Hand to Hand Wombat review: Our new favorite game night staple

In my pre-parent days, one of my favorite things to do was have a bunch of friends over for game night. Our go-to was Cards Against Humanity. We eventually added Exploding Kittens, and we’d throw in some classics every now and then. (Candy Land, anyone?)

Wombats, assemble! (From left) My sister, Candice; mom, Denice, our friend, Tziquin; and me.

It’s been a few years since I hosted a game night, and I’ve been itching to get back in the game, so to speak. That’s why it was so perfect when I found out I was receiving a copy of the new Exploding Kittens-produced game Hand to Hand Wombat, courtesy of Tryazon.

The game is pretty simple: You split into Basic Wombats and at least one Wicked Wombat. No one knows who is which. You close your eyes, set a 90-second timer and go to battle. The Basic Wombats try to build towers while the Wicked Wombat tries to tear them down.

We had a small crowd for my first foray back to game night. My mom, sister and our friend Tziquin came over. I decided to go for an Australian theme with the food for the evening, so I made meat pies and fairy bread. I also picked up some delicious Old Croc Australian extra sharp cheddar cheese, and a friend suggested I try Australian-style yogurt, so I picked up a few flavors of Noosa. Yes, the plating was not super enticing, but all of the food tasted great. And for my first time making meat pies, I kind of killed it.

Listen, I know it’s a weird combination, OK? I have weird parties.

The game is for ages 7 and up. It’s designed for 3 or more players. Based on the number of wombat cards, you could have eight or nine players.

While the “close your eyes and build towers” part of the game is fun — that’s how you earn points — it’s just as much fun to vote after each round of building. You count to three, and each player points at who they think is the Wicked Wombat. If more than half the players still in the game vote for the same person, that person is out. And it doesn’t matter if that person is the Wicked Wombat or not.

Building and guarding!

The voting leads to moments like my mom and sister pointing at each other, then each scoffing with disbelief. Or my mom trying to defend herself by saying Tziquin’s “noodle fingers” interfered with her building, meaning she must be the bad wombat. Or me, getting voted out after the very first round of the game because my Wicked Wombat ways were a little too obvious.

This, like the other Exploding Kittens games, is great for a family with slightly older kids — Casey, 4, observed but didn’t fully get the rules — or for adults who just want to knock stuff over and yell at each other.

Want to get your own copy, and pick up a couple of other Exploding Kittens games? Use coupon code WOMBATPARTY to buy two games, get one free at www.explodingkittens.com. The coupon expires Nov. 6. (This is a good opportunity to pick up some fun holiday gifts!)

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