Hickory Dickory

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In Hickory Dickory, players control a team of mice competing in a royal scavenger hunt hosted by Lord Cuckoo! The mice will ride on a cuckoo clock’s minute hand as they search for items that match their hunt card. The adorable mice will jump off the hand to collect item tiles and perform various actions that will help them gain berries, a.k.a., victory points. Once the clock s…
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Category Tags , SKU ZBG-PH3900 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Incredibly charming
  • Great for families
  • Cute theme and artwork

Might Not Like

  • Not much here for heavier gamers
  • Could be too simple for some
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Description

In Hickory Dickory, players control a team of mice competing in a royal scavenger hunt hosted by Lord Cuckoo! The mice will ride on a cuckoo clock's minute hand as they search for items that match their hunt card. The adorable mice will jump off the hand to collect item tiles and perform various actions that will help them gain berries, a.k.a., victory points.

Once the clock strikes midnight, the hunt is over and the mice will show off their scavenger hunt cards to Lord Cuckoo. Berries will be rewarded for rows and columns completed on their hunt card, and the mice team with the most berries wins!

Hickory Dickory is a different kind of worker placement and pick up and deliver game for 1-4 players designed by Sawyer West. You inhabit the world of nursery rhyme as your nest of mice aim to collect the best treasure for Lord Cuckoo who presides over the clock.

All your mice have different abilities which you can use to score berries (aka points) by completing deliveries and quests around the clock. Naturally one of the coolest things about this game is the clock hands that the mice jump upon. It’s very cute and a great visual. I will admit I struggled to get the clock hands separated to attach it onto the board (but that could just be me and I did get there eventually).

The Mouse Ran Up The Clock

While there seems to be a lot of steps for setting up, it’s actually quite simple and intuitive. You start with the clock face in the middle and attach the quest board, Itsy Bitsy’s web and the clock chains around the board. There are clear images on the board of where cards and other components should go, such as the little half moons that go on the flower around the clock. Also it goes without saying but the components are delightful, from the mice meeples to the decorative clock to the lovely bakelite tiles (they are just so satisfying).

Every player gets a hunt board and their five mice characters: Scavenger, Spotter, Scurrier, Scaler and Scamp. The hunt board indicates where your mice will start, apart from the Scamp which you don’t use until you get it from the leaf ability. The Scaler is also not used on the clock face but the clock chain where you compete to go up the chain the fastest for berries.

All the mice have special abilities too. The Scavenger has an extra large bag, when the Scrumper jumps off the clock it has the option to jump a bit further than the others, when gaining a tile the Scout gives you another option to choose from and the Scamp has the power to teleport around the clock when activated.

During set up you place different items around the clock which include marbles, spools of thread and buttons. You’re trying to deliver these and you get points for how many a mouse delivers at once, the largest colour group and the largest item group. The quest cards along the side offer you extra points if you manage to complete one during a delivery (for example, if a purple feather and an orange spool are within your delivery).

You are also hoping to deliver the special relics directly to Lord Cuckoo. There are only three relics in the game (they are gold) and if you deliver them to Lord Cuckoo at the 12 spot, you get an extra 5 points and a favour card. These relics are thrown into the item bag and can be drawn randomly like any of the other tiles.

The half moons on each number of the clock determine what the space does. This includes:

  • Delivering items
  • Searching (which means you can draw a tile from the bag)
  • Gaining favour (draw a favour card which can give you a one time action or can be used as an item during a delivery)
  • Exchanging an item for something else (your Scamp, a trip to Itsy Bitsy’s market or a search)
  • Scaling the clock chain (if you reach the top first you get the largest point bonus, every subsequent time someone reaches the top they get fewer points)

The key action of the game is using the hands of the clock to transport your mice around it. As the clock ticks you have the option of jumping onto the minute hand or activating the space your mouse is on. If you jump onto the minute hand, you form an orderly queue with the other mice and you can jump off when you want to activate the space or claim the item on it. The priority track on the side of the board means that a different person gets to go first each time. Though be aware that other people can push you off the clock hand, so your carefully laid plans can go awry. But there are some fun dynamics if you decide to jump on a very full minute hand, as the person who has to jump off can choose whether to jump off on the current space or the previous one.

If some of your mice are on the same space, they can trade with each other or give each other their items. This is really handy as if you plan to deliver stuff with one of them, you can get your other mice to give everything to them, optimising their delivery.

After a delivery you’re able to put the items onto your hunt board, and every time you complete a row or column you get some extra points. This creates a competitive element as multiple people may be gunning for the same item on the clock face.

