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Travel Through Time to Make Clocks, Complete Quests, and Detail Women’s History

by W. Eric Martin

HerStory is the latest release from Underdog Games, which sells games either directly or via Amazon.

This 2-5 player game was designed by Danielle Reynolds, Emerson Matsuuchi, and Nick Bentley, with Bentley telling me, “We designed it in an attempt to create something non-gamers and gamers would enjoy playing together, so inviting for non-gamers, but with a little subtlety under the hood for gamers.” Here’s an overview:

In HerStory, you’re an acclaimed author, writing a book to tell the stories of remarkable women of history. Players take turns doing research, drafting chapters, and completing them for points and possibly for research symbols or special powers. The game ends when a player has written eight chapters, and the player with the highest scoring book wins.

In more detail, on a turn you either draft a research token that shows some combination of reading, thinking, interviewing, and searching symbols; draft a chapter card and score 2 points; or complete a chapter card (whether from your personal board or the shared idea board) by discarding research tokens that cover the “cost” of that chapter. If you discard exactly what’s needed instead of wasting research symbols, score 3 bonus points.

When you complete a chapter, you score the point value listed on it, then place that card in the bottommost open slot of your book. If that card shows research symbols, you can use them to complete other chapter cards in the future; if the card has text, you gain a bonus each turn or have a way to score bonus points at game’s end.

• U.S. publisher Plaid Hat Games is cementing its claim on the “small animal protagonist” market with word of Hickory Dickory from first-time designer Sawyer West.

Here’s a quick take on this 1-4 player game that takes 60-120 minutes to play and is due out in Q4 2022:

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!

In more detail, the game lasts five rounds, with a round consisting of the minute hand moving from 12 back to 12. Each time the minute hand moves to a new number on the clock, first the mice riding the minute hand either stay where they are or jump to the outer ring of the clock to take the tile or the action located there (or both). After this, the mice on the inner ring can either take the tile/action on the outer ring or hop onto the minute hand to move somewhere else.

Each of the four mice on your team has a special power, with Scurrier being able to jump off the minute hand and land up to two spaces “in the future”, as it were, while Scavenger takes up two spaces on the minute hand, giving you the possibility of pushing others off the minute hand and wasting their action.

• And to complicate things, U.S. publisher Elf Creek Games has a similarly-named game hitting Kickstarter in February 2023: The Clocks of Hickory Docks, from designer Robert Fisk:

The sun rises over the ocean, and the fog lifts from Hickory Docks. A bell chimes, and the workshop comes alive with the sound of tiny, scurrying feet. The clock mice are awake and already hard at work.

The Clocks of Hickory Docks is a strategy board game of time-track management. Play a team of industrious mice that is building and marketing mechanical timepieces. Speed is of the essence…but build too quickly, and your clocks won’t impress the collectors who value quality over quantity.

Take the mantle and see your masterpiece atop the newly built clock tower. Scurry to it! The world of innovation waits for no mouse.

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