Teaching Killer Bunnies

Hello, Seasoned Bunny Fans! As more of you become experts in the game we must take a moment to acknowledge the fact that some folks are still just beginners. If you have one of these “Bunny new-bies” in your group, then please be nice to them (until they make their first kill that is, then let them have it!)

Also, if you are looking for some suggestions on how to get players ‘up to speed’ with the rest of us here is some advice:

Start with just the Blue and Yellow Starter Deck (didn’t we all) and just 12 Carrots. I just feel it’s best not to overwhelm anyone the first time out. I have written some playing suggestions as nuggets of advice and quotations. Please use these only as a guideline. I know that you can probably teach them well, but here are just a few things that I have found to help out.

I wish you all the best in developing your own style of instruction.

– Jeffrey Neil Bellinger

Teaching Killer Bunnies

  1. When teaching an entirely group of people how to play Killer Bunnies I would not have more than 7 players. That includes you. A game of 8 is great but sometimes it’s a bit slow at the beginning. Also, try not to have a game of less than 4 people.
  2. Let people know that Killer Bunnies is a relatively easy game to learn with only 8 major rules of play. Tell them that the best way to learn is to understand 4 of those rules from the beginning and then to learn the other 4 as the game progresses. With only 4 rules to learn most people will feel more comfortable.
  3. I start off by setting up Kaballa’s Market with the small Cabbage and Water cards as well as the large Carrot Cards in plain view. I shuffle the small Carrot Cards in front of the group and let the person next to me cut the deck.
  4. “The object of the game is to collect as many Carrots as possible.” Show the players the large Carrot cards.
  5. “The game is over when all of the Carrots have been taken from Kaballa’s Market. The pictures on the small Carrot Cards match the pictures on the large Carrot cards. The player holding the Carrot on the bottom of the deck is the winner.”
  6. “This may sound simple but there is a catch. You must have a bunny alive at the end of the game to win. If you do not have at least one bunny alive, then you cannot win. You see during play I’ll have some bunnies, you’ll have some bunnies, everyone will have some bunnies. I’ll kill some of yours and you’ll kill some of mine and so on. But as the pile of Carrots gets thin and the game nears the end try to make sure that you have a bunny alive. You can have 11 of the 12 Carrots but with no bunny you cannot win.”
  7. At this point I would not explain about the person with the most money getting all of the Carrots belonging to the people who did not make it to the final draw. If someone asks then you may want to quickly explain that the person with the most money gets those Carrots. The key to teaching Killer Bunnies is to keep it simple at first and let all of the more subtle rules ‘drip down’ into the players' mind slowly. If you give them too much at the beginning, it will overwhelm them unnecessarily.
  8. Next deal out seven cards to each player.
  9. “Ok, everyone gets 7 cards and you will always have seven cards when playing. Listen carefully to the instructions and you won’t get lost. First off look for a card that says Kaballa Dolla on it. Does anyone have one?” Show an example. “This is the bunny money. Anytime during play that you have a Kaballa Dolla, place it down beside you and save it. If during play you should pick a replacement card that is a Kaballa Dolla place it right down and draw another card.”
  10. All players should put their Dolla down and have replaced the cards with ones before moving on to the next step.
  11. “Now let me draw your attention to the words at the top of each card. If you have any that say Play Immediately on them then put them in the discard. These cards kill a bunny right away but since there are no bunnies around yet we can’t use them. If at any time during play you pick a Play Immediately card then stop everyone and announce that you have the card and play it immediately as the name implies.”
  12. Make sure that all players have discarded their Play Immediately cards.
  13.  “At this point all of your cards should say Run, Special, or Very Special on the top.” Make sure that everyone is on track.
  14. “Ok everyone we just covered the first two rules. Hopefully everyone is ready to move on.”
  15. “The next rule has to do with the rectangle box on the left border of every card. When the box is lit up pink it means that you’ll need a bunny down to play this card. If it’s blank you won’t need a bunny. Does everyone have a bunny?” Show a bunny if you have one. Bunnies come in five different colors and five different kinds. Hold them up so everyone can see if you think you have one. At this point make sure that all of the players are showing a bunny if they have one. If a players doesn’t you may want to quickly shuffle through the draw pile and get them one. If you have more than one then definitely give one up. Remember you’re not out to win. The reason that we want everyone to have a bunny in the first play is that we don’t want to explain about discarding Run cards and saving Specials just yet.
  16. “Let’s all put the bunny face down in front of us. This card represents the first card that you will play when we begin. But we have to choose a second card as well. You see the mechanic of Killer Bunnies is to obligate your cards two rounds in advance. Since we all have a bunny card down we are free to play any other card from our hand whether it has a pink box lit or not.”
  17. “Here are three suggestions as to what card is best to play next. I would play a Choose A Carrot card since the object of the game is to get carrots. Next I might play a weapon card which can be played to killed another player’s bunny right away. Or I might play a Feed The Bunny card which is used to kill a bunny slowly.”
