In Hounded, one play is a huntsman leading his dogs and the other is the crafty fox. The huntsman wins by cornering the fox, and the fox wins by outlasting the hunter and his pack.
The game is made from 49 tiles that are shuffled and laid out face-down in a 7×7 grid. Only one tile begins face-up; a ‘den’ tile, with the fox starting on it. At the other end of the ‘board’ are the Master of Hounds and his canine assistants: the terrier, bulldog and three foxhounds. The hunter begins: on their turn the hunting player moves exactly three of their party: all except the bulldog can move orthogonally or diagonally, and all except the foxhounds can move only one space – the foxhounds can move two, or just one diagonally.
Then it’s the fox’s turn: he can move three spaces, and one of them may be diagonal. Wherever the fox stops he flips over the tile he has stopped on (the terrier must follow a similar rule) revealing what they are: grass is harmless, den tiles help the fox – he can move from one den tile to another as a move – trap tiles help the hunter. Hidden somewhere in the 49 tiles are the sunrise, noon and moon tiles: if the fox reveals all three of these he instantly wins. His only other way of winning is to outlast the hunting party by turning over 43 of the 49 tiles.
The hunter has two ways to win as well: by having the fox end his turn within one space of the Master of Hounds, or be unable to move. In either sense, he is ‘trapped’ and the Hunter wins.
This is a rather marvellous game, I think. It’s quite asymmetrical in that the Hunter’s objective is obviously very different from the fox’s – but how you play the game is very different too. The Hunter doesn’t want to chase the fox all over the board as this just gives the fox – eventually – an easy win. Instead they need to play a shrewd game game of trap-setting and catching. And as the fox your challenge is to see what the Hunter is up to and get around him. It’s really good.
It's a hunt, so the fox may feel some sense of persecution.
Moderate. The rules are pretty simple, but at certain moments in the game there may be a tactical feel to it that is not a million miles from chess!
The tiles are always laid out randomly, and there is variety in play too, depending on which side you represent.