The quality of healthcare at the hospital has gone down recently however patients are still coming. The doctors have had enough and have decided they can run the hospital better. In the 2-5 player CO-OP game Healthy Heart Hospital players will try and run the hospital and treat the patients all the while making sure the hospital is making money. Sparkworks and Tabletop Tycoon have released the 3rd edition of Healthy Heart Hospital designed by Scott Nelson, Anna-Marie Nelson.
This is the 3rd version of this game to be published. The original 2015 version was looking a little dated and the new revamped 3rd edition puts the them forward in a style that meets the tongue and cheek play of the game. There are definite nods to TV characters from hospital sitcoms. We all know that looks are not everything when it comes to games. Sometimes the games that look the least polished are great games. The new version also includes elements from the 2020 Nurses expansion.
When the game board is setup players will notice that its divided into roughly 3 sections the wards, the administrative area and the cemetery. Yea you read that right the cemetery, it's a full service hospital. The game will take place over 6 turns and players will work together to heal the patients and try not to let them die. If patients do die then players need to find places to put the bodies. That cemetery is only so big. Players must be careful if a patient dies it costs the hospital money. Every turn more patients arrive at the hospital seeking treatment.
Each player gets a doctor card with some special abilities and depending on player count they will get a number of action tokens to track how many actions they have taken each turn. One of the Doctors is Doctor Lucky, I like to think that this is a nod to the cheapass game from 1996. On a players turn they can heal patients or transfer patients from the waiting room to a ward or from the ward to a specialty room. Each turn players decide on what room they want to add to the hospital. The rooms all confer a benefit to the hospital.
If patients do die then players need to find places to put the bodies.
There is an administrator card that is controlled by a different player each turn and just like the doctors has some special abilities and action tokens. Administrators can hire staff to give the hospital a one time or on-going bonus, do research to do a large variety of improvements and training for the hospital or they can preform their special abilities. The doctors are flipped over when they preform their special abilities usually so timing is everything.
This is where there can be some mass carnage for the hospital.
After the players have exhausted all of the doctor and administrator actions then its the patient phase of the game. This is where there can be some mass carnage for the hospital. All the patients in the critical side of treatment rooms die and all patients in the ER. Ouch. Players also decide on adding a new room to the hospital at this point. All the cubes are then added back into the bag and 6 are drawn out and placed in the waiting room. If players do not have enough space in the waiting room that patient dies (represented by 5 cubes). The next part is visiting each ward. Players will check to see how or if the ward ability (random tiles at the top of each ward) applies. Then a player will draw one cube per patient in the ward if the color matches then the patient gets one level sicker. If you get to 5 they are dead. After all the patients are checked flip the used doctor and admin tokens over and start the next turn. After turn one there are new hires available and the 2 for each turn get flipped at this part of the game.
Healthy Heart Hospital is a tongue in cheek dive into a capitalist hospital. The game is fairly easy to win but there are 7 variants in the back of the instructions to vary play a bit. If you have enjoyed any hospital dramas or sitcoms you will appreciate where this game is. The solo variant of the game is just to play 2 or more doctors by yourself. The game has a lot of variety in it however I do wish the room cards and doctors had a little more variety. All in all the mechanics work well and the game is fun to play It plays consistently under an hour or at about an hour on the first play. I had to reference the rule book a bunch to reference all the actions (a better player aid would be awesome).
Year Published: 2023
Recommended Ages: 14+
Time to Play: 45 minutes
A copy of Healthy Heart Hospital was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games by Tabletop Tycoon for this review.