SNAP Review – Hammer Time
If you put dwarves in mines (as we learned from Disney), what happens? They hammer gemstones, obviously! That’s the premise behind Hammer Time.
Hammer Time is a game for 2-4 players, ages 5 and up. It was designed by Shaun Graham and Scott Huntington, and it’s published by HABA.
I love the jewels. The hammer and the flipped box (very clever!) make this a very satisfying game to play. The cards are fine – as an adult, I wish they were a little bigger, which would make the pictures on them a little bit clearer. They are very pretty though.
Take the bottom half of the box and place it upside down. When you first get the game, there’s a sticky neoprene mat that you’ll stick onto the bottom of the box. Then dump out all the gems onto it! (And maybe onto the floor too – then clean those up.)
On your turn, use the hammer to hit the box until at least one gem falls off.
Then count the gems that fell. If you knocked off nine or more, you have woken the dragon. Immediately end your turn.
But if you have eight or fewer gems, use them to score. Start with checking the common task card – if you fulfilled it, flip it over for a Joker gem. Then place gems onto matching spots on your current “wagon” card. Any leftover gems go back on the box bottom, and it’s the next player’s turn!
The first player to fill all four of their wagons triggers the end of the game. Finish the round: the winner is whoever has the most finished wagons (or task cards, in case of a tie).
There is a “master variant” that has you roll a die before taking your turn; each of the six sides of the die has a different way to make your hammering more difficult. (Using only the handle, not being able to use your thumb, putting your head on the table, closing your eyes.) We highly recommend this variant! It makes for a great equalizer between adults and kids when you play. It’s interesting and challenging in a different kind of way, which we really like.
I get to hammer the box in this game? Sounds like a hit.
It is fun to hit the box. And as always, we love games with plastic gems in them. They’re so pretty and they make us want to collect them.
True to usual HABA style, there is no reading required in this game. Even the “task cards” do a good job indicating their requirements without using words.
And Asher pointed out to me – the sides of the box show the six dwarf poses associated with the sides of the Master die.
Nobody wants to have Hammer Time, and then stop. Everyone wants “Stop, Hammer Time.”
I really thought a game about hitting stuff would go over well, but our kids did not enjoy this game that much.
I think it’s because you have very little control over which gems you will knock off the box, and the specific requirements for the wagons can feel very challenging. If you go a round or two without getting the specific gems you need, you’ll suddenly be very far behind the rest of the players as they progress and fill their wagons.
And let’s face it, when you tell kids they want to hit something – they’ll want to hit it hard! But the game penalizes that. If you hit more than eight gems off, you get nothing.
Hammer Time has all of the ingredients to be a hit, but mixing all these ingredients up didn’t come out quite the way we hoped.
Plus you don’t let me make dad jokes about this game. (It’s because it’s the one joke over and over again. “It’s a good joke.”)
I think it’s a pretty good, pretty fun family game, but not great for the low end of its stated age range.
It looks like there’s a lot more skill involved in this game then there is. It’s mostly luck.
We rate it 2 1/2 out of 5 handy hammers.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Hammer Time from HABA for this review.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Number of Players: 2-4
Age Range: 5-99 (we say a bit older)
Playtime: 15-30 minutes