Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hasbro’s Ratuki! Offers Addictive, Simple Slap-Happy Fun [Review]

Hasbro's Ratuki!It’s not often anymore that you can find a card or board game that is not only quick to play, but easy to learn and addictive.  Lately, every game I play takes close to if not more than an hour, and learning the rules takes even longer.  Hasbro sent me a game that is very refreshing in its simplicity: Ratuki!.

For those of you who don’t know yet, I go to an awesome college that has a student organization known as Gaming Guild.  There is also Anime Club, DDR Club, and a newly-started-up Video Game Club.  Gaming Guild is, basically, an organization where anyone (we really don’t care if they’re students or not) get together officially one night a week and play board and card games.  Unofficially, generally any member of Gaming Guild can be found hanging out any other day of the week, playing computer or DS games, chatting, or playing more board games between classes.  
This being my group of friends, I really enjoy trying out new board/card games!  So when Hasbro offered to let me try out Ratuki!, a new card game that has just been released, I jumped at the opportunity.  Once I received my copy, I took it to Gaming Guild that week to try it out.

Having no idea what to expect other than what’s on the box, my friends and I did a thorough read of the directions to figure it out before commencing gameplay.  Unfortunately, for an otherwise simple game, the instructions that come with it were terribly hard to understand.  Out of the four of us playing, everyone had to do a read-through of the game at least once to fully “get it”; even after that, we had to re-read the directions to find out what constitutes a winner.  Perhaps we only had trouble because we were in a small room full of excessively loud geeks who had had too much Mountain Dew and pizza.  Or maybe we were just expecting the game to be a little more complicated like The Stars are Right or Settlers of Catan.  Nevertheless, we had difficulty initially figuring out what we were supposed to do.  But once we did, gameplay was very fast and simple.

Ratuki! Gameplay

The way I love describing this game: “It’s like “Speed.” On crack.”
The game itself is pretty simple.  If you’ve ever played the card game “Speed,” it’s kind of like that.  The idea is very similar, but instead of trying to get rid of your cards the fastest, the aim is to do that and collect piles of cards.  A finished pile starts at 1 and finishes with 5 (however, the sequence can go from 3 to 2 to 1 to 2 to 1...just like “Speed”), at which point the first person to yell “Ratuki!” and slap the pile claims the prize.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, it gets much harder because the more people playing (max of 5) the more piles there are, so you have to pay attention to multiple piles to win.  Also, playing cards gets a little more difficult because cards aren’t neatly labeled with matching numbers; nope, some numbers are listed numerically, some with Roman numerals, and other with hands (hand with one finger up for “one”, two up for “two”, etc.). 

Was the game fun?  I thought so.  I would definitely bring it back to Gaming Guild and play it again.  Now that I know how to play, teaching others will be easy, and it is a nice fast-paced game.  That said, if you aren’t a fan of very fast-paced games or card games in general, you probably will not enjoy Ratuki!.  But if you’re open to it, I’d at least request giving the game a try; some of the people I played with don’t like card games but seemed to enjoy this one.  Depending on how many people play, the game can take minutes to finish so it would be a great option if you are looking for something quick to do!

Ratuki! retails for roughly $10.  More info is available (including where you can buy it) on the Hasbro site!



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