Jugging the Hare

The hare square has always featured a randomising element in keeping with the traditional madcap character of the hare. The mechanics of "Jugging the Hare" vary from edition to edition for reasons explained below, but in all cases (except for Ravensburger 1978 and its spin-offs) landing on a hare square is a more favourable bet for players lagging behind than for those racing ahead. In pre-2008 editions of the game the mechanics of "Jugging the Hare" are as follows:
Intellect 1974, Waddingtons 1980
Intellect Waddingtons
In these earliest versions you randomly draw one of six numbered cards and follow the instruction appropriate to the number it shows and your current position in the race, as per the following chart:
1 Miss a turn Miss a turn Miss a turn Miss a turn Miss a turn Miss a turn
2 Move back to previous vacant carrot square Move back to previous vacant carrot square Move back to previous vacant carrot square Move forward to next vacant carrot square Move forward to next vacant carrot square Move forward to next vacant carrot square
3 Drop back one position Drop back one position Move up one position Move up one position Move up one position Move up one position
4 Chew a carrot Chew a lettuce Chew a lettuce Chew a lettuce Chew a lettuce Chew a lettuce
5 Your last turn free of charge Your last turn free of charge Your last turn free of charge Your last turn free of charge Your last turn free of charge Your last turn free of charge
6 Play again Play again Play again Play again Play again Play again
Ravensburger 1979
Ravensburger 79
For reasons that I can't remember, Ravensburger wanted to replace the table of eventualities dependent on your position in the race for a set of cards with universally applicable instructions. You therefore merely drew a card, did what it said, and returned the card to the bottom of the pack. There were 12 cards altogether, namely:
Fall back one position (x2)
Your last turn costs nothing (x2)
Either draw or discard 10 carrots (x2)
Leap ahead by one position (1)
Leap ahead to the next carroit square (1)
Fall back to the previous carrot square (1)
Have another turn (1)
Miss a turn (1)
Chew a lettuce (1)
There was no provision for shuffling these cards, so if there was a lot of hare-jugging those with good memories would eventually know what came next.
Gibsons 1986, Abacus/Rio Grande 2000
Gibsons Abacus
Back to first principles, with eventualities related to your position in the race, but instead of drawing a card with a number from one to six you roll a die, add the number you get to your current position, and follow the instruction associated with their sum:
 2  Move back to the last vacant hare square (if any).
 3  Miss a turn.
 4  Move back to the last vacant carrot square (if any).
 5  Chew a carrot. (Draw 10 out or pay 10 in).
 6  Restore your carrot holding to exactly 65. (If you have more, pay in; otherwise draw out.)
 7  Free turn. (Reclaim carrots paid to reach this Hare square.)
 8  Lose exactly half your carrots. (If there's an odd one, keep it.)
 9  Have another turn.
10  Move forward (free) to the next vacant carrot square (if any).
11  Chew a lettuce. (If you have any lettuces, treat this hare square exactly as if it were a lettuce square.)
12  Restore your carrot holding to exactly 65.
Ravensburger 2008, Gibsons 2010
Ravensburger 2008 Gibson 2010
When Ravensburger decided to republish the game I found a way of keeping to the "Do as it says on the card" system but reworded in such a way that some varied according to your position in the race. I also did away with such manifestly unfair instructions as move backwards or forwards one position - unfair because they couold adversely affect other players' carefully planned strategies. There were now 15 cards, as follows:
Give 10 carrots to each player behind you in the race (x2)
If there are more players in front of you thane behind, play again; if not, miss a turn (x2)
Your last turn was free (x2)
Lose half your carrots (x2)
Restore your carrot holding to exactly 65 (x2)
Draw 10 carrots for each lettuce you still hold. If none, miss a turn (x2)
Reveal your carrot holding to everyone else (x2)
Shuffle the hare cards and receive 1 carrot from each player for doing so (1)
The same system is followed in Gibson 2010.
