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Player count: 2 – 5 players
Play time: 30 – 60 minutes
Designers: Jesse Daniels
Publisher: Pied Raven Games

You awake from hibernation as a slim and hungry bear. You need to feed and prepare for the next big sleep. But you are not the only bear hunting. Compete with your fellow bears as you race to gather what limited food is available, forage and stockpile pile.

Hibernation is a small box deck building game with a lovely theme. Each player starts off with the same deck of cards and can perform one out of four possible actions. Actions include;
-resting, which gives you five energy (or 3 and every players must shuffle their discard pile in to their deck),
-purchasing a card, by spending energy
-drawing a card from your deck and playing it and
-eating which allows players to return food from their hoard to collect a hibernation token.

Play will continue this way until the first play collects their fifth hibernation token and wins the game.

Final Thoughts

Hibernation is a compact, lightweight deck building game that has a lovely theme. The rules are very straight forward making this ideal for a family who want to dip their toes in the world of deck building.

I like the fact that the food is a limited resource, these feels very thematic when thinking about the game. There are four different stacks of food types. But it is not always best to go for the highest value as when you “eat” you need to discard food cards equal to exactly a value of 10. This forces people to diversify and gather a range of food. There are also rotten food item cards in the deck, that when collected result in your having to discard five energy. This adds another choice into which food you add to your hoard.

The cards that come with the game are all the cards that you see. The set up will be the same from game to game. However, for the target audience I don’t see this being a problem to be honest. I don’t see this being a game that an experienced gamer is going to pull off their shelf all the time, but I can see it being used to introduce people to genre without overwhelming them with a massive amount of choice. The cards that are available do offer some decisions so the game is not on rails.

The game and a player’s turn is quick and it does not outstay its welcome. It has a perfect game length for the type of game it is and the audience it is targeting. Each game I have had of this has always been down to the wire and one play winning right before the other player would win. I also really like the fact you have to take an action to replenish your deck. This adds an element of timing and strategy as to when you do this. If you can outlast your opponents then they might be forced to do the action that replenishes everyone’s deck, including yours. However, if you are searching for a specific card this could not be a good thing. It is an interesting concept that I don’t think I have seen below and I like it.

One thing I do want to point out is that Hibernation does come with tokens to track how much energy you have or how many hibernation tokens. It suggests to use pen/paper, rocks or twigs etc which I kind of like. It keeps the box size down and most people will have something around their home that they could use, even if it is pieces of pasta or bottle tops.

To sum up, Hibernation has a light weight ruleset, quick playing time and is a perfect introduction in to world of deck building for friends and families alike.