  18. As you explain each of the three main choices show an example of each card. If you are not holding a Choose A Carrot, weapon or Feed The Bunny then simply ask who has one to show. You probably don’t want to get into the idea of the market or the Cabbage and Water until a Feed The Bunny card is played or if someone asks. Even if someone asks though, remember to keep the explanation simple until you actually need to buy the Cabbage and Water.
  19. “Ok so everyone pick a second card to play and place it down in front of them under your first card.” Demonstrate this and make sure everyone is on track. “So a player must always have 5 cards in his hand and 2 down. That’s our fourth rule. How is everyone doing? Well, let’s get started and we’ll learn the other rules as we go.”
  20. So far you should be about ten minutes into the demo and wow, you’ve already started the game. Most people will forgive not knowing ALL of the rules of a game before starting. Mostly they just want to get started.
  21. “I’ll go first to get us started. I flip my first card and wow, what a surprise it’s a bunny. I place it face up, slide the Bottom card into the Top card position, draw and replace. So it goes Flip, Slide, Draw and Replace.”
  22. Have everyone in the circle go through the procedure. At this point you can tell people that all of the bunny form The Bunny Circle. Help people chose their next card to put down. Try to manipulate them into a variety of the top three choices for the first round or so.
  23. At this point the game can go several different ways. Most people will play a Choose A Carrot card that is easy to help with.
  24. When a player plays a weapon for the first time then explain the fifth rule about the eight boxes on the right border of each card. A weapon will probably be the first card played with a box filled in so you can explain that the colors correspond to the die (or dice) that a player will need to roll for that card.
  25. The next rule will most likely come into play when a player has no bunny. The sixth rule deals with the difference between a Run card and a Special card. When a player has no bunny and the Top card is flipped then two things can happen. If it has no pink box, then explain that it can still be played (or discarded). If it does have a pink box, explain that it cannot be played (if the player has no bunny) and MUST be discarded.
  26. “If you find yourself without a bunny here’s the best thing that you can do. Play a Special card. You see if you need a bunny for the card (show an example with a pink box) but you have none then you can SAVE the card. Remember the two S’s; SAVE a SPECIAL.” If a player does not have a Special card to play (and save) them advise them to play a weak weapon or Feed The Bunny.
  27. I would hold off telling them about the next rule right away which has to do with playing a Special out of your hand immediately instead of flipping. Again if you can demonstrate this yourself (with Supplies Surprise or The Magic Fountain) this would be best. While explaining this ‘feature’ of Special cards you may also want to explain the very last rule which is the Very Special card. Of course you know that Very Special cards can be played during anyone’s turn. That’s the difference between Special and Very Special cards, Special cards can be played during your turn only and Very Special cards can be played during anyone’s turn.
  28. A player will eventually play a Feed The Bunny. You can even encourage this so that you have an opportunity to show how spending money is done to get the Cabbage and Water. Should a player get a total of 10 Dolla before a Feed The Bunny card is played then you may want to introduce the concept of the market a bit early since they have the option to buy a Carrot as soon as they have 10 Dolla. Just try not to do it in the first round of play. Again, everything is learned in time and in small doses.
  29. I would remove the following cards from play: Cyber Bunny, The Trojan Bunny, The Ebola Virus, Close the Market and the Minilith. The reason is that they either slow the game down or are too complicated for a first round player. Remember that the objective of the first round is to teach the players the mechanics of the game. These six cards are just a bit too much for the first time through. Definitely, however, put them back in for the second round.
  30. Another suggestion would be not to get more than two Carrots for yourself. If you have an abundance of Choose A Carrot cards, give them away to the player most in need under the ‘guise’ of making a deal. In this manner you can also demonstrate the wheeling and dealing aspects of the game. Try to keep the game ‘even’ between players and keep as many folks alive until the end of the game. Even though ’shutting out’ players at the end of the game is a valid strategy in Killer Bunnies, no one really appreciates it in their first game and folks who don’t make the final draw are not likely to come back for more. Basically, play nice the first game, then on the second game bury them. Tee hee!

    Summary: The Eight Rules of Killer Bunnies:

    1. Saving Kaballa Dolla.
    2. Using Play Immediately (Terrible Misfortune) cards.
    3. The Pink rectangular box on the left border tells a player if they need a bunny down to play that card.
    4. You must obligate cards to play 2 rounds in advance. Always have 2 cards down and 5 in your hand.
    5. The 8 boxes on the right border tells a player which die (or dice) they need to roll to play that card.
    6. The difference between a Run card and a Special Card. The two S’s — SAVE a SPECIAL.
    7. Play a Special directly out of your hand instead of flipping the Top card.
    8. The difference between a Special card and a Very Special card. A Special card can be played during a player’s turn only. A Very Special can be played during any player’s turn.