Thinking Inside the Box: U.S. Games Systems – Hooyah

Hooyah is a cooperative card game based on modern real world Navy SEAL missions published by U.S. Games Systems
By Cape Rust

This game is sexy from the inside out! The rules are easy to learn, the cards are stunning, and the gameplay is intense. HOOYAH is a well-executed, fast-paced game that maximizes your time on target. The time and energy put into this game shows the respect that U.S. Games has for the brave warriors of the U.S. Navy SEALS and the special operations they carry out in the dark of night, behind enemy lines while we sleep. Double check your gear and head over to the briefing room. There are evil people out there doing evil things, only you and your team can stop them! HOOYAH!


Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
This is a high quality product. U.S. Games Systems spared no expense producing this game. The cards are the right weight and the artwork is top notch. The text on the cards is easy to read and the font has the right military feel. The depictions of the equipment on the cards are accurate line drawings with some interesting factoids included. All of the pieces included with this game are high quality and will not fall apart even with repeated use. My kitten Tum Tum Monster Destroyer got hold of a few of the health counters and minus some cosmetic damage they are still quite useable (Tum Tum Monster Destroyer is an epic creature with a high challenge rating but your results with animal encounters might vary). The box art really gives a SEAL/Special Ops feel and like everything else the box is high quality.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
Hooyah, does not try to replicate the stress of real world combat or real world operations. U.S. Games Systems has more respect for the uniformed services than that. This game really stresses cooperation and teamwork. Each player assumes real world SEAL team positions that give them special abilities. Team roles include things like sniper, commander, communications and medic. There are actually a total of 10 roles the players can assume providing a great deal of variation in game play. Most of the mechanics are based on having the right amount of cards of a certain color. The rules are more complex than that, but that is the baseline mechanic.

Mike Fitzgerald, the creator of the game, was kind enough to add mechanics that drive cooperation (like a tabletop role-playing game) and actually places one of the players in a leadership role. If one of the players loses all of their health tokens, the mission is a failure. One of the values that many soldiers hold dear is that we don’t leave anyone behind. That is harder said than done, but always a goal. The rules are not hard to learn but it does take a few minutes to read through them. I recommend allotting at least a half hour before playing the game for the first time to read through and learn the rules. This game includes rules for solitaire play which is very rare for any card game of this type.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
I wanted to play this game as soon as I saw an advertisement for it. I was in the military and this struck a chord with me right away. I was in the Army and I do feel the whole Navy SEAL thing has been played out, but this game is a genuine tribute to the SEAL and the amazing things they do. Every piece of this game adds to the desire to play. If you are not interested in anything military, just focus on the the team work and color matching aspect and you should still enjoy the game.

Overall: 10 out of 10
I had a great time learning how to play and actually playing this game. I have played it several times in groups and alone and enjoyed it every time. There are just enough other factors and variables in the game to keep it interesting and the amount of SEAL team role combinations possible at the table providing a vast amount of variations during game play. This game was designed to pay homage to not only the Navy SEALs but Special Operations and the military as a whole. If you are looking for a change of pace from your normal RPG or are getting tired of Magic or Munchkin, then this is a game great diversion. I can see Hooyah being used in leadership classes or for team-building exercises as well. No matter how or when you decide to play Hooyah, play it, it is fun. Lock and load, it’s a wild ride!

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