Winter Rabbit Gameplay

In this article, we want to explain Winter Rabbit’s Gameplay. We’ll start with a general overview here and go into more depth in future posts.

If you aren’t familiar with Winter Rabbit, check out our introduction article. And if you aren’t already, please follow Winter Rabbit on Kickstarter.

The Goal

In Winter Rabbit, we are characters from Cherokee animal stories (Deer, Bear, Otter, Opossum, Terrapin, or Wolf). Our goal is to prepare the village for Winter by completing shared tasks to stock the storehouse with clothing, tools, and food. At the same time, we are also competing for honor by providing the most toward village preparations.

Winter Rabbit unfolds over four rounds, each representing a season. Our ultimate goal is to fill the community storehouse by the end of the fourth round. If we succeed, the player with the most points is the winner. But if we fall short of our goal, we all lose, as we won’t survive the Winter.

Winter Rabbit Player Cards

Turn Overview

Each player’s turn in Winter Rabbit is divided into three steps: morning, midday, and evening.

Morning and midday are mandatory, but evening is optional. Let’s go through each step.

Winter Rabbit Game Board

Morning

In your morning step, you’ll place a villager token face-down on one of the production spaces on the main board. Unlike other worker placement games, you don’t get resources immediately when you place a token. Moreover, you might not even be placing your own villager!

In Winter Rabbit, villager tokens are either drawn randomly from a bag or taken from your tableau (which is limited). If you draw from the bag, you could pull your own, another player’s, a neutral villager, or a trickster Rabbit. This is where the “hidden worker placement” aspect comes into play. You get to see what you pulled, but no one else does, and you can place it anywhere on the board.
Resources are produced only when all the spots at a location are full. Then, all the villagers turn face-up, and resources are allocated. Everyone will receive a resource, and those with villagers at that location will receive bonus resources.

You have to be careful, though. Anyone may have placed a Rabbit, and if Rabbit is revealed, then no one gets resources. Instead, they are stolen away to the rabbit burrow with a chance of being recovered later.
This resource generation mechanic is one of the more unique aspects of Winter Rabbit. Resource generation depends on the actions of several players working together. You can be helpful or mischievous in placing villager tokens, depending on your personal goal and style of gameplay.

Winter Rabbit Game Board close up
Winter Rabbit Village Cards

Midday

During the midday step you have a few options, and you must choose one.

You can place a second villager token to speed up resource generation. This is likely what you’ll do in early turns.

Once you have resources, you can purchase village cards for your tableau to improve your personal engine, complete tasks for points and to progress the storehouse, or restore depleted land (which I’ll explain later).

 

Evening

During the evening step, you can take one of two optional actions.

The first option is to trade one resource from your tableau with the supply. This can be a smart move if you’re in urgent need of a specific resource that’s not readily available. Remember, this action is only possible during the evening step, so careful planning is key.

Alternatively, you can tell a story by purchasing a Story card and sharing it with the group. These cards not only award points to the buyer but also introduce unique benefits to all players. Story cards come in two types: instant and ongoing. Instant stories provide immediate benefits, while ongoing stories continue to influence the game until another player shares a new ongoing story.

Winter Rabbit Village Cards

Seasons & Ending the Game

Winter Rabbit plays over four rounds, called “seasons.” Each season ends when the bag of villagers is empty.

When a season ends, you’ll pick up all of the villager tokens, whether or not they’ve produced resources, and return them to the bag or your tableau. Refresh the village, story, and task cards. Finally, you add a few more tokens to the bag each season after the first. In the second season, each player gets an additional villager. In the third season, put an additional Rabbit in the bag. In the final season, add four frost tokens to the bag.

As the game progresses, the arrival of Winter becomes an imminent threat. When a frost token is drawn, it’s set aside and another token is drawn. This process continues until the last frost token is drawn, signaling the end of the game and Winter’s arrival.

After Winter arrives, you check to see if all three tracks of the storehouse are full. If not, you have failed to prepare the village for Winter. If the storehouse is full, the player with the most points wins!

Winter Rabbit season tracker
Winter Rabbit Rabbit Token

But what about…

There are a lot more details to explain. Winter Rabbit offers ways to steal resources back from Rabbit, expand your personal resource engine, and manipulate resource generation through conservation. I’ll get into all those details in a future post.

One of the most interesting details is the way task cards work. Task cards are how we progress the storehouse and generate points. They represent the Cherokee concept of ᎦᏚᎩ (gadugi) or community/cooperative work. More on this later.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *