I will take all the totems and you can keep the all the skeletons...

7/10, Dueling Game, Hand Management, Take That -

I will take all the totems and you can keep the all the skeletons...

Totem Hoarder

Designer: Lenart Slabe, Oskar Slabe
Artist: Lenart Slabe
Published: 2023
Players: 2
Playing Time: 20-30 Mins
BGG Rating: 7.8
BGG Ranking:
Publisher: Totem Hoarder Games
Mechanisms: Hand Management, Duel Game, Take That
Sleeves: TCG 63,5x88mm


Game Description:

In Totem Hoarder two players assume the roles of rival archeologists and artifact collectors, racing to get magical totems. Assemble a dream team of creatures, set up devastating combos, collect three totems and rule SUPREME!


Quick play overview:

Players take turns trying to collect 3 totems (and 0 skellys) in their team (maximum 15 creatures or totems can be in your team at the same time) to win the game… or if they really want to lose, they can try to collect 4 skellys.

As a first action, you can draw a card (if you have less than 6 cards) or pick up a creature from your team into your hand (if your team is smaller than your opponent's).

As a second and main action, you can play a creature or totem from your hand into your team activating it's action and actions from other creatures that trigger when specific creatures enter the game.

If it was that simple, the game would be too boring.. so here come the dreadful skelly cards to ruin the opponent's fun. Skellys are the only cards that can be played on an opponent's turn to:

  1. Stop the actions and triggers from enemy creatures
  2. Or even worse.. stop the actions and steal the just played enemy totem
  3. Cancel the cancel effect of the just played enemy skelly (this can go back and forth until one player runs out of room in their team, runs out of skelly cards, decides to stop or forgets that this will be the 4th skelly in his team and loses the game.

If you don't have space (or you want as a tactical decision) you can instead do the clean up action where you have to remove one of each creature. This way you will make space for next turns as well as get rid of one skelly.

By playing creatures (and totems) you will trigger actions like draw more cards, attack enemy creatures/totems (an attacked creature is discarded while an attacked totem joins your team), steal enemy creatures/totems, bounce creatures into your hand, stealing cards from opponent's hands.. all the nice things you would expect from such a game.

Once a player sneaks a 3rd totem into his team and there is no skelly there.. he wins the game right away.


Final thoughts:

I'm always looking for quick 2 player games that bring some laughs to the table. This one does that .. if you don't hate take-that mechanism. If you do, you would better stay away as skelly will ruin many plans that you will have and can cause some serious butthurt-ery.

I was playing with players that had a great time and players that will never play it again.. but I had a great time in both cases.



Gameplay & How often I want to play it: 7/10

Gameplay is quick and tense. Your plans will get ruined but so will your opponent's.

I do intend to play this game as a finish of a 2P gamenight.


Art & Graphic Design: 9/10

Skellys do look a bit off but the rest has amazing art.

Graphic design is very clean and the icons are easy to understand and to use.


Rules & Complexity: 9/10

Rules are simple to learn and not in the way of gameplay.

There is plenty of interesting choice each turn.. from when to play totems, to when to attack or bounce…


Theme & Mechanism fit: 6/10

Archeologists recruiting different creatures to search for totems is a strange theme.

On the other hand the creatures attacking and stealing stuff to find the best totems is an OK mechanism.


Fun & Replayability: 8/10

The bouncing, attacking and other interactions with opponents creatures is fun. Making combos that allow you to do even more of these actions is great.

The replayability doesn't come from a discovery point.. but rather from a fun back and forth between players. If the players enjoy this type of game, there is plenty of plays that can be done before you get bored of the game.


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