Chinese Vampires aren’t your classic vampires that grace movie and TV screens recently, although those vampires aren’t really classic vampires anyway. Chinese vampires can’t turn into bats or suck your blood. They basically are reanimated corpses who have rigor mortis set in and can only move by hopping. Creepy stuff. But rather than making yet ANOTHER zombie/vampire game, Hoppers is an entirely different story contained in 18 cards. You have to think fast and move fast if you want to save the world.
Each round, players go on an adventure through a dark forest, bumping into interesting travelers along the way. You could cross paths with a stoic mage, playful fox spirit, or dreaded hopper, and depending on who you meet, you have to react a different way. And you have to move fast, because if your mind freezes up or you make a wrong move, your journey ends prematurely as you struggle to escape some quicksand that decided to swallow you up to your waist. Good luck with that.
To better illustrate what players are doing, I think this video goes a long way. Things get crazy.
If you manage to get through the seven card adventure, you have the chance to find your matching elemental stone or even find the rare Hopper Stone, a stone cursed with evil powers and probably listeria. You don’t know where that stone has been.
If you find your matching stone, you have to flip it face up, tipping off your opponents to your progress. If you find a different elemental stone, you can choose to flip it over or leave it face down. Maybe you found the Hopper Stone, you lucky dog! If you have found your matching rock before this point, you banish the hoppers from the land and the people hail your name the world over. If not, keep it to yourself unless you want someone else to swoop in and steal your glory.
I’ve talked about Hoppers in some pretty flowery language, but in reality, it’s just a small card game that makes you react quickly in weird ways. And it is a blast with the right group or mindset. Hoppers is a game that pairs extremely well with drinks or minds loopy from lack of sleep. The illustrations on the cards look fairly similar to each other, so reacting appropriately can be a challenge at times. And every once in a while, your brain will flat out refuse to respond, leading to a short journey.
Playing Hoppers is a tense experience, but it is quick enough that you get some rest between rounds. Don’t worry about looking funny because EVERYONE looks weird while playing. Hoppers is a light game to loosen up with after long games that take themselves very seriously. I’ve had some great laughs while playing and it travels extremely well, so you can share this madness with everyone you meet. If you are looking for a quick game to shake loose the cobwebs of sitting around a table, Hoppers is the perfect game for you. Just make sure you wash off that Hopper stone first. That thing is nasty.