Art is a lot of work. It often comes from groups. Bands, films or game publishers: there are always several people involved in the success of a product. Hodari Games, on the other hand, is a one-man project. Of course, there are enough other people involved in addition to David Rimbach, the publisher's founder and creative head, but David has a hand in everything. We spoke to him about the publisher.

This article is the sixth in our series of publisher reviews. In this we introduce publishers and show their history, their current games and can also give a small preview of future projects of the publisher.

The publisher Hodari Spiele from Immenhausen near Kassel hosts fast card games as well as complex "big" board games. Everything arose from the ideas of David Rimbach. Marketing and social media channels are managed by his wife Lisa. Everything related to the work on the games is done by David himself and he is at least involved in all steps of the development process if he is not doing it himself. We discussed with him how the publishing house was founded, what Hodari currently has and what can be expected in the future.

Lots of pugs on the way to the publisher

As a trained commercial photographer, David has a lot of experience in areas outside of game design that is useful for working at Hodari. 

Board games were always present in his childhood. Back then, there were mainly the usual suspects like Settlers of Catan, Man does not annoy you or Monopoly. Also a game called procreator was played. Together with his sister, he also developed small variants and extensions for this game in order to change things that the children didn't like.

Over several years, board games then took a back seat to digital games in leisure time. With The legends of Andor the world of board games opened up again and a play group developed in the circle of friends. 

After a few years, the first idea for an own game came up. After printing a prototype, however, this was quickly discarded.
Grab the boobs came into being in 2016 and here it “clicked” quite quickly. In 2018, the game will be available for direct sale. For a "simple" card game, the risk of releasing it directly and without crowdfunding was justifiable. The game's main distribution channel is Amazon.

The Hodari Games journey began with Grab the Pugs. The Ultimate Edition wraps it all up. Image: Hodari Games

The aim of this fast-paced card game is to collect as many of the little four-legged friends as possible. Luck and strategy are combined here. Thanks to the short playing time, the game is a good nightcap or start to the game night.

The fact that a dog theme adorns David's first game is not least due to Leica, his labrador dog, who has been with him for 10 years and was a great inspiration for the game.

2019 turned out to be an impressively productive year for David. Three titles appear. With rainbow wars there will be the first extension for in spring Grab the boobs
The next game will follow in August Don't be a pussy. This is another deck of cards, this time accompanied visually by kittens. In this game, the answers of the players to the questions on the playing cards are in the foreground. 

Three months later comes the next title at Hodari. The Mystery of Time Travel is an interactive puzzle book in which you accompany the protagonist Hermann through space and time and solve a total of 46 puzzles.

Hodari was finally registered as a trademark in 2020. The name stands for "Hobs" David Rimbach. Hobs is his nickname. As "exercise" for the first big board game, crowdfunding for the next expansion for Grab the boobs called Chaos. In addition, there was the "Ultimate Edition" and the third and final expansion Grab the Boobs Beyond. 

After a good two years of development, February 2021 followed Wutaki the latest game on Kickstarter. It is the first "big" game at Hodari. More are coming soon.

With "Wutaki" there is a worker placement game with a high level of interaction. Image: Hodari Games

It is noticeable that up to Catch the Boobs Chaos all games went on sale directly. Even this expansion didn't need to be crowdfunded. But it was a perfect way to get hands-on with the process of a Kickstarter project before it counted with Wutaki. The risk taken with the direct release of the other games was relatively small. Crowdfunding was necessary for Wutaki, as there is much more involved and the upfront costs would have been many times higher.

Anyone who stopped by the Hodari stand at SPIEL will have already discovered two more titles there. These follow in the third section of the article when it comes to the new projects.

All good things are currently four

Hodari started with playing cards Grab the boobs, which now has three expansions and an Ultimate Edition that brings all the material together in one box. 

The rules of the game are very simple. At the start of the game, everyone is dealt five cards in hand. There are four different pug cards: the single, double, and unicorn pug, as well as the dark pug. There are also action cards and pug says no cards.

If it is your turn, you draw a card from the face-down draw pile and may play a card. The action cards allow a variety of actions. Everything is included here, from interaction-free cards, such as drawing two cards, to direct attacks on playing pug mops. The effects of the action cards can be blocked with the Pug Says No cards. Any number of these can be played on top of each other. The "discussion" can be ended with the super duper no. The “Nooooooo, however…” card allows an action card to be redirected to another player.

The fast card game is played with 2-5 people in about 10 minutes.

The first expansion rainbow wars expands the number of people to 3-7 people and increases the playing time to about 15 minutes. Included here are new action cards that bring even more possibilities in the game. For example, there are pug upgrades so that individual pugs earn another point. Rainbow candies provide a quick way to win the game. A feline villain causes conflict.

Again, the number of people with the extension Chaos changes. Now 2-7 pug mops are possible. In addition to other new action cards, the 7 included characters (master/mistress) are the chaotic core of this expansion. They all have unique abilities. The playing time is now 15-25 minutes. With Beyond is there an extension for Chaos. Here are more cards and characters included. 

All Grab the boobs-Extensions build on each other. 

