Updated: Jun 14
As some of you know one of my constant gaming companions is my little brother who has learning difficulties and restricted motor functions. So I’m often on the lookout for games that suit his particular needs. When I first picked up Rhino Hero from Haba, I was actually buying it to play with four other adults as a silly Game Night filler, however I decided to ask Andrew if he wanted to try it too. How did he get on? Let’s find out.
Rhino Hero is out and about protecting the city from the vile darkness that his masked enemies seek to envisage upon it. The problem is that Rhino Hero, while well-meaning, is rather heavy and sometimes he ends up demolishing the high-rises that he is trying so hard to protect!
How To Play
Rhino Hero is a stacking and dexterity game where players are attempting to get rid of all the cards from their hand before the end of the game. Players do this by placing folded card walls onto predefined spaces on the roof card played by the previous player, before playing a roof card of their own.
Many of the roof cards have a special action printed on them that usually affects the next player. They might be forced to draw an extra card, or even skip their turn, or, most amusingly, they must place Rhino Hero onto the designated space on the roof, before continuing to play their wall cards.
The first player to get rid of all their cards is the winner. However, should the tower collapse before that happens, the player with the fewest cards remaining in hand wins, with the exception of the player who caused the tower to fall.
Rhino Hero comes in a small and unassuming box containing:
31 roof cards
1 Super Rhino
Overall this is a cute and well produced little package for such a small price point, my favourite retailer has it for £6.49. The roof cards are really quite thick and should hold up well to wear and tear. This is one game where I might advise against riffle shuffling as the slight bend in the cards will make the tower more unstable. I was worried about the walls, which get constantly folded and then unfolded and then folded again. I thought they might delaminate around the crease or simply split in two, so far, after 67 games, they are holding strong.
Rhino Hero himself is a nice chunky wooden piece, although it would have been nicer if the art were printed on both sides of his token. The rules are simple and easy to follow, my only complaint would be that the card powers are formatted to be over two pages of the rulebook, meaning you can’t just have the book open as a rule reference for new players. Thankfully there are only five different powers and they become second nature after a play or two.
The game also features a hardcore mode where the foundation card is flipped over and the ground floor of the building is just a single wall rather than a double. I think I would only ever use this with 2 players, as almost every game I’ve played of this has ended with the tower collapsing, even with a sturdy base to build on!
For a little over a fiver Rhino Hero is a great deal, I’ve owned the game for less than a month and it has cost me £0.02 per person per play! That is value for money. As a Haba game the quality is good too with chunky pieces and nice, simple art. The game plays quickly and works equally well with children and adults, all children or all adults. I wish the wall cards were slightly smaller as to fit more accurately on the spaces shown. And because it can be difficult to fit the walls in the spaces shown correctly it can lead to instability in the tower, causing it to collapse when perhaps it should not. It is also possible that a player can force the game to end prematurely by playing a Rhino card, knowing that the wall directly below it will not support Rhino Hero’s token. Some players may dislike the “Skip a Turn” cards and to be honest I was hesitant when I first read that in the rulebook but it’s really not so bad. Games of Rhino Hero take five minutes or less to play so chances are you won’t be sitting idle for long. Clever use of the Skip and Reverse cards are necessary in order for you to win. The double card, which allows you to place 2 roofs at once is the one card I would consider not using as it seems too powerful and usually leads to a quick win for the players lucky enough to draw it. So, overall I like the game, it’s simple and it’s cute and it is a genuine challenge for even a group of adults to build a card tower that won't topple into your pint glass. However what pushes this game up a huge notch for me was the look of wonder on my little brothers face as he played, building up the tower, placing the cards as gently and accurately as he could manage. The sly, peevish grin he wore as he played a rhino card to force me to move Rhino Hero up the increasingly unstable tower. And his joyful laughter as the tower collapsed spewing walls and roofs and wooden rhino meeples in every which direction.
Rhino Hero has become Andrew’s new favourite filler, topping Celestia, he seems to revel in the challenge of building up the tower, whilst simultaneously cackling maniacally when he makes the game more difficult for everyone else. He picked up the symbology on the cards in just a few short games and needs little, if any help, to play by himself. The only problem he seems to have is sometimes he puts the walls on the roofs in the wrong configuration, usually inverted.
Rhino Hero is one of those rare games that just works with any crowd and can be played pretty much anywhere you can find a flat surface so long as it’s not too windy. It has a short play time and a quick set up making it a great filler and can be easily played multiple times in an evening. It will get a little samey after a while and the card powers provide rather too much luck. However if you ignore all that and just play to have fun then I think you’ll have a good time with this one. Highly recommended from me…
ps. I just picked up Rhino Hero Super Battle!