Hickory Dickory Scaling to Player Counts
Hello, and welcome back to another Hickory Dickory preview! This week we wanted to take a closer look at how the game scales to different player counts, including a summary of the solo game.
You Can Be a Clockmaker!
When you setup a game of Hickory Dickory, the first thing you’ll do is put together the clock board. Besides being absolutely gorgeous, the board is also a mechanical marvel with moving parts that resemble a real clock!
Constructing the clock is easy and there’s a handy instruction sheet included as a guide. The clock parts and the board connect together, and along with the two sideboards, form the playing surface. The hour hand on the clock is used to track rounds. You’ll set it at seven o’clock for games with 2-4 players. The minute hand starts at the twelve and is used to carry your mice around the clock face.
Adding the Blockers
If you’re playing with fewer than four players you will need to use the plastic blockers provided to block a number of spaces on the minute hand. Knocking opponent’s mice off the minute hand is an important strategy in the game and limiting the spaces on the minute hand ensures that it will always be a factor, even with lower player count.
When playing with four players, do not use any blockers. When playing with three players, use the small 3-player blocker. When playing with two players, use the larger 2-player blocker. When playing solo, you will use both blockers! We will talk about solo play later in this article.
That Dastardly Cat
Another way Hickory Dickory scales to different player counts is the cat paw tokens. If it wasn’t hard enough competing with all these other mice, you’ll have to deal with that pesky cat who just can’t help but stir up trouble.
When the cat paw is in play, it will block the clock number it is on. Mice will not go there, and who could blame them?
At the end of each round you will roll the yellow ten-sided die and place the cat paw token covering the matching number on the clock. If playing with less than four players, you will roll the die twice and place both paw tokens at different numbers on the clock. This ensures there will always be competitive tension between the rival mice no matter the player count!
The Priority Track
Keeping track of the activation order at each ‘Tick of the Clock’ is important. The priority track will always show the order in which the mice activate by color. In games where there are less than four players, you will use priority block tokens to cover the colored slots on the priority track that match the color of the mouse teams not participating. At the end of each round, priority will change and the priority tracker is moved clockwise, skipping any blocked slots.
We’ve included a solo variant so players can challenge themselves. In the solo variant, you will be trying to beat 100 points by the time the clock strikes midnight. This is no easy task, and provides a fun puzzle. Setting up and playing solo uses some variant rules.
When setting up the Solo variant, you will use both clock hand blockers on the minute hand. This will reduce the number of slots on the minute hand to just two! Set the hour hand at six o’clock instead of seven. You will also start the game with both cat paws already in play and you will only use one team of mice.
Cat Scratch Fever
You will use your mice in the same way as a normal multiplayer game, but with a couple of differences. If a minute hand with one or more mice on it moves to a number with a cat paw, roll the cat die and see if the cat paw moves to a different number. If it does, the mice on the minute hand will activate.
Whenever a cat paw is placed on a space with mice (on the hand or on the clock, even if it was just there), it SCRATCHES them—discard 1 tile for each mouse at that number from any of their mouse cards. Then:
- Mice on that inner/outer ring space move to the next non-covered space in the same ring. Do not claim tiles or perform actions.
- Mice on the minute hand (at that number) activate and leap to the next non-covered outer ring space and resolve it normally.
Play to 100 points, or keep track of your scores and challenge yourself to beat your best score.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our previews of Hickory Dickory! This exciting worker rotation game is available for preorder right now and will be out January 2023!