Between rainbow wars and the other expansions, two pug-free titles have been released by Hodari.
Released in August 2019 Don't be a pussy. This is a party game where you ask each other questions. The respondent then has to answer this with a yes, no or kitty card (if the question is too spicy). If the person who asked the question guesses the correct answer, the question card goes to them. If the person questioned was misjudged, they receive the question card. Whoever has collected the most question cards at the end wins the game.

Some things you might not even want to answer in the party game "Don't be a pussy". Image: Hodari Games

With The Mystery of Time Travel there is an interactive puzzle book at Hodari. Here you accompany the protagonist Hermann through time. Anything can be done with the book. Since you also have to write, paint, cut and bend, it can only be played once. There are a total of 76 puzzles on 46 pages, the solutions to which can be checked online.

The game of the same name takes place in the village of Wutaki. The Wutakians worship the deity Buka, who is said to live under the volcano. This is exactly what is now threatening to break out. In order to appease the monster, the players, in their role as chiefs of the tribes, send out workers to collect offerings. 

But the dark omens are also multiplying. Maybe Baku isn't a deity at all, just a creature that lives at the base of the volcano. 

Regardless of what one's tribe believes, all must use their elements wisely, increase their following, and assert themselves against the other tribal leaders.

In your own turn you first place a worker in the classic worker placement manner and then carry out the corresponding action. Interaction is written much more in this game than in many other worker placement games. For example, some locations allow opposing workers to be chased away or pact cards to be given away, which result in minus points if they are not fulfilled. The locations that offer resources or workers can each be upgraded twice. If a location has been upgraded, all players benefit and not just the person who upgraded the location.

Wutaki is suitable for 2-4 people and lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. The Kennerspiel is recommended for ages 14 and up.

(Love) Crafting new Games

The next Hodari title will start crowdfunding later this year. At first with the title Roll for Cthulhu planned, the novelty had to be in Roll for Great Old Ones be renamed so as not to infringe any Pegasus license rights. 

This game is a complex roll and write for 1-4 players with a playing time of 60-90 minutes. David himself doesn't really like roll and writes and wanted to create one that would be suitable for those who don't really like the genre either. It's the first time David hasn't contributed the artwork himself.

In various scenarios, the players try to stop the cultists and other creatures together in the role of an investigator before the ancient evils are freed by completing the ritual. The shared pool of dice is re-rolled each round and everyone must choose a die to perform actions with. 

In Roll for Great Old Ones you have to stop the cultists by using the dice wisely. Image: Hodari Games

There are many ways to manipulate dice in the game. A better result is of course never certain, but it is usually worth a try. The game is slated to start crowdfunding in early December and will be available in both print and play and professionally printed versions. We will soon have a detailed report on this.

Another title that could also be admired at the SPIEL Galaxy Postman. With its neon colors it was a real eye-catcher there. This is the first game by another author that David is "only" a co-author. He again edited the artwork himself. 

The first draft author Kai Starck showed David was a solo game with a shorter playing time, a win condition, and a high score chase. Together, the game was further developed and first became a "nightcap" board game for 1-4 people. After SPIEL it has evolved even further and is now a game that can function as the main game at a game night.

Players have their first day as a galaxy postman. They deliver packages, offer rides to aliens, and upgrade their ship to suit their needs. In each round of the Dice Placements game, players roll their dice pool and choose actions to activate with the dice. Upgrades improve these actions as the game progresses.

The game for 1-4 people and a playing time of probably 60-90 minutes should start crowdfunding as soon as Roll for Great Old Ones was delivered. The start is expected in spring 2023. There are already considerations for "luxury game material" such as miniatures and double layer player boards.

With such more complex games, crowdfunding has to be used, otherwise the financial risk would be too great. David would prefer it if he could publish new titles without the more time-consuming "detour" via crowdfunding. He intends to continue this approach with smaller titles.
A party game in which the players collect triplets and where quick reactions are important is to be put on sale again.

On his "wall" there are many more or less ready-made ideas, for the implementation of which there is simply a lack of time resources. David would like to place some titles with other publishers in order to be able to publish them and at the same time be able to continue working on games at Hodari.

The tentative cover of the family-friendly dungeon crawler. Image: Hodari Games

Other games in the works for Hodari are Dino dungeon  and The Last Battle. The first is a family-friendly dungeon crawler that also caters to children. Different modules allow the complexity to be adjusted to different levels of experience. The finishing touches are currently being worked on here.
The Last Battle is a fast skirmirsher with simple rules. In the duel 1 vs 1, 1 vs 2 or 2 vs 2, the chosen scenario is about defeating the opponent or opponents through clever tactical decisions.

One of his favorite projects, which is also relatively finished, is the dungeon crawler The ancestors of Canoul. It's supposed to be Diablo The Board Game. It would be the game with the most extensive game material at Hodari.

At the latest with Wutaki Hodari has also garnered the attention of the more "nerdy" board game scene. A position that the likeable publisher around David Rimbach has more than earned. The upcoming releases leave you wanting more. With all the novelties, David wants to do something he hasn't done before. It is also important that the games are still fun after the fiftieth or hundredth test and thus also offer a high level of replay appeal for the buyer.

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