Leaping Lemmings is a humorous hobby or family game for 2-6 players. Each player controls a cloned clan of lemmings that have been specially trained to compete with the other lemming clans, all trying to scurry down a canyon and hurl themselves over a cliff. Distance and style points are important. One lemming diving with style and élan is worth as many as five of the more mundane divers. But beware the hungry eagles circling overhead or your lemmings might not even make the cliff edge!
Playtime: 30-90 minutes (15 minutes per player)
Objective: The player with the most victory points wins the game. To earn victory points, players dive their lemmings over the cliff edge and/or collect Lemming Chow Pellets.
The game board is a hex-based map representing the canyon down which up to six separate lemming clans will travel. The canyon ends with the cliff edge, which is the lemmings' ultimate goal. There are three basic types of hexes on the map:
Clear hexes, which do not protect lemmings from becoming eagle chow.
Brush hexes, which do protect lemmings from becoming eagle chow but restrict stacking and cost more movement points to enter.
Lemming Chow Pellet hexes represent possible tasty rewards for the lemmings, and can tempt them into the more dangerous clear hexes.
Each player controls 10 lemmings. You are trying to move your lemmings towards the cliff, making use of covering terrain while trying to force your opponents' lemmings into becoming eagle chow.
Each turn a movement card is revealed which will allow for 2-5 lemming movement points. Card luck is mitigated in that all players use the same card to move that turn. Only the top lemming in each stack is allowed to move, so covering your opponents' lemmings is one tactic used to slow them down. The down side of this tactic is that the eagles always snatch the top lemming of each stack when they strike. Lemmings generally move forward but are also allowed to move one hex sideways.
There are 32 Lemming Chow Pellet markers in the game, 16 of which are placed on the map during setup, and the rest may come into play via pellet resupply which happens throughout in the game. Each pellet marker is worth 0, 1, or 2 VPs.
Special Actions allow players to alter the normal rules of the game to their advantage or to their opponents' detriment. Players are dealt Special Action cards during setup. Each Special Action card may be used only once, so you need to save each one for its best use to help you towards victory. Two of the 16 different Special Actions are shown below to whet your appetite.
BOO! - One Active or Covered lemming of the Special Action Player's choice is startled by a sudden noise behind it and the Special Action Player moves this lemming two movement points forward. If this moves the lemming over the cliff, award one point to the owning clan, as the lemming was too startled to receive any points for technique.
ROCK SLIDE - The edge of the cliff collapses and all lemmings (Active, Covered, and Burrowed) currently within a cliff edge hex tumble down with the falling rocks and the owning clans are awarded only one Victory Point for each lemming.
There are two eagles in the game, each circling the board within its own color-coded hunting circle. Players take turns controlling the eagles. Hunting Eagles can attack any clear hex within their zone of control.
When a lemming dives with the exact number of movement points needed to cross over the cliff edge, it scores 1 VP. But, it's well…a pretty ordinary dive, almost like falling off by accident. If a lemming has additional movement points available when it crosses the cliff edge, it will impress the judges and earn more VPs.