What's Eric Playing? #178: Rhino Hero: Super Battle
So I’m also into stacking games, and other than Cat Tower I don’t own a ton, or at least I didn’t until I got Rhino Hero: Super Battle on the recommendation of a friend. Like Wolf & Hound, this review will be me taking a game ostensibly for children far too seriously and just running with it.
As one does.
In Rhino Hero: Super Battle you’re still a superhero vying to reach the top of the skyscraper. That said, you’ve got to fight off these pesky Spider-Monkeys that keep hanging from the skyscraper as well as deal with other superheroes who would try to reach the top first themselves. Who will triumph in this super showdown?
Setup is very easy. So, let everyone pick their superheroes:
You can be the classic Rhino Hero, the improbable Batguin, Big E, or Giraffe Boy. Have everyone take one.
Next, set aside the dice:
The red one will be the Attacker Die, the blue is the Defender Die. There’s also a grey one, the Movement Die:
I’ll refer to them as such moving forward. You’ll also want to set aside the Superhero Medal:
Shuffle the game board pieces:
And set them down. Now, set aside the short and tall walls:
Shuffle the Floor Tiles, laying three face-up and giving each player three as their starting hands:
Finally, set the Spider Monkeys near the play area:
Once you’ve done all that, you should be ready to start!
Rhino Hero: Super Battle is a pretty easy game to play. Every turn, you’ll do the following actions:
- Choose a Floor Tile to play from your hand. Take the pictured walls from the wall stacks and place them on the board, and then put your Floor Tile on top of them. If you place on the ground level, you need to make sure that your walls each touch a yellow circle. Only one wall may touch a yellow circle. You do not need to play parallel to anything; go crazy! You might even be able to play a short wall / tall wall combo floor card, as long as you have the right floors already in play. If you cannot play any of your cards, you may discard as many as you’d like, re-draw, and then your turn ends. This is rare and would only happen with short wall / tall wall combo cards.
- Spider Monkey Attack! If your card has a Spider Monkey on it, you must hang a Spider Monkey from the Floor Tile you just played. If there are no more remaining in the Supply, take the one hanging from the closest floor to the ground (you can choose, in the event of a tie).
- Climb! Roll the Movement Die and go up that many floors. You may roll a -1, in which case, you go down a floor! Note that you should view the towers horizontally in order to count how many floors there are. Also note that it is possible to add floors in-between other floors, so you may end up on a higher-numbered floor than you started. That might be to your advantage. You cannot go above the highest floor or below ground level, as you might guess.
- Super Battle! If you end up on the same floor (level) as another player, you must Super Battle! The player who moved to that floor (either up or down) rolls the Attacker Die (red), and the player currently on that floor rolls the Defender Die (blue). Higher number wins! The loser must go down a floor. If they end up on the same floor as another player, another Super Battle occurs! This continues until every player is on a floor by themselves.
- Superhero Medal! If you are currently the superhero on the highest floor, you take the Superhero Medal! This means that if another player collapses the tower, you win! That said, if you collapse it, everyone else wins. So remember that.
- Draw a Floor Tile! You can draw from the deck or take any of the three face-up Floor Tiles. If you take one of those, replace it with the top card of the deck.
Play continues until a player collapses the Tower or all Floor Tiles have been played. If someone collapses the Tower, the player with the Superhero Medal wins unless they collapsed the Tower. If that happens, everyone else wins!
If all Floor Tiles have been played, then the player with the Superhero Medal wins!
PLAYER COUNT DIFFERENCES
Honestly, not many. I think at four players it can be a bit frustrating if you roll poorly since you roll fewer times over the course of the game, so any one roll in particular carries a bit more weight? That said, it also means there are extra people who might be able to knock down the tower or who are gunning for the player with the Superhero Medal, so it feels pretty balanced at any count. I’d probably recommend it most at three, but I’d happily play it at 2 or 4.
- There are tradeoffs you should consider. On one hand, placing floor tiles to make the tower taller is good if you’re already on top and want to make sure that you can get higher than others, but creating more floors below you makes it harder for other players to catch up, which is also nice. I lean towards the latter, if you can make it work, as it’s a bit less precarious.
- Try to get rid of Spider Monkey cards. You don’t want to mess with them later in the game.
- Watch out for single-wall floors. They’re not particularly stable and you don’t want one to be the foundation of the tower, otherwise it’s going to collapse pretty quickly.
- Try to wall in players. Just pop a wall right on top of them, making it really hard to get that Spider Monkey or their player token out. Is it rude? Yes. Is it hateful? Yes. Is it effective? Yes.
- Make it hard for the player with the Superhero Medal. You want them to collapse the tower. Make it so that they have to play a Spider Monkey card because that’s all that’s left in the pool. Wall in their character so that they have to make tough plays. If they collapse the tower, everyone else wins! That includes you.
- You’ll be happiest if you remember that this is not a particularly strategic game. You’re rolling a lot of dice and building towers that aren’t particularly structurally sound. The best strategic advice to enjoying the game is to remember that this is fundamentally a very silly game.
PROS, MEHS, AND CONS
- Hilarious. This is a very silly game and it’s highly enjoyable. You’re super animals building a very unsafe tower and trying to climb up it. It’s great.
- Super family-friendly. It’s not particularly complicated, but it’s got a lot of fun mechanics to appeal to both kids and adults. I imagine that was done on purpose, but I’mma give it a shoutout for doing it really well.
- Very simple to learn. I mean, it’s a family game, so that makes sense, but it’s super nice not having to explain a whole bunch of stuff.
- Plays quickly. See previous statement.
- Seems expandable. I could imagine other types of walls or floors being pretty interesting, especially if they had different thicknesses or weights or textures or required three walls or something. Could be neat!
- Love the theme and art. It’s bright, colorful, and whimsical. It fits the game perfectly.
- The scale of the game is really satisfying. When you’re most of the way through the Floor Tiles, the game is pretty large. That’s great! Makes everyone feel accomplished.
- No insert is a bit annoying. Everything just kind of slides around. Like, any insert at all would be nice.
- I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to riffle shuffle the Floor Tiles. They’re so long!
- The box is kind of weirdly sized as well. It’s mostly empty. Not like, Splendor-empty, but mostly empty.
- It’s gonna feel pretty random. A lot of the game comes down to throwing the Movement Die, and I’ve seen people get super unlucky and just get stuck on the ground floor. Now, they should be focusing on making life tough for the player at the top, sure, but that’s not always the most obvious strategy, so they might feel left out of the game. I think there are ways to alleviate this by explaining, but I wish there were a constant upward motion to compensate, like 1 + the die roll.
OVERALL: 8.75 / 10
Overall, Rhino Hero: Super Battle is a huge hit. I’ve been bringing it to game lunches, board game nights, and parties, and it’s been huge everywhere. People really, really like it. And I do too! It’s not quite as high on my list as Ice Cool, but it’s still a very solid entry in the stacking game genre and probably one that everyone should own. While I mildly purrfer the theme of Cat Tower, I gotta give this one to Rhino Hero: Super Battle; it’s really an excellent game!