WBG Score: 8
Player Count: 2-5
Published by: IELLO
Designed by: Richard Garfield
Bunny Kingdom is a brilliant game. I will assume you know about the base game if you are reading this review for the In The Sky expansion. For anyone out of the Bunny loop, very briefly, Bunny Kingdom is a drafting area-control game. Players will be dealt a hand of cards, from which they take two before handing the rest to the next player. They will do this until all cards are drafted. The cards will mainly give them the opportunity to put a bunny of their colour onto a grid based board to create what the game calls a Fief of their bunnies.
Other cards allow you to add buildings or resources to certain spaces of the board. Your points are tallied by multiplying the buildings' turrets in your fief by the resources you have in the same area. There are multiple rounds and by the end the board gets very busy. Scoring can be tricky from a visual perspective, there is a lot to take in. But the game itself is a lot of fun and one of my families absolute favourites. Points get well into the three figures, and as much as it is a struggle to score at the end, we all love it! So, we were all very keen to try this expansion. Thankfully, it did not disappoint! Let's get it to the table.
In The Sky introduces SEVEN new main new concepts. Let's look at them all one by one.
A whole new board!
The first main addition to this excellent expansion is the new board. Set-up to include In The Sky is pretty much the same as the base game, except for shuffling in the new cards, adding in the new components to the board, and placing this new shared board down on the table. It's all very simple to include as any good expansion should be.
The new board shows the Great Cloud. You can place bunnies and build Fiefs on this new board like the main board, and add buildings to it so long as you meet the buildings requirements. The new board does not have a grid system like the main board, rather five rows marked by golden clouds, and then five spaces in each. So, the card showing one cloud and a number one will be placed in the first spot on the top left. This is the unicorn card shown below. One my daughter particularly likes!
But in a game that is all about creating large groups of your own controlled Fiefs, why would you want to separate your bunnies onto a different board in this way? Well, much like the Sky Towers in the base game, Rainbows can be used to link two different Fiefs.
The Rainbows act exactly as the Sky Towers do, connecting two pairs of Fiefs. There are two sets in the game and connect the two boards. Having the second board is a great way to create more space, and using the rainbows is a good way to still allow for the bunnies on each board to be connected. I think the main benefit from introducing the second board was to increase the games' capacity from a maximum of four players to a five. Without an extra board, all those extra bunnies would start to get on top of each other. The only other solution would be to remove some bunnies and cards per player creating a shorter, smaller game. I would say the extra board is a good solution.
But remember how hard it was to score at the end of a four player game? Yeah, well, try now with five sets of bunnies and a separate board to add up! It gets a bit confusing! But that's a problem for the end of the game. The actual game experience is fantastic.
You may have noticed that rather enticing looking five tower building in the picture above. Well, these are the new brilliantly titled Carrotodels. They will instantly add a multiplier of five to any fief you create. The sad news is they only count if your total strength in a fief with a Carrotodels is less than five. If you have a strength higher than five without the Carrotodels included, then the Carrotodels is ignored. You can still go over five, much to some reviewers confusion (no names mentioned Tom, ahem!) but if you go over five without the Carrotodels you don't count the five it would usually add. Make sense? Great! If not, don't worry, it will when you play.
One of my favourite additions that this expansion brings is the Chimneys. There are two in the game, and when drafted, players can build the Chimney onto the Great Cloud Board. Then, during the harvest phase where players score points each round, you can select a basic resource that is present in the Fief that contains the Chimney, and then all of your Fiefs on the original main board can have access to this resource too. Essentially, whatever resource you make up in the clouds can now be thrown down the Chimney for your ground based bunnies to use too!
A Fifth set of Bunnies
I think the main reason people will buy this expansion is to turn it into a five player game. For that, the main thing you need is more bunnies! The new colour is purple. They look great and stand out perfectly against the board and other red, black, yellow, and pink bunnies from the main game. Which, of course when it comes to end game scoring, is crucial! You need to be able to separate the different colours easily, and this colour works great.
The game now has coins. Fans of the base game why wonder how these work, well, its surprisingly simple. They give you points at the end of the game by multiplying the number of coins you have collected by the number of luxury and wonderous resources you managed to get. Simple! But how do you get the coins? And what are wonderous resources? Well, give me a second...
There are two main ways to get your paws on the coins. The first is via the Tax Collector card. There are a number of new Parchment cards in this expansion. They function just like the parchment cards in the original, and are all ways to get more points. Apart from the Tax Collector card which simply gets you two coins.
The second way to get coins is through creating districts. A district is any fief that contains two or more bunnies. Place one bunny down, all good. Add a second bunny that is orthogonally adjacent to it, you have created a district. Congrats! Take a coin. So, what about those Wonderous resources?
See that huge Chicken up there? That's a Wonderous resource that is. Produced on a new Luxury farm. There are 12 new cards all with a location on the new board that bring a new Wonderous resource. They act just like the Luxury resources in the main game, and allow players to add extra scoring options to their fiefs.
And that's it! A lot more to take in, but it all blends very smoothly with the base game. As with any expansion, I always ask myself three questions when adding something new to a game.
Is the game better with this expansion included?
Did it add much complexity to the set-up, rule teach, and game play?
Would I want to include the expansion every time I play?
YEs. I find it hard to judge games with and without expansion sometimes. The experiences are always different. But not necessarily better or worse. With this expansion I would say it is objectively better. I like the extra options it brings. The second board is a nice addition and adds some interesting choices when you are drafting. I find some players will focus on just the main board whereas others will look to the new board for a bulk of points. But either way, coins will be earnt by all players, and this is a huge and fun way to score extra points.
2. Did it add much complexity to the set-up, rule, and game play?
No. Its all very simple. Set-up is increased by maybe 30 seconds. The extra rules take perhaps 5 extra minutes to explain to someone who knows the base game. In the actual game, perhaps there is 10 more minutes added to the game length as more cards are being drafted.
However, and this is a bigun'! The end game scoring, which was already quite complicated, especially in a four player, is vastly more complex, especially with a five players. But always with the second board added. Remember those times you were working out which fiefs are connected by a Sky Tower, well you have a lot more of that with the second board and rainbows. It's totally worth it, but I would say this is something to consider.
3. Would I want to include the expansion every time I play?
I think I would yes. Certainly when ever I play in a five you will have too. But I think in a two to four I would always chose to add this in. Not for people who hadn't played the base game but definitely with anyone who had a good grasp of the main board. I like what it brings and personally would always prefer to have it included now.