HerStory is a card game of drafting cards featuring women to form a book for 8 chapters. Players play as an author and are tasked to form a book of stories of remarkable women in history from all around the world. The game is for 2-5 players and players in an hour. The game is designed by Nick Bentley, Emerson Matsuuchi, and Danielle Reynolds. The game is published by Underdog Games. The game is a light strategy game featuring 120 historical women. This is one of the best priced games I have seen in a long time and at its price point, I’d invite you to continue reading to see if this game might be for you.
What’s in the Box?
- 1 Neoprene Mat
- 5 Player Boards (Desks)
- 5 Wood Pushpins
- 120 Chapter Cards
- 52 Research Tokens
- 1 Drawstring Bag
- 5 Library Cards
- 5 Player Aids
How’s it Play?
Players play in a clockwise order taking turns until a player collects 8 total chapter cards. You will be choosing resource tokens, choosing chapter cards that list a specific woman with a remarkable story, and then completing that card by spending the resources listed on its side to score the points listed on the card’s top left.
So the first thing you do on your turn is to choose a resource token placed out on the board to take, and then its refilled immediately for the next player. Twice during the game you can use your library card to discard all resource tokens and place out all new ones to choose from. You flip your library card over when first using it, and discarding it when doing this for the second time.
You then draft chapter cards. You have 2 spots on your player board where you can store cards to complete at a later date. If those 2 spots are full, you won’t be able to take any chapter card to store for later. Each time you place a card in the draft area on your board, you also earn 2 points.
Lastly, you complete a chosen chapter card from either your drafts on your player board, or from the 5 shown out on the main board. You complete them by paying resource tokens with the listed icons needed. This doesn’t need to be exact, you can overpay, but you need to have at least the shown amount of each icon. If you have an exact match, you earn a 3 point extra bonus. Either way, when completing the card, you place it on the lowest unfulfilled slot on your player board and earn the number of points shown on that card.
After completing a chapter card, if it has a power on the lower part you will be able to start using its ability. Some cards show icons which can be used to complete future cards. Others have text powers which might give endgame points, or give you a bonus if you fulfill the stated scenario. These powers give you room for strategy, and make the game more exciting. Once a player complete their 8th chapter, the game ends and players figure out end game points and the player further on the score tracker wins.
Players can then choose one of their chapters to read out loud to all other players in the group. This way players can learn about underrepresented women, and a diverse list of well-known women.
HerStory is a straight forward game where you collect research symbols to gain cards that reward both points as special actions. There is a good amount of cards the vary from high points with no special actions, to no points with good powerful special actions. Your strategy should aim to get specific type of cards depending on the timing of the game. I would suggest going for cards the give you special actions and cards that give you research symbols at the beginning go the game so you can take advantage of those abilities. Later in the game, instead of those cards, I would focus on cards that give more points, or cards that grant end game points.
The only problem with everyone choosing this obvious strategy, is that there is no way to reset chapter cards out on the board, so there might be a time where not so desirable cards are out and you need to choose from those or wait for someone else to choose one so you can hope for a better card after.
I like how you gain points for drafting cards, so that makes it more efficient to score points by completing cards in your drafted area, to then gain more and more cards in those locations to gain more drafting points as well.
I really was interested in HerStory to play with my 7 year old daughter to show her how woman have done great things in the world, and there are also games that might inspire her and create interests that are similar to hers. She really liked reading about many of these women, and also finding ones she already knew about. I feel like the variety of women was impressive, and I myself didn’t know about many of these women, so its great that I could also read about them and know of some strong things that they contributed for a better world.
Mechanics in HerStory are simple and worker great for my kids, but the game didn’t ramp up in any way, you continued to do the same thing with some extra abilities in place, but it felt like the intensity and the speed never changed. Many times a turn consisted of grabbing a research tile and then waiting for your next turn because your drafted spots were already filled up and you couldn’t fulfill a card yet. I appreciate the library card, as there are a couple times you just need to get better tiles out that better fit your cards, and it helped to reset the tiles to get something more worthwhile.
Ultimately, I love the idea of HerStory. The theme is great, but the mechanics are a little too simple for us. An advanced variant would have been appreciated to add a little something into the game as I still want to use and discover the vast number of women featured on the chapter cards.
The components in HerStory are great. I really like when a game comes with a play mat instead of a board. The game included a fun cool bag for the resource tokens. I love the price point on the game for the components included, so just for that I think it makes this game appealing, but the weight of the game is light and not complex enough for us to get to the table more than a handful of times besides opening up the game just to read the cards.
Images via Underdog Games
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