Today, we are going to be taking a look at Hogger Logger from (appropriately enough) Hogger Logger LLC.
Hogger Logger is a quick-playing card based – you know what? I’m not going to try to dress this one up with fancy gamer language. Here’s how it works.
Each player holds a hand of cards, numbered 1-15. In the center are several face-down cards, and a face-up card. One player is the ‘guesser’ and tries to guess if the next face-down card is either higher or lower –
Andrew: Sorry, Hogger or Logger (ugh) than the face-up card. Other players (in no particular order) can play cards from their hand to change the face-up card, and the guesser can always change their guess. Sometimes you play action cards to draw more cards or shuffle people’s hands around. Then you flip up the face-down card and see if it is indeed Hogger or Logger. If the guesser is right, they stay the guesser. If not, the next player is the guesser. If you guess the last card correctly, you win.
Hogger Logger just isn’t much of a game. When I first saw it at NYTF, it looked like it might be a fun little bar-top card game, quick and light and super-portable. However, on one or two more playthroughs, it simply didn’t have any substance to keep itself interesting. With the exception of the action cards, the entirety of the gameplay could be substituted with a standard deck of cards, and the action cards don’t add nearly enough interest or strategy to justify their own existence.
The game’s good points are not insignificant. The down-time between turns is non-existent, the cards and box are well-constructed (that’s not a throwaway compliment; components matter), and it is almost entirely driven by player interaction. You can laugh over a few hands of this game at a bar or make it a part of a game night with younger gamers.
But the problem is that there just isn’t anything going on here – sure, maybe I’m very confident in my guess, but then you play a middle-range number and then I’m not confident anymore, but ultimately, it’s really just a game of high-low with a lumberjack pig on the cover (which definitely improves the cover, make no mistake).
I hate picking on a game for not being ‘gamey’ enough; it smacks of elitist nonsense that I generally despise. I love games that are random, games which many ‘hardcore’ gamers might scoff at. I like Zombie Dice (though Martian Dice is way better), I like We Didn’t Playtest This At All (wonderfully absurd little party game), hell, I even carry around Cards Vs Dice, which is nearly as luck-driven as you can get. But despite the fact that it is a game built around a certain kind of player interaction, Hogger Logger feels just too arbitrary, too flat, and too hollow for me. It might qualify as a fun activity for non-gamers or for people looking in an extremely light experience, but there are just too many better, light, gateway games for me to recommend this over them.
Hogger Logger isn’t terrible, it just isn’t as good as I wish it had been.
(Our copy of Hogger Logger was given to us for review by Hogger Logger LLC. Their generosity didn’t influence our review)