Teddy Hedz is a card game that integrates creative physical game interactions in the form of hurling a plush toy towards your opponent to act as both an incentive and a reward for winning. This 2- 4 player card game pits 40 card decks against one another to battle it out for 10 points in the form of SCON. Winning the game also grants you the chance to SCON your opponent literally with a cute plush bear head. Each deck contains cards of the following types: Hedz, Environments, Buffs, Interrupts and Bearicades.
Types of Cards
Cards used to battle against your opponent with four unique skills S-C-O-N: Snipe, Crush, Overarm and returN.
These cards are the powerful cards in the game and stay in play through multiple rounds until discarded. They affect most players and tend to turn the tide of battle.
These cards strengthen your attack ability by adding points to a skill. Example: +2 Snipe adds 2 to the base Snipe skill of your Hedz in play.
These are counter cards that can be played against an opponent any time before a dice roll is resolved.
A stackable defence card that removes a number of SCONs scored by a dice roll.
To set up Teddy Hedz, each player builds their 40-card deck and shuffles it, placing their respective decks next to them. Alongside their decks, 4 dice are placed beside them as well. The plushie head is placed in the middle of the playing area.
Each player starts by drawing 5 cards. In the case of having no Hedz cards in hand, players can reveal and refresh their hand. Teddy Hedz plays in three phases and continues until the 10 SCONs are earned. These phases are: Build, Battle and Draw.
- Players may play a card face down on the table
- Players wanting to battle must Declare their intent to do so
- Only those who did not declare can play their card face up
- All cards take their effects simultaneously
- Players that have previously Declared now pick a target to battle with
- Targets that aren’t defended draw a card from their deck to add to their hand
- Targeted players may choose to play face a down card in defence
- Both battling cards are then turned over and considered in play. Damage calculations are resolved.
*Damage calculations are done by taking the specific skill a player wants to attack with, and applying all relevant buffs. If a Hedz card is in defence, subtract only that cards Skill value as Buffs only apply to Hedz in an attack position. The difference in the resulting attack and defence values is how many Hedz Dice are rolled to see how many SCON points are earned in this round. Once the dice are rolled, no Interrupts can be played from hand and players apply the “Bearicade” modifier to the dice roll. Interrupts can now be played but they do not effect the completed attack.
- Any player with 10 or more cards remaining must discard down to 9 cards in hand
- All interrupts still in play are now discarded
- All players draw a card from their deck
Thoughts from Playtesting
The amount of time taken to set up and learn how to play Teddy Hedz felt troublesome in comparison to the simplicity that “shuffebuilding” games are known for. “Shufflebuilding” card games are normally easy to pick up and a good example would be playing Smash Up with its clear card effects and identical premise- winning the game through scoring points in battle.
Despite this, I eventually figured out how each turn is played out when playing against a friend of mine. It’s shortcoming is due to the instruction manual having vague and unnecessary explanations of the cards at times. One such example would be claiming that Environments are the strongest cards, yet not offering any clear clarification on their mechanics. Alongside that, playing Teddy Hedz often resulted in clumped hands where drawing and passing became the norm. At first, I thought I had not shuffled properly but I realised how many excess Interrupt cards were in each of the decks. I would compare this to Smash Up, which produced a better balance of cards in hand. Lastly, the marker used to indicate how many SCON points each player is on tends to bend the material of the turn card guide with consistent play. This is easily fixed by creating the guide with cardboard instead of plastic lamination. These problems that are in Teddy Hedz are critical and has caused the game to feel tedious, predictable and more of a burden than its worth.
On the other side of the spectrum, I feel Anthea Wright’s cartoony artwork fits the overall style Teddy Hedz is aiming for. The artwork is bold and clean with a readable font and excellent bear puns. The lamination of the cards in the deck was done well alongside the simple card backs. Throwing the plush head at the end of the game was definitely satisfying as well. Overall, the game took a while to pick up and has flaws but its quality of cards in deck, its puns and the unique simplicity of being able to throw a plush head makes the game fun and interesting to an extent.
“It was great! A fun time, with the bears. But I haven’t got much practice with it.” – Ethan, age 9.
I got slaughtered in the first game, so I didn’t think it was that great at first. But I did warm up to it – obviously the first game is just a practice one! It did display some weakness in the gameplay; an unlucky or lucky hand can result in a hugely uneven game for the players very quickly. In that first practice game my opponent won without me scoring a single point. The quick playtime however (for two players), means that you can play a couple of games in one session, evening it out. When playing with more than two people, the battles are duels between two players, so theoretically there is still plenty of opportunity.
Like most games, it can take a few rounds to get the hang of the rules. These rules separate the game into rounds with pretty standard build/battle/draw phases, steps for attack and defence with various buffs, interrupts, bearicades and such, then score calculation (in a rather non-intuitive way using custom game dice). While my game-experienced and mathematically minded opponent got a handle on it before long, it’s not something you can just hand off to youngsters to get the hang of themselves unless you don’t mind them making up half the rules themselves. It’s not the simplest card game I’ve encountered, but the game is in early days and I think player feedback will help clear up some minor rule confusion and flesh out the website FAQ and videos for support.
Teddy Hedz has just launched on Kickstarter. Head over to the official page and take a look – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/546279769/teddy-hedz