Yabunonaka (In A Grove) Review
Would you believe that this game has a box with the size of a cigarette box? Of course you would, why wouldn’t you, right?
Hattari or Yabunobaka (or In A Grove fr its English name) is a small pocket-sized game that you can snuck it anywhere (yes, anywhere). It’s designed by Jun Sasaki and published by Oink Games which already known with their characteristic small-pocket sized games such as Dungeon of Mandom, Deep Sea Adventure, Maskmen, A Fake Artist Goes to New York and etc.
The premise is its a bluffing and trick taking game with a scent of deduction element in it. There’s a crime happened (murder to be precise) and there are 3 suspects in which one of them is the killer. Now players will try their best to accuse one of the suspects and try not to be exposed as liars (accuse the wrong suspect).
The game plays with 8 man-shaped card tiles with numbers from 2-8 and blank tile. This number is the main information for the player to guess which is the killer. The killer is the highest number from the three suspects. But the twist is, each player will have one tile that they know and they will draft the tile one time so they know 2 numbers, sharing it with their neighbors. Based on this information the first player will secretly look 2 suspects and he can decide whether we want to tamper the evidence or not (switch one of the suspect with the victim without looking at the victim’s number), and marked it with tamper marker hence players will know which one already has been tampered with. Now he must decide which one is the killer by placing his accusation chip in one of the three suspects. Then the next player may look the other 2 other suspects beside the previous player had already accused.
There are restrictions such as the blank tile is always innocent, and if there are number 5 in one of the suspects, the killer is reversed, the lowest number is the killer. Once all player already accused, the tiles are flipped face up to see which one is the killer. Players who correctly accused get their markers back. But for them who accused the wrong suspect, they have their markers flipped to liar side and the owner of the top visible marker take the whole stack to his supply (along with other tokens below his). This will add his supply with more markers. To determine the loser, players with 8 or more markers in his supply is the loser, if no one then the player who runs out accusation chip is the loser. But if no one, the game continues to next round, the first player is change to next player clockwise.
At first this game is weird for its end game situation. But once you try it you can see how the game really works.
Based on what information you know, you can make a small deduction to accuse and of course other players’ actions also crucial to give you hints, but beware of the bluffing since the last person to accuse taking all the risk.
It’s a fun and very fast game that you can play up to 4 players. You can play it basically anywhere and anytime since you probably need only 5-10 minutes for one game. The downside is it’s replay value. It relies heavily on players’ behavior and way of thinking. With several plays maybe players can guess how the game works and might be less interesting compared with the first plays, but of course, with different groups, there might be different feels and flows of the game.