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Rat Hot

Rat Hot

Rat Hot
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Rat Hot

Two spice dealers share a storehouse with a number of hungry rats, who want to put them out of business. The two dealers want to store spices so that they know where everything is, but they also have to keep the rats at bay. Stack your crates, keep your spices together, and cover up the rats.


Rat Hot is a two-player game developed from Michael Schacht's Dschunke: Das Legespiel on his own label Spiel aus Timbuktu, which in turn was developed from his game Dschunke, also published by Queen. Rat Hot differs significantly from Dschunke: das Legespiel such that you'll need the new rules for Rat Hot and shouldn't play Rat Hot with the Dschunke: das Legespiel rules.

All the games use the clever mechanism of stacking long tiles so that the upper tiles obscure the lower tiles. In Rat Hot, the two players simply take turns to draw 2 tiles from a face down pile, and add them to the existing tiles.

The tiles are all 1x3, that is they show three squares which might be blank, or hold 4 types of spices, or rats. So a tile might be spice:blank:rat or spice:blank:spice or rat:spice:rat even! The spices and rats are in green or red, and both colors can be mixed on one tile. One player scores for green, the other for red. The game has a bunch of gray and yellow wooden chips, gray equals one point, yellow equals two. Each time you place a tile, you and your opponent can take points, so your second tile can accumulate on your first and you can score points for your opponent on your turn. Whenever you or your opponent get two of the same spice adjacent, you get one point, two points when you get a group of three or more of the same spice. However, if you finish your turn and three rats of your color are still showing, you instantly lose.

When the draw pile is exhausted and the tiles all placed, the board is scored once more for all players, so trying to preserve existing groups counts as much as making fresh groups.

The real trick in the game comes in the tile placement, of course. Tiles must be adjacent by at least one square, but can face at right angles if you prefer. Tiles can placed on top of other tiles, so that stacks build up. But a tile can not sit exactly on top of another, so there must always be some offset, and crucially, you can never have a gap beneath a tile.

Rat Hot can be very tricky. You want to keep your opponent's rats exposed in awkward places, so they have to spend both their moves trying to keep the rats covered. But you also want to set up scoring positions, and cover your own rats, and avoid giving your opponent points as well. There's a good mental challenge here, as you puzzle over the best use and arrangement of your tiles. Do you dare leave two of your rats open, because your opponent may draw more of your rats and make it impossible for you to finish your next turn with less than three showing. Can you get a good group of spices going and also break up your opponent's groups? Tricky problems for tricky minds.

Rat Hot is a quick, fun game and is a good addition to Queen's line of small 2-player games. The wood chips make it easy to see who is leading, the tiles are nicely made, the graphics are fun, and the game plays quickly and fairly. You can be stuffed by unlucky tile draws, but perhaps your low score is more to do with your choices, or maybe the other player is just smarter than you. Fast play, easy rules, and the risk of sudden death give Rat Hot a high replay value.
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