Let’s get piling guys! Hope you don’t have personal space issues. If so, this game is not for you. And if your kid hates sitting on Santa’s lap, count them out, too.
Pile Pandemonium, by White Pine Games, is a card game that can accommodate up to 54 people. So yes, if you must know, I have indeed already arranged for this to be a game at my wedding (now all I need is someone to marry!). Designed for players ages 6 and up, this fast-paced game can be played in small or large or small groups. BUT as the instructions suggest, you should play with at least nine people. TBH, I second that! This is a game where the more people the merrier.
Before you play: You need a lot of chairs (one chair for every three people) and the number of players participating in the piling process must be in multiples of three, with a separate person acting as the “Caller.”
Here’s how it works: The designated “Caller” distributes a card to each person playing, then “The Mix” phases commences. Players trade cards with each other during this phase. How you want to go about trading is all up to you, the instructions don’t note how to trade, so the process is open to interpretation. But once “The Mix” is over (the “Caller” gets to decide when), the real fun begins.
Each player will look at the category on their card, which could range from fruit to cities to insects, and try to locate others with that same exact category. Unfortunately, players are not allowed to say their category aloud. Instead, players can say the designated “item word” on their card, which hints at the category. For example, if the category is vehicles, the “item word” could be cars, trains, or bus. (This is actually a fact, I’m holding the cards right now).
There will be precisely three people in the room per category. It might take a little scrambling around to locate your two other lost category wolfpups. Once the category trio unites, it’s time to pile up, or rather, sit on top of each other. Players will look on their card to see whether it says B, M, or T. B stands for Bottom; M stands for Middle; T stands for Top. Players must then sit on top of each other in that order. Therefore, the B of the group will actually sit on the seat, while the other two sit on top of one another (hopefully no one farts). Once everyone in the group of three is sitting, the trio must yell the magic words —“PILE PANDEMONIUM.” The last group to holler is eliminated. Goodbye, you slow pilers.
But don’t get too comfy, because you’ll be up on your feet again as the Caller will initiate “The Mix” phase once again. The whole process will restart and players will be swapping their cards throughout the rounds and pile up on different people. The game ends when there is only one group of three left standing.The instruction manual also offers a bunch of variations if players are looking to jazz their game play up a little.
While it does not say this in the instruction manual, as a self-proclaimed toy connoisseur, I’m going to offer my two cents. If one of the kids has a “Bottom” card, and two adults hold a a Middle and Top card, switch your card. Don’t crush a child, or a petite person with the weight of two larger people. Not sure if trading cards during this phase is against the rules, but I’m not letting Aunt Susie and Uncle Billy sit on me. I’ll ask for the top card once we assemble in our category.
All in all, it’s a pretty rapid game, and it’s all about which players can assemble and sit down the quickest. So, who’s ready to get sandwiched between Cousin Ben and Uncle Jerry?