SNAP Review – The Hearmees: Competitive Quietness

The Hearmees game
A hand drawing on a scratchy board

The Hearmees is a unique game from HABA for ages 5+. Wolfgang Lehmann designed this game of careful looking and listening for 3-4 players. Yes, that’s right, we said listening.

The Hearmees are building their city; perk up your ears and listen carefully to the instructions the supervisor issues via clawky-talky. If you finish your neighborhood first, you could become the new mayor of Hearmee City! We’ll tell you all about it in just a few minutes.

How to Play

Setup a 6×5 grid of building tiles. Each player gets a screen; one player starts as the supervisor and receives the “clawky-talky” (scratchy board) and “claw-it” (stylus). All the other players get a player token and a player board (“venture card”) indicating all the possible pictures (“the Rosetta Stone of what the clawky-talky might be saying to you”).

Two player screens. One hides a blue scratchy board and a stick for drawing; the other hides a "venture card": a 5x5 grid of possible pictures and a token.

Drawing

The supervisor draws a “task card” and keeps it secret. They must now give instructions to all the other workers by drawing that picture on the clawky-talky. They should draw slowly and clearly, taking up the whole surface. Use the exact same number of lines and dots as shown on the card.

The rest of the Hearmees listen for how many lines, curves, and dots the supervisor drew. Which picture on your venture card best matches what you heard? Place your player tile on it (still hidden behind the screen, of course).

Players may ask the supervisor to claw the picture a second time.

Once all Hearmees have guessed, remove the screens. The supervisor places his task card where everyone can see it.

Yellow Hearmees venture card behind a screen. There is a purple token covering the teapot image.
I think I heard a teapot…

Guessing

Did one or more Hearmees guess the picture correctly?

The supervisor and all who guessed correctly may take a house tile (one at a time).

If no one guessed correctly, no one is allowed to turn over a house tile this round.

A 6-across grid of tiles. The second one in the bottom row is flipped over and pictures a green monster-shaped house.
Take a house tile

House tiles

Every Hearmee is trying to be the first to complete their neighborhood. After turning over a house tile, check it. If it’s a type you don’t have yet, add it to your neighborhood. If it’s a type you have, take whichever of the two has more Hearmees-points.

But if it’s a break tile, bad luck for you! It’s break time and you can’t build this turn. Turn it face down again (and remember where it is to avoid it in the future!)

Next round

After everyone that is able has flipped a house tile, the supervisor passes the clawky-talky and claw-it to the next player and takes a venture card instead. Now it’s the new supervisor’s turn.

Game End

The game ends when a player collects four unique building types in their neighborhood. Finish the round, allowing correct-guess Hearmees to each flip a house tile to add to their neighborhood.

If only one Hearmee has at least four unique builidings, they win. If more than one Hearmee has completed their neighborhood, then the player with the most points on their house tiles wins. (When more than one player has the same score, they all win.)

Five Hearmees buildings: red, blue, purple/pink, yellow, and green.
There are five different types of buildings. You only need four to win the game.

Variations

You may remove the break tiles for a quicker and easier game. (Highly recommended.)

Use the blue task cards for a more challenging job for the supervisor and listeners.

Yellow task cards and yellow venture card / blue task cards and blue venture board with more complicated drawings.
Two difficulty levels for drawings

Impressions

“If I’m not the supervisor, it’s really hard and frustrating because a lot of the time I guess the wrong thing.”

Elliot

The Hearmees is really unique. We love the way the game forces us to slow down and listen, and the cooperation between “supervisor” and each other player.

Building a Mystery

We don’t love the memory aspect of the 6×5 grid of “house tiles”. It feels very unfair to get the answer right and then end up with zero points because you chose the wrong tile. Even removing the break tiles doesn’t quite fix this. We’re not sure the memory aspect is adding to the game at all; it feels like The Hearmees is trying to be two games at once, and the two games don’t mesh well.

Hearmees Break tile
Oh no! Time for a break.

However, the drawing and listening is so unique and engaging that we almost don’t mind this disconnect. We’ve played a few times now simply awarding points to everyone who guessed correctly, which keeps the peace in our family.

The Hearmees features something I’ve never seen in a kids game: competitive quietness. Imagine at the end of a long day… playing a fun game that involved the kids trying as hard as they can to out-quiet each other. Any other issues notwithstanding, this brings The Hearmees near the top of my ‘I’m interested’ list.

Andrew

Elliot says the game is “really hard” – however, he is at the start of the recommended age range, so that’s appropriate. It’s the kind of game that encourages our kids to try to improve and get better at a skill, which is a win!

Our last negative is the limited player count. Unless you make some major changes to the rules, you can only play with three or four players, making it a tough sell for our family of five.

There’s some really great stuff at the core of The Hearmees, but it would benefit from some edits to the rules (which you can do at home). We rate it 3 claws out of 5. Find it on Amazon for about $20.

The Hearmees game

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?

The Family Gamers received a review copy of The Hearmees from HABA for this review.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

The Hearmees
  • Claws
3

Summary

Age Range: 5-99

Number of Players: 3-4

Playtime: 20 minutes

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