Reviews: Banana Bandits – Planet of the Apes begins with bananas

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We all know bananas as type of sweet fruit. That’s because we live in Central Europe, far from places, where they yellowish goodies really grow. In fact, bananas are there used not primarily to feed, but apes use them as firearms. In the jungle, they use them to resolve all quarrels and fights. Only those bananas, which are in the right place at the right time, survive and wander into stores to be eaten. But now the banana war came out of the jungle towards streets of our cities.

And that’s not all, because weight of civilization created gorilla gangs and these are now looking for a leader. That is main topic of new board game created by designer . Game was released in under production of .

Squared box serves as a base for construction of cardboard tower with opened windows. Following King Kong’s example, you will climb it and hang from side to side. Now cardboard figurines of gorillas have one strong stretched hand, which allows them to hang. Each player gets one such creature at the beginning (together with large token with its portrait placed in front of him). Monkey can start on any position of the tower. Game offers also tokens – gold coins placed on top of the house, while colored coins go in pockets of each starting gorilla (= in one of corners of the board) by their color. From a shuffled deck of cards, players receive five cards, remaining deck is put on the tower and game begins.

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Each player has three action points, that can be spent not only for movement. And yet, as we expect, this is foundation of everything, because without climbing a skyscraper, you can not prove anything. For each point spent, monkey can move in any of four directions and up to three windows away. It also may change directions whenever it wants.

Whenever player has other character in his neighborhood, he can attack. Here is the time for dice to speak out. Attacker first rolls six yellow dice and tries to roll as many hit symbols as possible. Then comes turn of the defender. But even him wants to see the same symbol. Player more successful in rolling is winner of this fight. Exception is, when someone rolls all six blank sides. Such an outcome means critical hit and automatic victory.

If attacker comes out short, nothing much happens. However, if attack is successful, then loser has to retreat. It takes place on the same floor, where the fight happened – monkey is trying to get as far away from his opponent as possible. It runs three fields away from vanquisher and is dropping coins in his color along the way. Each of the windows through which ape moves is equipped with one coin from player’s reserve (by sliding it there).

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These coins can then be picked up for another action point by any monkey sitting on this window during his turn. Instead, creatures also may descend all the way down to the first floor and ask for reinforcements in the form of cards. He can get up to five cards, that can be used anytime. Players can interact by using them and defend during fights. It does not cost anything to play such card and even number of their uses is not limited.

But players are not simply required to own a coin in the color of the enemy to win. These money rom other monkeys are still almost worthless. They must therefore replace them by climbing up to the roof and exchance two coins per banana dollar. Only these counts against the target of three. Now a player and a monkey, which is the first to accumulate these becomse winner and head of the gang.

Banana Bandits have a clear and unambiguous assessment. It’s a game, that gives players a new chance to rain wrath as monsters and provides them with new playground to fight. Ever since the first impression, game for some reason reminds us of popular King of Tokyo. Again, it is randomness filled deathmatch game, duel to the death, although the scene is this time not the whole city, but only one skyscraper.

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Game is crazy, dynamic and very random. Result of fights is decided by a roll of the dice, no shoveling or tactics. There is also space for positional play and some part of success lies also in equipment of players. Cards play an important role, because they provide player with chance to swap cards, more dice, action points, chance to steal from opponents or collect coins from neighboring windows. Now cards are exactly what pushes the game enough forward and gamplay is also focused on them. Its supply in your hand must be constantly replenished, although there is also clearly set upper limit, that can be held in hand.

With its concept, this game is especially dramatic and at the same time not too long. Games are less than thirty minutes long and it’s just the right amount. The game improves with larger number of players, although the rules include a variant for two with one part of the exchange office on the roof blocked. Its fun, but not as good with two.

Game system is forcing everyone to attack. Each victory rewards player with one coin. Additionally, other ape loses some, which is also good for you (if it has one). This means, that more offensive player are helping others. Just because of this, it is possible to play cautiously and wait for someone else to attack. On the other hand, attacker gets no punishment for failure, only loss of action points and opponent gets angry and he’ll want revenge in the next turn. So its double-edged sword.

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Rules are very simple, quickly learned by everyone, even beginners. This game shines the best among less demanding players. Luck here simply has too much influence for this game to be enjoyed by advanced. Comparation with King of Tokyo is quite successful. Although it is casual, but is offering according to our feeling even better theme and atmosphere. Only the conflict is not on such high level in here.

Game has amazing processing, which attracts primarily children. However, everything is not only functional, but also well theme-based. Overall impression of the game is almost absolute and within levels of crazy action game ranks easily among the top.

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Banana Bandits have potential to attract children, families and less demanding players with ease. These are three main target groups, which will be satisfied by playing this game. Although there is a lot of luck, the length of games is not excessive and it’s all really simple. Banana Bandits is shooting only bananas, but if it hits you, then you’ll have fun with it.

DesignerEdward Chan
ArtistTommy Ng
PublisherCapstone HK Ltd., Mandoo Games, Swan Panasia Co., Ltd., CMON Limited, Magic Store Srl, MS Edizioni
Year Published2016
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3 players
(3 voters)
Playing Time40
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(3 voters)
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(1 voters)
CategoryAnimals, Dice, Fighting
MechanicAction Points, Dice Rolling, Grid Movement, Take That
ExpansionBanana Bandits: SPIEL 2016 Promo Cards
FamilyAnimals: Apes / Monkeys, Food & Drink: Bananas
Primary NameBanana Bandits

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Reviews: Banana Bandits – Planet of the Apes begins with bananas
Final word
Banana Bandits have set task of offering some crazy stuff and gameplay. This time, its all starring monkeys and one skyscraper. It all looks really great and gameplay itself fortunately also does not lag behind. The only reason for rejecting game of Banana Bandits may be fighting system based purely on one roll of dice. Luckily cards add other options to affect it all. The game is generally very dynamic and entertaining. Banana Bandits will attract mainly children, who love monkeys, but also lovers of light conflicting games.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
excellent processing
simple rules
card adds tactical options
conflicting game full of fights
quick turns (not much to think about)
Cons
player can wait and use other attacks
big influence of luck
weaker with two
3.5
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