In Rhino Hero you are helping a heroic, and slightly heavy, rhinoceros scale a tower of your own building.
The tower is quite fiddly — the walls don’t always make sense for a traditional house. Sometimes they appear in the middle of the room, or floors miss a wall completely, but either way, your rhinoceros is very happy with scaling the building and being the hero that this strange building needs. You will need to build your floor of the house on your turn and possibly move the rhino hero depending on which roof you are building on. Just be sure to not knock over the tower and ruin the hero’s dream.
The box comes with two decks of cards — a pile of roof cards and a pile of bent wall cards. These wall cards are regular cards that bend in half. There is also a single ground card (which is the foundation to your house) and a tiny wooden Rhino Hero character.
The cards are of high quality, with cute graphics similar to what one would expect with a child’s game. The wall cards feature both an inside graphic (for the inside of the house) and an outside graphic (showing the outside of the house) for use as you build. These come in a variety of different images, allowing you to construct really cute towers with many different windows or insides. The roof cards themselves are slightly slippery, making placement occasionally tricky, but that seems to just be part of the fun of a tower building game.
Rhino Hero’s character is a blue character with some lovely printed graphics on it, showing his full figure in all of his glory. It weighs just enough to matter when you’re moving them up the tower, especially as you move them to the top of higher buildings.
The first player of the game will start off by placing walls against the guidelines on the foundation card. Then they get to place a roof card on the top of the walls which they have just placed. These roof cards sometimes have actions on them, which can impact the other players in the game. One changes the direction of turns, another forces the next player to take a new roof card from the deck, one forces the next player to move the rhino, and one allows you to place a second roof tile onto of the one you just placed.
Once the roof is placed, the game moves forward to the next player. They then have to move the rhino first (if a roof tile with a rhino symbol is placed) and build the required amount of walls onto the guide on the roof.
As the tower gets higher the player might be tempted to touch or move the roof card that they are building on, however this is not allowed. You need to build on top of the card until the tower falls or until someone runs out of roof cards. If the tower falls before a player runs out of roof cards then the remaining players need to count up their cards and see who has the least amount of roof tiles left. If there is a tie, special roof cards get counted to see who the true winner is.
Most of the fun in Rhino Hero is messing with your fellow players and building towers that wobble and slightly shake when you add more onto them. After a bit of practice, you can end up building tall towers, at this point moving around the rhino hero character becomes quite the challenge, and sometimes a gamble.
The game is meant for families and is quite simple in concept and gameplay, though it is pretty fun to play. There are two game modes, a simply one starting with two walls from the foundation, and a more challenging foundation that only permits one wall card at the base.
Rhino Hero has enough challenge to keep you playing until you run out of cards, but unless your table is sturdy, you probably will knock over the tower anyway.
I played Rhino Hero with a group of 20-somethings and 30-somethings, without a child in sight. We had a blast. Stacking up the cards, picking on each other’s shaking hands, and forcing people to move the wooden character, all provided for a really fun experience. The game reminded a few players of Jenga — apart from the fact that you are building your own layers while attempting to mess up the building of the next player based on your own cards.
I do wish the box that Rhino Hero came in had compartments for the various cards which came with it, instead of it just being an box where everything gets thrown in. Apart from the box, I have no complaints about this game. It is a very fun, simple, and intense game (especially as the tower gets higher and higher).
You can find out more information about Rhino Hero on the website of publisher HABA, including where to find approved resellers.