Rat Hot is a small two-player tile-laying game from Michael Schacht. It was previously web-published as Dschunke: das Legespiel, but this edition is from Queen Games and Rio Grande Games.
The game is about merchants storing goods in a storage; they try to pack similar goods together for easy access. They also have to worry about rats. The theme doesn’t make complete sense, but the game is quite abstract in the end, so it doesn’t really matter.
Piles of boxes
Players pile 3×1 tiles on the board, two each turn. Each square in a tile can have goods of either player, nothing or a rat (which are also colour-coded). When a tile is placed so that two similar goods are together, the owner of the goods scores one point. If a group of three or more is formed, it’s two points.
Rats are a threat. If player has three rats of her own colour showing up in the end of her turn, she loses immediately. So, better cover up those rats! It’s a great mechanic to add tension in the game; unfortunately it can rarely lead to situations where players loses on the last turn without any chance to prevent that.
However, it’s easy to recognise those situations (and separate them from failed risk-taking) and avoid them, so I wouldn’t count this as a big issue. Also, as I said, it should be fairly rare.
The rules of the game are fairly simple and intuitive. The only thing I had problems with was one restriction for the tile placement: you can’t place a tile directly on top of another tile. It must always cover at least two tiles. That’s an important rule, but it’s also a bit non-intuitive.
Otherwise the game is very straightforward and fun, in it’s own dry way. It’s not a riot, but something I found quite enjoyable, particularly as it’s so fast to play. The three-dimensional approach of the game is refreshing, as it’s fairly rare in tile-laying games.
The game is a tad expensive for a short filler, at least here in Finland, so I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you play two-player games regularly. In that case Rat Hot is worth a try, it should give you something new and fresh for a while.
I know I won’t be buying the game, as my two-player gaming is occasional and I don’t think I’d get enough bang for a buck from Rat Hot. With a regular opponent (for example if my wife were more into games), I would get this without a doubt.