We've previously reviewed other titles in the Lumberjacks Studio series of 'coffee break' games (ie: easy-to-learn, quick-to-play games that you can teach and play in your coffee break). Whereas the previous titles we've featured (Oh My Brain and Peanut Club) play in less than 20 minutes, Magic Rabbit barely gives you time for your coffee to percolate, filter or brew. It's a real-time game for 1-4 players that you're expected to complete in just 2 minutes and 30 seconds - and it comes with a 150-second sand timer to ensure you do just that.
With design credits shared by Julie Dutois, Romaric Galonnier, Ludovic Simonet and Cécile Ziégler, and art by Jonathan Aucomte and Olivier Derouetteau, Magic Rabbit is a cooperative puzzle game where nine rabbit tiles are shuffled and placed face down beneath nine shuffled face-up magicians' top hats. Players are racing against the clock (or rather sand timer) to get all the hats in order 1-9 and all the numbered Rabbits under the corresponding numbered Hats. There are Dove tokens on top some of the Hats, with the number of Doves dependent on the number of players (two Doves with four players, rising to five Doves if you're playing solitaire - compensating for the fact that the solo game isn't as tough as the cooperative version).
Players take turns to perform one of three actions - and only on piles that do not have Doves on them. You can lift a Hat and Rabbit to peek at the Rabbit at the bottom; you can switch any two Hats; or you can switch two piles (ie: Hats and the Rabbits underneath) to alter their relative positions. Having completed one of these actions - without any communication with any other player (so, for example, if you took the peek action, you can't reveal to others the number of the Rabbit you saw) - you have the option of moving a Dove onto another Hat.
With the time pressure of the sand trickling through the timer, the puzzle game might seem impossible. Indeed, the rules suggest playing it in the first instance without the timer and/or without the Doves. Even with the Doves in place and the timer trickling away, you somehow find players intuitively pick up on what others are doing and - appropriately, like magic - you appreciate that Magic Rabbit really is solvable! And all in the allotted 150 seconds!
Don't get too cocky tho'. At the bottom of the box, you'll find three envelopes... These include additional components and rules for further increasing the challenge. The idea is that once you've mastered the core game, you open up envelope #1 to make the game harder, eventually progressing to envelopes #2 and #3. Time to drink that coffee after all.
Along with Lumberjacks Studio's other titles, Magic Rabbit is distributed in the UK by Hachette Board Games.