Panda in costume

Do you have twenty minutes to spare? Do you want to play a simple game where you have to lose points to win? And while you are it, have goofy looking pandas in costume entertain you?

Yes, I know it sounds crazy. But, that’s exactly what Panda Head by R & R Games is all about — lots of laughs and unadulterated fun! Just right for kids ages 7 and up, this card game can be  played between two to five players and cherished as quality family time on the go.

Panda Head is a card game with 63 Panda cards. Each card has a Panda drawn in hilarious poses wearing different costumes. So, you’ll see a Panda traffic policeman, a Panda dressed like a caveman, a Panda scarecrow, a Panda turkey (it’s going to be one fat Turkey), a Panda rock star, a Panda fairy, and a lot more Panda avatars. All in all, you’ll have 55 such regular cards (if you want to call them regular) numbered from one though 11.

Panda cardsYou will also have four Big Panda cards, which feature a (super tight) close up of the Panda’s face and four Bamboo Cards, with the Panda poking his head out of a bamboo forest. The artwork on each of the cards is entertaining and the pack of cards itself is great paper quality.

The objective of Panda Head is to get rid of your high-numbered cards cause the and lose points in order to win the game. Make sure that you never ever cross 21 points cause that means you’ve got Pooped and you have to exit the game. The game also challenges players to never win the seventh (or last) round of each pile.

Now let’s get started! Shuffle the cards so that the Pandas are arranged at random. The game will now proceed clockwise, but will begin with the player that has most in common with a Panda—maximum blotches of black and white. This player will deal seven cards and place the other cards in a deck.

The player to the left of the first one will put one of his/her cards face-up in the middle of the table. Now, the next player must place either a card equal to or higher than the highest Panda played so far, or play the lowest Panda card. Once each player has played, one Panda Pile is complete. The winner is the player who played the highest Panda card. In case there is a tie, the player who played the highest Panda card last is the winner. These cards can now be set aside and players can start building the next pile.

Scoring however, is tad bit tricky in this game. The first six Panda Piles don’t matter to the score, but the last Panda Pile or the seventh round is the one that counts. The player who wins the last round wins points equal to the number of the Panda card they put forward. That is why it’s important to get rid of all the high-numbered Pandas as soon as possible.

There could however be a tie in the last round. Again, use the old rule. The last player to play the highest Panda card will be the winner. But, other players will get negative points equal to that Panda card number. No player is however allowed to get points less than zero.

If you stumble upon the Big Panda card while starting a Panda Pile, replace the Big Panda card with the top card from the deck. If you unravel a Big Panda or Bamboo card again, pick up another card from the deck. But, in all other scenarios the Big Panda counts as one point higher than the highest Panda card played in the pile. So, that slightly creepy looking Panda, staring at you could bring good luck!

The Bamboo card, on the other hand means 2 bonus points on top of the number of a Panda card played. Naturally, you have to play the Bamboo card with another regular Panda card, and replace a card from the deck. You cannot however play a lone Bamboo card. If you are left with just one Bamboo card replace it with the top card from the deck.

Continue playing the game until one or more of the players topple above the 21-point limit. That means they have become Pooped, earned the title of a Drowsy Panda, and are out. The player who never gets pooped and remains standing till the very end is declared the winner.

Panda Head is a crazy game, full of atypical rules, and unexpected twists and turns. The winner in this game is likely to be a surprise. So forget about strategy, just play the game for the fun of it, and pray you never get Pooped! Whether you win or lose, in the end you’ll surely win fun times with your family.