Panic Lab
Gigamic, 2012

The amoebas have escaped the lab and you must be the first to track them down. In Panic Lab, twenty five cards are laid out in a circle on the table. Cards consist of amoebas with various attributes (spots or stripes, one or two eyes, and two different shapes, which I shall refer to as “Ghosts” and “Slugs”), vents, starting labs (yellow, red and blue), and mutation devices. Each of the starting cards shows two directions black arrows (left) and white arrows (right). The starting players rolls the four dice. The first die will show the color of the escaped amoeba, the second shows it’s shape (ghost or slug), the third shows stripes or spots, and the fourth shows the starting card color and direction.

Players look at the dice and, starting from the indicated start space, follow in the indicated direction to find the indicated amoeba. For example, you may start on yellow, and following along to the left (black arrow) to find the orange, spotted, ghost amoeba. But, wait… if you hit a vent, you must jump to the next vent and continue. This may pass over your intended target! So, as you keep going if you hit a mutation card, it will change one attribute of the amoeba for which you are searching. The player who correctly follows the path and finds the correct amoeba wins the round and gets a victory point chip. But beware, if you pick the wrong amoeba, you lose a victory token! And you have to follow the path without giving any indicators to your opponents. (You have to do it in your head!)

This game is recommended for ages 8+, however, the kids I have played with were very frustrated by the thinkyness (it’s a word, really). Keeping the attributes in your head and following along the path may seem easy, but is actually incredibly hard at times. The more spots you hit and change, the harder it becomes to keep track. This game has cute art and deceptively simple rules, but can be a great brain-burner. Recommendation, unless you are very good at keeping multiple instructions in your head while changing frequently, I’d give this one a pass.

PrintHogger Logger
Hogger Logger LLC, 2015

Hogger Logger is a simple higher (Hogger), lower (Logger) guessing card game about lumberjack pigs. ¬†Each player has a hand of 3 cards from the “number” deck. 4 cards from the number deck are placed face down on the table, and 1 number card is placed below them. This is the “current” card. The first player must choose a card from the 4 face down cards and guess if it will be Hogger (higher) or Logger (lower) than the current card. Every player gets a chance to play as many cards as they wish onto the “current” card pile to make it easier or harder for the guesser. After cards have been played, the chosen card is revealed. If the guesser is correct, they get to go again. If not, play passes to the next player on the left. If the guesser is the person to correctly guess the 4th face down card, they win the round and get a victory point. Play continues until someone has reached the required number of victory cards, determined by the number of players (4-6 players = 2 victory points).

There is also a deck of action cards. Some of the numbered cards will have special actions when played. 8’s allow you to draw an action card. Action cards are played whenever appropriate and give powers like making the current player guess only Hogger until the next face down card is revealed. You may also gain an action card if you play a card onto the “current” card that matches the current card. Played action cards must be completed before any other cards can be played.

I picked up this game because our convention, AnimeIowa, has a cute little pig mascot, buu-chan. The artwork on these games reminded me of buu-chan, and I thought that this would be a cute little game to add to our library. It plays fast, doesn’t require a lot of thought, and is easy to learn. For serious strategy gamers, this game will have nothing for you. But if you are looking for a light time-killer. This is fast, fun and has nice art and good quality cards. It is one of those great games to throw in the backpack or suitcase when travelling.