Hibernation is a deck building card game in which you are a bear, awoken from Hibernation. Slim and hungry, you need to eat and prepare your stockpile for the next years Hibernation. To do this you are going to have to gather, and steal, food.
Build your deck
To do these things, you first will need to spend your energy building your deck. You will need a d20 (or something similar) to track each players energy value. The cards in the stock pile vary from collecting food to performing actions. Each one will cost energy to bring into your deck. In the early stages of the game, players will go between spending energy to gain cards, and resting to regain energy.
Forage for Food
Those are two of the three actions a player can perform on their turn. The final is to play a card from their deck. Once you have a decent deck size built up, the aim is to play your cards and gather, or steal, food equal to the value of 10. There are four types of food that the bears in Hibernation like to eat; Salmon, Berries, Insects and Honey! The first bear to eat three times wins and can go back into Hibernation!
Keep it Fresh
The trick is that when you spend energy to bring cards into your deck, you also need to give it a shuffle. Exhausting your deck will also mean you need to rest to reshuffle it back into a draw pile. But when another player chooses to rest, everyone has to reshuffle.
This is where part of the competition comes in. You are trying to be the first bear to go back into hibernation. So you also want to stop the other bears from gathering food before you. Knowing what cards are in an opponents deck, and making them reshuffle before they get to play a Steal or crucial gather card, can be effective.
There are a few extra rules available for when players are familiar with the core game mechanic. We tried play both with and without these rules, and either way, Hibernation plays really well. Anyone who listens to our podcast will know that Mike hates deck builders with a passion. Even he enjoyed our play-through of Hibernation. The actual deck building part of Hibernation serves as a medium to the main game mechanic. Rather than being the main mechanic itself. This makes Hibernation much more approachable than many other popular deck building games.
Hibernation is no snooze fest
We had a lot of fun with Hibernation. The mechanics are lightweight enough for it to be a quick game to pick up. Even for those unfamiliar to deck building concepts. As much as it is a race to gather the most food, those couple of “take that” mechanics that add a bit of tactics to the game. And the theme of the game works well with the style.
8 bears well fed out of 10