Product Review: Leaping Lemmings

Leaping Lemmings
Author: John Poniske & Rick Young
Artist: Rodger B. MacGowan, Leona Preston & Mark Simonitch
Publisher: GMT Games
Page Count: N/A
Binding:  N/A
Available Formats: Boxed Boardgame
Cost: $35.00
Company Website: http://www.gmtgames.com/p-143-leaping-lemmings.aspx

PREMISE
Leaping Lemmings is a silly, yet challenging, strategy game that pits player’s lemmings against each other and two eagles who want to eat the lemmings for dinner as they race to the cliff’s edge. The lemmings must take advantage of limited terrain in which they can hide, all the while they are compelled to keep moving forward so as to get the most victory points for collecting food pellets along the way and for jumping to their deaths. Come on, there is entertainment value in running lemmings off a cliff!

MECHANICAL OVERVIEW
The game, in essence, is a roll and move game with a twist. The twist is, instead of rolling the player will draw a card which will give them the number of spaces forward or laterally they must move that turn; movement values range from 2 to 5. The cards are also a way to mechanically control how long the game will take. An “end game” card is shuffled into the bottom seven cards so there is a variable end to the game.

Each player gets a small number of Special Action cards at the beginning of the game. The number of cards depends on the number of players. These cards allow each player Special Actions that they can play at the beginning of their turn, should they elect to play one, to perform fun and crazy events. For example, one card “Snap Crackle Pop” will allow the player to select any bush space on the board and scatter all lemmings from that hex into one or more adjacent hexes. There is definitely a screw your neighbor aspect to the game!

Each turn a player will roll the eagle dice and the results will allow the player to move either the blue and red eagle. Movement is controlled by the number of point that are rolled on the eagle die. A player will be smart to ensure the eagle is moved into a position to feast on another player’s lemming and thus allowing the active player a clearer path to proceed towards the cliff.

PROS
A fun strategy game that requires players to think! It allows for a larger number of players, topping out at six players. Game length is modest with most games taking about 1.5 hours to complete. Oh, come on! Who wouldn’t like running lemmings off a cliff and feasting on the bodies of your rival lemmings?

CONS
The whimsical theme might be turn off for some. Some players might find the randomized movement through the cards a little frustrating especially when it puts one of their many lemmings in a not-so-good position. A “screw your neighbor” element exists that some will not like.

PARTING SHOTS
I think this is a fun game, but it will not appeal to everyone. With the strong ‘screw your neighbor” element to the game , you’ll either love it or hate it! I have played this game at game clubs and conventions and it has been relatively well received at both. It is definitely a beer and pretzels game. If you can find this on sale it’s worth picking up and playing.

~ Modoc

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