Publisher: Hogger Logger LLC
Game Designer: Shawn Duenas, Ryan Shapiro, Charlie Winkler
Artwork: Christian Jang
Ages: 8 & up
Playing Time: 20 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
Hogger Logger is a Hi Lo guessing game with some unique actions thrown into the mix for two to six players aiming to be a filler social game and the easy rules help make it a good family game to play with young children. The game was recently released after funding last year on Kickstarter, attracting 341 backers and raising $12,279 in funding.
Summary of Content
This is a compact game that comes in a very sturdy and attractive 4”x5” box that houses the 107 cards making up the game. The box is superb with cute, colorful art on the cover and is tough enough to withstand being thrown into your game bag without any worry of being damaged. I wish more micro games would follow suit and use this quality packaging, too often we see micro games in flimsy boxes that tear all too easy. Kudos to Hogger Logger LLC for making an excellent choice here!
The cards are nice quality with very colorful and cute art of lumberjack pigs on the 25 action and 7 victory cards. This theme is well done and will surely resound with children, although I’m not really certain about the reasoning behind using lumberjack pigs here. It doesn’t have any context other than as window dressing and a cause for using the terms hogger and logger in place of higher and lower in the game.
The rest are the numbers cards and as the main game mechanism is Hi Lo, the cards must be identical to avoid giving away any telltale signs of the cards value. These cards stay with the lumberjack theme by back dropping each number with a slice of a freshly cut tree in the center of the card and a simple radiant effect throughout.
The rules sheet explains the game well enough, with ample examples to assist along the way to get you playing within minutes of opening the box.
To setup Hogger Logger, shuffle the numbers deck and create a row of four face down cards and then a fifth card is placed face-up underneath the row, this card is the ‘current card’ which the active player will base their higher or lower guess on. The players are dealt a starting hand of three numbers cards; this is where Hogger Logger differentiates itself from the standard Hi Lo game by giving players cards that they can be played to change the value of the current card at any time.
The game is extremely simple; the active player guesses whether a card they reveal from the row is either higher or lower, Hogger or Logger, than the current face-up card. A correct guess and they continue on until they guess incorrectly and then that revealed card becomes the current card and a new card is placed face down in the row from the deck before play moves to the next player and so on.
When the last facedown card in the row is guessed correctly, the round is over and that player earns a victory card. Winning the game means collecting enough victory cards based on the number of players in the game; for two players it’s 4, three players it’s 3 and 4-6 players only need 2 victory cards to win.
Hi Lo is one of the simplest card games you can play and is absent any real strategy or challenge, Hogger Logger does try to change that by adding action cards and player hands to increase the interaction between players. Players can play cards from their hand at any time to change the value of the current card and in some cases, earn special action cards when they play an 8 card from their hand or the second card in a matching pair.
These action cards allow you to force players to discard a card, pass their hand of cards to another player, add another card to the row of cards to be guessed, draw more numbers cards or force the active player to guess only Hogger or Logger until the next facedown card is revealed.
While these action cards sound interesting, they really don’t add but the thinnest veneer of strategy to the game overall. It’s a valiant effort at attempting to transform the mundane exercise of Hi Lo into a game that you will actually care about, but sadly falls short and the game remains an exercise in indiscriminate card playing and guessing. Pretty much what Hi Lo already is, just with the added feature of more cards being played haphazardly on the guesser.
When the cards in your hand run out, you simply pull another card from the numbers deck and play it when it’s your turn. While this is good at keeping players in the game, it also does nothing to change the fact that your card plays carry little to no weight. Even after these additions, Hogger Logger is nothing more than a dressed up version of Hi Lo, which in itself tells you all that you need to know.
There’s honestly nothing here to make you revisit this game once you’ve played it, and to be fair, there is really nothing that can be done to make Hi Lo an interesting game for more than a fleeting moment of your day.
I appreciate what the designers have tried to do with Hogger Logger, improving a guessing game by adding actions and player hands but these additions do nothing to make the players care about the game’s outcome other than to be done with it. Given the pure luck and random nature of Hi Lo, it becomes quickly obvious that your ‘strategies’ have little meaningful impact. Players at the table will promptly see the futility of the exercise and lose interest because the game, try as it might, just isn’t fun.
Hogger Logger may fare better with a young audience as children will be delighted by the very cute art on some of the cards and the game’s simplicity, making it an optional choice for a young family.
Company Website: http://www.hoggerlogger.com/
Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HoggerLogger
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/HoggerLoggerLLC
Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.