Every time the clock strikes 12, it’s the end of the round and you reset the board. This means moving the hour hand forward, bringing all the mice back into the inner circle, refilling the market and quests and adding cat paws. Cat paws block certain spaces on the board and all the mice get knocked onto the next possible space. The cat paws create another point of variation each round as you might not be able to get to the space you want until the next round.

You keep doing all of these actions until the hour hand hits 12 and it’s the end of the game. You get one final delivery with all your mice’s items and you tot up the final scores.

Down They Ran

It goes without saying that Hickory Dickory is a very charming game. The illustrations are adorable and having a clock face that mice can jump around on is really great. It’s a lovely game to look at. There’s also a good amount of variety with the way you score points.

I think this game would be really great for families as there’s enough there for adults whilst being a really great game to introduce kids to different board game mechanics without it being overwhelming. There isn’t as much for people who want something more substantial, after a few plays you probably will have seen it all. But the aesthetic and gameplay is delightful enough to warrant a really pleasant experience each time you play.

Hickory Dickory is a worker placement and pick up and deliver game for 1-4 players designed by Sawyer West. You inhabit the world of nursery rhyme as your nest of mice aim to collect the best treasure for Lord Cuckoo who presides over the clock.

The game comes with a solo mode that I’ll be reviewing. The basic idea of the game is that you’re trying to deliver the best items to score the most points. You make deliveries (and do everything else) by using the minute hand of the clock to travel. You usually have to compete with others for the space on the minute hand but in the solo mode you’re aiming for a high score.

Time Goes By

You do the usual set up for a multiplayer game in Hickory Dickory except you only use your set of mice. You place them on the clock based on what your hunt board says and you work from there. There’s no automas or rival opponents so the usual interactions you have on the clock are just not possible. In a multiplayer game, your plans can go astray with lots of creatures jumping on the minute hand, but that’s just not going to happen here. Like with a two player game, you put the blockers on the minute hand to make it more congested. You’re really only competing with yourself for space on the clock.

The half moons on each number of the clock determine what the space does, there aren’t any differences compared to a multiplayer game. The spaces include:

  • Delivering items
  • Searching (which means you can draw a tile from the bag)
  • Gaining favour (draw a favour card which can give you a one time action or can be used as an item during a delivery)
  • Exchanging an item for something else (your Scamp, a trip to Itsy Bitsy’s market or a search)
  • Scaling the clock chain (if you reach the top first you get the largest point bonus, every subsequent time someone reaches the top they get fewer points)

It’s definitely a good way to learn the game before playing with other people. You learn the characters’ special abilities and all the different ways you can score points. Your hunt board is definitely much fuller as you don’t have anyone to compete with for tiles so you can do some mega deliveries. The scarcity in the multiplayer game is not something you need to worry about here. You can also be a bit more intentional with trying to complete quests and using Itsy Bitsy’s market to its full potential.

The key difference of the solo game is the cat paws, which you already use in a multiplayer game but there are a few more stakes with the cat paws this time round. Normally when you get hit with a cat paw you just move back a space. However in solo you roll for the cat paws each time you hit them (instead of just moving on) and if it rolls on the number you’re currently on, you lose a tile, which isn’t great. However this is still pretty low stakes as I have easily gone through games without getting hit with a cat paw.

Like in a multiplayer game, when the minute hand hits 12 you reset the clock, moving the hour hand forward, all the mice go back inside the clock, you refill the resources and roll the cat paws. You have the opportunity to be more strategic given that no one can mess with your plans. You continue this process until it’s midnight and you see how high of a score you’ve achieved.

So Slowly, Slowly

There unfortunately isn’t lots here for solo gamers. The rulebook says to aim for 100 points and I reckon you’ll be able to get that quite easily. While trying for a new high score can be fun, in solo Hickory Dickory it can feel quite repetitive and there’s limited things to explore. There is a charm and kitschy element to getting your mice to hop on the clock hands, climbing the chain and delivering golden relics to Lord Cuckoo, but it’s more fun when you’re competing with other people.

The game is lovely to look at regardless. I think most people would unfortunately get quite bored after a couple of tries of the solo variation. However I definitely think it’s worth trying at least once, most importantly to learn the game so you can try it with other people. It’ll definitely help with the flow of the game when someone is confident with how to play.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Incredibly charming
  • Great for families
  • Cute theme and artwork

Might not like

  • Not much here for heavier gamers
  • Could be too simple for some