Devir Iberia, 2014
For the Devir Iberia edition (2014), the publisher asked me to devise yet another system of jugging the hare, on the grounds that the cards wouldn't be big enough to contain written instructions in three different languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan). So instead of words I've done it entirely in numbers, as follows. There are 15 well-shuffled hare cards lying face down in a pile. When you land on a hare square you take the top card from the pile. If it says "+10" you draw 10 carrots from the carrot patch. If it says "-10" you pay 10 into the carrot patch. There are seven plus cards (5, 10, 10, 15, 20, 20 and 25) and seven corresponding minus cards. The 15th card is "0". When you get this, you neither win nor lose any carrots, but must shuffle the 15 hare cards and stack them face down in a pile again, thus preventing players from remembering a sequence.
Why jugging the hare has changed
Jugging the hare is the only randomising element in what is essentially a game of skill. I introduced it in the original game because I wanted to cater for players who like to take a chance and enjoy dice-rolling. (I don't; in fact, I always avoid hare squares when playing the game myself.) It seemed appropriate to associate randomness with the hare square because of the creature's folkloric reputation for madness: witness "mad as a march hare" and the hare prominent in Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter's Tea-Party. At the same time, I wanted the process to favour tortoises (players behind in the race) over the hares ahead of them. So I introduced the die and the chart shown above, in which the combination of a higher random number with a more backward position produced the most favourable result. Incidentally, it was because my prototype involved shaking a die in a container that I was reminded of the dish called "jugged hare", which is simply hare stewed or boiled in a jug or jar. Hence jugging the hare.
Intellect Games, the original publisher, changed rolling a die to drawing one of six numbered cards, as they thought it demeaning to include a die in the novel concept of a diceless race game. Waddingtons followed suit.
Ravensburger went further and abolished the die completely. Instead, they simply got you to draw a hare card and obey the instruction printed on it. Unfortunately the instructions did not vary according to your position in the race, thus effectively thwarting my intention to favour tortoises over hares.
When Gibson Games published a new version in 1986 I prevailed upon them to follow my original die-rolling intention. But I did away with the cumbersome method of reading the instruction off a 6x6 grid by simply adding the number to your position in the race and ascribing a particular outcome to the result from 2 to 12. Abacus/Rio Grande followed suit in 2000.
In 2008 Ravensburger published their newest edition. Bearing in mind their aversion to dice-rolling, I reverted to their original idea of drawing a card with a printed instruction. Now, however, I succeed in combining the two ideas by devising instructions that inherently succeed in favouring tortoises over hares. And when Gibsons returned to the fold in 2010 they employed the same system, which may now be regarded as definitive.
Apart from the mechanics of jugging, the instructions themselves have also varied. I now deprecate those early instructions that either give the jugger too great an advantage (notably "Chew a lettuce"), or adversely affect another player (such as "Move forwards one position"). If I'm playing a carefully calculated game without landing on hare squares, why should my strategy be spoilt by those who prefer to be partly governed by random events? The latest, if I have got the balance right, produce a minimal effect on other players.
New thoughts on jugging the hare
If I were inventing the game from scratch again I would do away with randomised events and apply a completely different treatment to hare squares. Here are some suggestions that you might like to try for yourself.
One that I particularly like goes as follows: When you land on a hare square, nothing special happens. But when you move away from one, the cost of moving changes to a flat 5 carrots per step forwards. Now see what happens:
It now costs more to move forwards from a hare square up to a distance of 9 squares, when it becomes equal, after which the cost of moving becomes significantly cheaper. In other words, land on a hare square only if you're intending to make a great leap forwards - which seems appropriate, I think.
Some players have suggested not doing anything at all on a hare square - just treat it like the "Free Parking" corner in Monopoly. But here's a perhaps more interesting version of the same thing: When you land on a hare square, you "turn over and go to sleep". That is, you turn your token upside down, on your next go turn it face up but don't move, and only on the turn after that can you move away. This neatly reproduces the Aesopian feature of the hare's taking a nap. However, if while you are napping another player overtakes you, in either direction (including backwards to a tortoise square) this immediately wakes you up. As soon as you are overtaken, you can turn your token right way up (out of turn) and then move away again on your next turn as if nothing had happened.
If you have any other ideas, do write and let me know!