Rhino Hero is about a heroic rhinoceros, clad in a cape and cowl, trying to scale a skyscraper! (If that hasn’t grabbed your attention, nothing will.) Technically this is a children’s game by hugely popular publisher HABA, but don’t let that put you off. While you can – and will – enjoy this with children of all ages (realistically aged five and up, for them to grasp the dexterity concept), it’s also guaranteed to be a smash hit with the adults, too!
You’ll find a familiar blend of mechanics present in Rhino Hero: dexterity tower-building found in Jenga, alongside simplistic hand management found in Uno The aim here is to build a tall apartment building. Each player has a hand of roof cards, with a bird’s eye view of a wall structure on them. There’s also a deck of foldable cards (that’s right: cards that actually fold!), which represent the walls.
On your turn, you have to obey the previously placed roof tile. Look at where it says you have to place walls; fold the wall cards and balance them on accordingly; then place your own choice of roof card on top. All while holding your breath, of course, because you don’t want that rickety tower to collapse… That loses you the game! You’ll win, however, if you can get rid of all of your cards, or have the least remaining once – when, not if! – the tower tumbles down.
There are also some symbols on the roof cards that come with an associated action, such as miss a turn, reverse turn order, next player picks up another card (or one that just benefits you, because it allows you to place an additional roof card that turn, thus thinning out your hand that little bit quicker). These add a touch of spice into the mix that elevates (ahem) Rhino Hero above the likes of Jenga. You feel the betrayal, or witness the next player wincing as they realise what card you’ve just placed.
Oh, and we’ve saved the best until last. Rhino Hero comes with its eponymous hero in the form of a grinning rhino meeple – brilliant – and if your roof card has the rhino symbol on it, the next player has to move the rhino onto that roof card’s symbol!
It’s easy to see now how Rhino Hero appeals to everyone. Kids love the challenge, and almost thrive on having to move the rhino. Whereas adults, whether playing in the pub or once the little ones have gone to bed, will pull the most outrageous faces as they desperately attempt to concentrate, while the engrossed, watching crowd cheer their every move.
HABA have long been experts in creating exciting, fun, learning games for children. Rhino Hero first and foremost teaches children basic hand management and dexterity skills and patience. But it does more than that, because it’s one of the most perfect party games out there for adults, too. If ever there was an ice-breaker in a box, Rhino Hero would be it.