The game is very easy to play and works well with any number of players. However it really shines with 4 or more. This game has tons of player interaction through the use of the interact action, action and item cards. There are 10 different creature types that a creature player could possibly be so each game is truly unique. The game is highly replayable and each time you play, a new story is created. I love the thematic approach to the game and love how the story of the creature unfolds through playing the game. It’s a truly unique experience. Fans of any type of deductive or murder mystery style games should truly enjoy this one. I highly recommend it. This is definitely one that needs to be played to truly enjoy.
9 out of 10.

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

http://www.victorypointgames.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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