(P)review: Hitman Holiday or Jenn's Sick So, Deadly STAY-cation

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So Jenn just got back from three weeks in Hong Kong; I’m so happy. I don’t know if it was the combination of the temp here being -5, the water, or just the lack of fish in all the foods here… But she’s not feeling well and is pretty much stuck in the house. When I say stuck in the house I mean she might as well have the opposite of a restraining order that says she MUST stay within 20 feet of a toilet at all times.

To make a long story even longer, I could not, being as creative as I am, come up with a good enough excuse to get out of the house for more then 10 minutes at a time the entire weekend. So let the deadly stay-cation begin.

pic2244992_mdOn the cover it sells itself as “The Ultimate Assassin Game”; this is the perfect weekend to put that to the test.

Hitman Holiday (formerally known as Deadly Vacation) is a Werewolf-type deduction game with elements of Clue or Kill Doctor Lucky. You are “vacationing” at the resort “Paradise” apparently with up to 10 other highly-trained assassins, and guess what? You’ve all been hired to kill each other. At the beginning of the game each player has a target they’re trying to assassinate.

Let’s start with the board. The board is basically a bunch of linked circles denoting the different areas of the resort that Jenn will straight up try to murder me in retribution for not washing her underwear properly.* The circles have different colors and icons to denote the things that can happen there. A yellow icon is a direct kill zone where you can stab, poison, choke, or thrown you victim off a ledge. A red icon is a ranged kill zone where you can snipe, drop stuff on their heads. White is an exposed area where no murders may happen without getting caught.

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At the beginning of the game everyone takes one of their Target cards, shuffles em up and deals them out to all the players, these are the characters you’re trying to murder. There is also a second target deck you do the same with but save for later.

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This is me, the old guy, I have to pee/poo every 4 rounds.

Oh, see the dials on the character board? Those are your “needs”. They are just what the icons depict, at the end of your turn you turn each dial up by 1. When a dial hits it maximum value you lose 1 health and 1 score. Don’t worry, there are spots on the board where you can pee and sleep, but hopefully not in the same place. Jenn tends to get so focused on murder that she craps herself.

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Bulliten Board – Good for tracking turns and leaving clues about whom they’re hired to kill.

The game is played over a bunch of rounds and ends when contracts expire twice.  The goal is to score points by either murdering your target, guessing who your assassin is, someone else accidentally killing your target, or killing another unprotected target. As you’d probably guessed by now, the one with the most points after the eighth round wins or if there are only 2 players left alive. The day after our initial game, Jenn and I played the 2-player variant where we each played 3 characters with the same basic assassination goal except now anyone on the opposing team can murder the target. (We actually enjoyed the 2-player version better, because we like each other… Not to say that we don’t like other people. We’d rather play games with each other in our underwear).

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There are also a few things that make this more of a game of murder in the dark than other games of this type. The action cards allow you to “hide” objects at locations, like knives or remote bombs. Jenn really DOESN’T like the remote bombs, just ask her… Actually don’t. It may result in strangulation. Each player starts with a hand of cards they may use on their turn to plant spy cameras, booby traps**, decoys and the like. These are played by “hiding” them in an area of the board, placing the card in one of the slots on your character sheet and marking the spot on the board with one of your character tokens. Each player has 5 spots where they have a cache of whatever. When you land on one of your cache tokens you may draw 2 more Hidden Action Cards.

In the first game, even though there were six people playing, I could tell that Jenn was completely focused on trying to kill ME. I could feel her brain trying to make me do things that would benefit her, but I resisted. When all is said and done, Hitman Holiday (formerly known as Deadly Vacation) is a fun board game that takes the whole hidden agenda type game to the next level.

Given the choice between Hitman Holiday, Werewolf, Ultimate Werewolf, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, or Famous ORIGINAL Ray’s, I’ll take this one hands down.

*I know there is no scientific research on the subject, but I’m sure the murder rate for board game couples is probably REALLY low because we get out our frustrations on each other by destroying them in games like this.

** Hehe boobies