04/10/2022

Hunting Me, Hunting You: The hunters, preys, and two neutral parties [Review]

I admire many designers who self-publish their games, and quite recently this year encountered Hunting Me, Hunting You. As we know already, many social deduction games already swarm the market. Some of them are, I admit, worthy of the accolade of classics, too. Nevertheless, Daniel Jamie Williams has courageously created a new game to challenge the established names in the market.

To be honest, Hunting Me, Hunting You is only our second social deduction game review so far. Of course, it’s not because this genre is not our cup of tea, no. And we are eager to try the game, since we barely get this kind of game on the table. A change of scenery is very welcome in our group. Just like any other independent board game designers, Daniel ignited the crowdfunding through Kickstarter in 2020. How will this game fare?

There will be no rule explanation in this article. However, Daniel has prepared a video to explain it briefly how to play his social deduction game. Please check out his video below before you read further.

Disclaimer: I am an avid euro gamer and a hardcore Legend of the Five Rings LCG player. I am not a fan of solo game/variant. This statement will give you an overview of what kind of bias I might have while writing.

Appealing art all over the box

As an illustrator, Daniel was taking the responsibility for the art displayed in his game. Through his hand, he created the quirky characters we enjoyed much from Hunting Me, Hunting You. What I admired the most was the effort to give all characters their personal background story. I love Jack Pocket the most.

IN-DEPTH ON HUNTING ME, HUNTING YOU’S GAMEPLAY

I still remember how Love Letter took the social deduction game genre by storm in 2012. It was one of my introductory games into this hobby. Setting it aside, my favourite game in this segment is actually The Resistance. However, Hunting Me, Hunting You don’t have the same feeling when compared with both games I mentioned in this line.

It feels more like the Ultimate Werewolf, with all the closing the eyes and all players secretly doing something in turn in one of the phases. But the similarity ends there, and Daniel builds his game with another twist. We’ll discuss this aspect more later.

Unique way to divide roles

Most players become the Hunters, and there are two who take the role of The Curator and The Protector. All players try to kill each other, except the latter two. Both Curator and Protector are cooperatively trying to eliminate others and become the only players alive.

The Hunter wins not only when they successfully kill their target. They need to identify who’s targetting them, too. With the addition of the Curator and Protector role, this can be both a blessing and a tricky job to do. An addition of two suspects who actually deal damage to all players without a specific target can throw off the scent of your doing. However, this advantage does not belong only to you; all Hunters also get the same perk.

DEALING DAMAGE INSTEAD OF AUTO-KILL

As mentioned before, Hunting Me, Hunting You has a similar feel compared to Ultimate Werewolf. The difference lies in how a player gets eliminated. As players try to kill each other, they need to deal enough damage to eradicate their target.

This gives enough game time for players. In addition, we can heal, too. It increases the survival rate, and it’s a good thing.

Of course, there is a feature to auto-kill someone here: guessing right who’s targetting you. Nevertheless, this cannot be abused. When we guess it wrong, we will automatically be out of the game.

DIFFERENT GAME MODES, VARIABILITY, REPLAY VALUE

Hunting Me, Hunting You comes with another game mode, and it brings a new ‘meta’ to the game. The tournament introduces a bounty system. It brings coins into the equation, and it influences how to win the game, too. The bounty can also help to blur your wrong-doing when eliminating your target. For me, the normal gameplay is just a tutorial before we play the real deal with bounties and the tournament with a series of games.

The different game modes bring a good range of variation into the game. The replay value is also decent, since it is an easy and fun game for the party. I guess it is the embodiment of the saying, “The more, the merrier.” I’d suggest playing with eight players, as it really brings out the beauty of this game.

COMMENTS ON THE RULEBOOK

It’s hard to contain all important information in a small booklet. Hunting Me, Hunting You has two game modes. One is an individual game, and the other is a tournament with several games. With much information to fit in, I understand the struggle. Our group had some confusions due to the wordings in the rulebook. Luckily, Daniel was friendly and patient enough to explain all things. We share the clarifications from Daniel below.

Tournament? Game? Round?

This was our first hurdle to understanding the whole rule. As a non-native English speaker, our understanding was that a tournament consists of several games, and a game of several rounds. In Hunting Me, Hunting You, it is slightly different. The term ‘round’ actually means an individual game session. Hence, the tournament is said to consist of numerous ‘rounds’.

At first, we thought the Curator and the Protector roles are moving in each game (due to the wording ‘Winning each Round’ in the rulebook). It wasn’t the case after we understood Daniel’s terms in his rulebook. This aspect is explained on Page 1. Understanding the term ‘round’ is important, especially when reading Page 7.

The dead players cannot do anything until the next ‘round’ means they stay dead and do nothing until a new game is initiated. At first, I was quite excited because I thought this can solve the player-elimination problem we usually encounter in this kind of game. However, after knowing that the terminology of round in this game means something else, it becomes clear that this problem remains unaddressed.

Passing the Leader token

Another part that confused us was the way to pass the Leader token. For me, this part was not really intuitive because we needed to pass this token twice in a round (my definition of round). That means, after each Night and Day phase, this token will move to the next player on the left. You can find this explanation on Page 6 and 7.

On another note, Daniel has confirmed that we only need to pass the Leader token to another active player. That means the dead ones don’t get the chance to be the first player. This is an essential part, since the turn order can really help players to decide what do they want during the Night phase. A bit too early to attack your target, and you can be easily identified later.

Verdict

Hunting Me, Hunting You is coming with a fresh and new system. I really like how we need to deal damage to eliminate our target. The bounty works well, and it’s a good addition to the game. Honestly, it is a part of the game that becomes inseparable. Daniel’s game is another choice you can have in your arsenal, should you entertain a bunch of crowd at once.

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