This Healthy Heart Hospital review was made after playing the game five times.
What is Healthy Heart Hospital?
Healthy Heart Hospital is a cooperative simulation game that is all about running a hospital efficiently. You and your fellow doctors must work together to turn it into a prestigious hospital.
Healthy Heart Hospital Gameplay
I’m not going to be going over all of the Healthy Heart Hospital rules here, but hopefully you will get an idea of how the game works.
Each round of the game consists of three phases: Ambulance Phase, Player Phase, and Housekeeping Phase.
During the Ambulance Phase, you will turn over two Ambulance cards and add as many random cubes to the Waiting Room as are written on the cards. Then you will draw a cube for each patient in The Wards.
There are five different colored areas representing the patients’ needs: Infectious Disease, Psychiatric, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Trauma. By default, patients only have five illness levels, so they will die if five of one colored cube has to be placed in the Waiting Room or if they ever reach level five in The Wards.
When drawing cubes for The Wards, you will be hoping to avoid drawing a cube of the same color as the current patient. If you do draw their color, their illness level worsens. Each room in The Wards will have random modifiers attached to them that can help or hinder you throughout the game.
During the Player Phase, each player has a chance to use his or her actions and abilities. These actions include curing patients, transferring patients to new rooms, adding new rooms to the hospital, hiring and assigning new staff, and researching. The new employees, new buildings, and training markers (earned by researching) all make running the hospital a bit easier.
During the Housekeeping Phase, you will put all of the used cubes back in the bag/cup and you will check to see if any of your buildings or staff give you bonuses during the phase.
Throughout the game, you will be trying to improve your prestige and money levels. These levels will be going up and down based on how well you take care of your patients. You will need to keep both levels up if you want to hire new staff and build new rooms. If you ever run out of money, everyone loses.
You will win the game if you are able to go through all of the Ambulance cards. You can also (kind of) win if you’re unable to hide a dead patient, which happens after you run out of spots in the cemetery. In both cases, you will use the chart in the rulebook to figure out what your final score means.
Check out Healthy Heart Hospital at Amazon
- The theme works very well here, which is great since this is possibly the only cooperative board game set in a hospital. You really do feel like you’re working in a busy hospital trying to take care of patients with a limited staff.
- The cube-pulling phases at the start of each round recreates the random chaos that happens in a hospital setting and it creates an ever-changing puzzle, and that puzzle is interesting and a lot of fun to try to solve with your teammates.
- I like the fact that they used cubes instead of dice or tokens. Not only do they feel better to grab than tokens, they also make it easier for players to get an idea of the odds that they have for each color.
- Healthy Heart Hospital has a ton of replay value. You will always have random patients, random abilities, random New Hires, and different combinations of hospital extensions in the game, so it’s a different challenge every time you play it. This is a game that you could still be playing years from now if you enjoy it.
- I’m always a fan of co-op games that put you in situations that seem impossible to get out of but actually are. That is exactly how a couple of my games of Healthy Heart Hospital have worked out. Not only does that create situations where players want to work harder to get out of the bad situations, it also creates those loud cheering endings that everyone loves.
- Healthy Heart Hospital is not the most attractive game to look at when it’s on the table. I don’t mind the retro-style artwork, but the colors on the board and the tokens are a bit dull. Unfortunately, I think that will be enough to keep some people from buying the game.
- If you don’t like a ton of luck in your games, chances are you’re not going to enjoy Healthy Heart Hospital too much. Your chances of winning depend pretty highly on your early cube and token draws, so you could lose even if you do everything right. I kind of like the randomness since it adds to the theme, but not everyone in my group shares my opinion on this.
On the overall, my group had a good time playing Healthy Heart Hospital. There’s a pretty good chance we wouldn’t like it as much if it had a different theme, but as it is it’s a good, challenging game with a unique theme. I do think the game needs some better artwork, but that’s not enough to keep me from playing this one again. I do have to point out, though, that twice my group switched over to Pandemic right after playing this game, so take from that what you will.
If you know that this is a theme that you’ll like, then chances are you will enjoy Healthy Heart Hospital. If you don’t like luck-based games and could take or leave the theme, then you’ll probably want to pass on this one.