14th Jun2018

Game On! Review: The Hare & the Tortoise (Iello Games)

by Jason Brigger

A little about our family… My wife and I love playing board games, card games and any tabletop game that we can get our hands on in our home. Recently we have been teaching and including my almost 8-year-old son and my 4-year-old daughter in our latest game nights with much success. With so many great games out there, it’s difficult for families to know what is a great game for family game night and what is a waste of money. Every two weeks we will have a new game to review and if any reader has suggestions for us, please let us know in the comments below!

Who We Are:

Jason Brigger, aka the Dad: Co-host of the weekly pop culture centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas (on Nerdly!), along with a weekly review of the television series, Black Lightning!

The Boy: My 8-year-old son who enjoys all types of games, from video games to board games to card games, as long as it makes him think.

The Girl: My 4-year-old daughter who is learning about games above the Candyland skill level and will guest in this column from time to time.

The Mom: My wife who is the female perspective will guest in this column from time to time in order to bring a female perspective to the games we review.

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Officially, What Is It?

Per Iello: “The tortoise accepted the hare’s demand for a rematch, and the news spread throughout the country. The great race was about to commence, and all the participants were finally ready for this big showdown. Who, among the hare, the tortoise, the wolf, the lamb, and the fox, will be celebrated as the fastest runner in the woods? Bet on a good animal, and don’t forget: Nothing is served by running; you must leave on time!”

What’s Included: Eleven (11) track tiles, Five (5) wooden pawns with stickers, Eighty-one (81) racing cards, Five (5) starting bet cards, Five (5) player aid cards, One (1) starting line, One (1) podium, One (1) finish line, One (1) first player token, Five (5) turbo tokens, One (1) rulebook…whew, that is a lot of items!

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How Do You Play?

The objective of The Hare & the Tortoise is loosely based on Aesop’s Fables in which animals race to see who the fastest and smartest animal is in the land. Players secretly pick two animals (one random, one chosen) and play cards to help their animals win the race, thus earning the most points and being declared the winner! Please note since there are only five different animals, it is possible for multiple players to have the same chosen animals.

Based on the number of cards played each round, an animal will advance according to their special talent, dictated on playing cards:

  • Hare: If 1-4 Hare cards are played, the Hare advances two tiles UNLESS the Hare is in first place AND four Hare cards are played, he does not move and decides to take a nap.
  • Tortoise: Moves one tile every round (no matter if a Tortoise card is played or not), but the Tortoise moves two tiles if four (4) Tortoise cards are played.
  • Wolf: If 1-2 Wolf cards are played, the Wolf moves one tile. If 3-4 Wolf cards are played, the Wolf advances as many tiles as the number of Wolf cards played minus one (1), for example: four Wolf cards are played, the Wolf would move three tiles. The Wolf has three special cards as well called the “Howl” cards and they are my daughter’s favorite cards to use in the game, mostly because she howls each time she plays one. The “Howl” cards scare all other animals in the race, allowing only the Wolf to move that round.
  • Fox: The Fox moves as many tiles as the number of Fox cards played in that round.
  • Lamb: The Lamb moves as many tiles as the number of Lamb cards played plus one. For example, three Lamb cards are played so the Lamb moves four tiles. The Lamb does have one weakness…water. Any time the Lamb comes across a tile with a stream or water, the Lamb must stop and his turn is over, no matter how many Lamb cards are played that round.

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Let’s break down the gameplay, step by step.

  • At the start of the race, each player blindly picks one animal card from the pile. Players are then dealt seven cards. It is from these that each player will select one additional animal they wish to win the race.
  • Players take turns laying down 1-4 like animal cards, and then refill their hand to five cards. The round is over when either eight cards have been played OR four cards on any one animal have been played.
  • Animals will always move in same order, as indicated on talent card:
    • Hare
    • Tortoise
    • Wolf
    • Fox
    • Lamb
  • After animals move, a new round begins.
  • The game ends when three of the five animals reach the finish line.

How Do You Win?

Players count points for each animal based on animal’s placement at end of race. The player with the most points combined between their two animals, wins the game.

What We Liked About The Game:

Dad: I enjoy the strategy of choosing what cards to play each round and deciphering which animals the other players are betting on to win. Strategies have backfired on me many times and the mystery of what animals each player has makes the game enjoyable.

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The Boy: I enjoy the feel of the race and the sense of urgency to win first place. I like that the racecourse changes each time based on how tiles are arranged each game. I also like the option to choose only one of the two characters in your hand and the second character is left up to chance.

What We Didn’t Like About the Game:

Dad: I enjoy the game and have no complaints about it.

The Boy: As much as I like the different character options in the game, I do not like that the Lamb is the only character that has a penalty associated with it (stopping automatically at the water). The Hare has a very limited penalty which does not usually affect the game like the Lamb’s penalty does.
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Replay Value: High. The gameplay is fun and lighthearted, the characters are unique with their attributes and kids will enjoy changing the tiles/race course each time.

Recommended Age, Per Developers: Seven (7) years and older

Our Recommended Age: The recommended age of seven years old is the proper age for this game as it is a little more complex in terms of the rules for each animal. My four-year old struggled with the basic concept and needed help in her decision-making of which cards to choose each round.
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Final Score:

Dad’s Grade: A-


The Boy’s Grade: B-

The Hare & the Tortoise is a fun card-based game that adds a twist to Aesop’s Fable. Iello has a strong track record regarding family games and the Hare & the Tortoise continues this tradition. If your family is looking for a fast paced game that requires a little more strategy, the Hare & the Tortoise is a good game to pick up for family game night.

Have you played this game? If so, let us know what you thought of it below in the Comments section!

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here
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