Overview: Hecho — Spanish for “Made” — is a fast-paced, everyone-plays-at-once card game. Players use material cards to build any of the six available projects on the table, and then collect new materials from the scrapyard pile in the middle. Projects that require more materials are worth more points—when one stack of projects is exhausted, the game ends and the highest score wins.
Players: 2 to 6 players
Ages: 8 and up
Playing Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Rating: Excelente, as Dora would say.
Who Will Like It? Anyone who wants a light, fun, somewhat-chaotic game may enjoy Hecho—for hardcore gamers it won’t be as satisfying but could make a good filler between longer titles. Also, I imagine if you’re trying to teach Spanish this would be a fun supplement.
Hecho is based on construction—the players are all contractors building projects. All the text on the cards is in Spanish: you can build a hacienda or apartamento or biblioteca, using materials like madera, ladrillo, and cemento. Although there is some amount of logic to what types of materials are used to build each structure, the game moves so quickly that I didn’t really absorb most of this while playing. So although it’s construction-themed, the game is abstract enough that it doesn’t really feel like you’re building things.
36 Project cards, 110 Material cards. The Material cards are regular sized, and Project cards are double-sized. The cards are a nice quality — the Material cards are pretty simple, with a large number and color-coded according to the material. The Project cards have photo-illustrations of buildings with the Spanish name underneath, and on the top and bottom edges there’s a grid showing the materials needed to build each one. Visually, it’s nothing spectacular but not bad, either. Rules are provided in both English and Spanish. My one complaint about the components is that the box is larger than necessary — but that’s my pet peeve.
The Project cards are divided into six piles and placed around the table, and the Material cards are shuffled and piled in a heap in the middle to form the scrapyard. Each player starts with six Material cards. When everyone is ready, the top six Projects are revealed and play begins.
To build any Project, you must have at least the number of each material shown on the card — for example, the Plaza requires 6 ladrillo and 4 cemento — if you have at least that much of each, you can build it. You shout “¡Hecho!” and claim the Project, setting your necessary materials and it aside. The player who built the Project draws two cards from the scrapyard, everyone else draws one, and play continues.
You can trade with other players, but the restriction is that you cannot say what Material you are offering — only the number. Players are free to counter-offer with a lower number, and then you just swap cards. Of course, while you’re trading, other people are busy trying to build things, so you have to act quickly.
There are a few special cards as well. Specialists allow you to use a Material as something else—for instance, the Carpintero card allows you to substitute madera (wood) for any other material you need. There are also some Wild cards which can be used as any material.
The game ends when one of the stacks of Projects runs out, and then everyone adds up the points on all the Projects in their hands.
When I first heard how the game worked I wasn’t really impressed, and I didn’t think it would amount to much. However, after playing it a few times, I had to admit that it’s pretty fun. The chaotic nature of the game means that you’re scrambling the whole time.
We did find, though, that after the first few rounds we weren’t trading as much anymore. Quite often you’re still scanning the six available projects when something gets built and you get to draw another card; unless you have an overabundance of one material it’s often hard to think about trading while you’re still checking to see if you have enough to build something. I’m not sure what I think about the restriction on not saying the material name — it makes for awkward trading and may be part of the reason we didn’t trade very much.
Also, Hecho was pitched to me as a game that will sneakily teach you Spanish as you play. I’m a little less convinced on that note for a couple reasons. First, since you’re not allowed to say the names of the materials as you trade them, the only thing you’re really saying is numbers and “Hecho.” But even if you did read all the cards, all you’re learning is names of buildings and construction materials, which hardly qualifies as “learning Spanish.” Still, I could see this used in a Spanish class where the teacher could add a few house rules: you must speak in Spanish only while playing, saying numbers in Spanish and announcing what you’ve built, etc. And also, while we were playing my six-year-old asked me how to say “I want” in Spanish, and then announced “Yo quiero cemento.” Which was cute, but not actually allowed in the game.
The final verdict: Hecho is a fun, quick game which you’ll probably want to play a couple rounds at a time. There’s not really very deep strategy involved but that doesn’t mean hardcore gamers won’t enjoy it; it’ll just be more of an appetizer rather than the main course. But for casual gamers, this is a good one to pull out at a game night.
Wired: Fun, chaotic gameplay in a quick bite-sized card game.
Tired: Trading rules are a little weird; won’t prepare you for a trip to Mexico.
Disclosure: Sandstorm LLC provided a review copy of the game.