The Pandas of Pilfering Pandas have had a pretty sweet gig at the zoo – lots of leisure time to lounge, no fighting with other animals for space, and a veritable buffet of bamboo. But now, these pandas have decided that freedom is the most delicious meal of all, and have hatched a plan to escape the zoo and run free! With the help of some bribable meerkats and with the zookeeper hot on their heels, the pandas had better pilfer fast so that they can make good on their escape!
We were sent a prototype for this preview, with the option to request a finished copy of the game. We weren’t otherwise compensated for this preview
Pilfering Pandas is a set collection and hand management game where your objective is to trade enough food to the meerkats to cover your movements until you can escape. It can be played competitively, cooperatively, or solo, with rules adjustments for each. Please note that, for this preview, we are focusing on the cooperative gameplay experience, but broadly-speaking, each turn you’ll begin by drafting loot cards into your hand, and then you’ll use those cards to bribe your meerkat accomplices in order to keep the zookeeper off your trail long enough to attempt their final escape.
When you draft cards, you can either take one from the face-up offer, one off the face-down deck, or multiple from the face-up offer at the cost of raising the zookeeper’s suspicion. Do that too often and you’ll regret it! Once your hand is refreshed, you’ll take as many actions as you want, building and extending sets of cards according to the requirements of the meerkats, who have preferences for specific food. The sets you place down will either need to be runs of a single suit or sets of the same value across multiple suits. There are key cards that act as wilds, but using them will also get the attention of the zookeeper, who will advance along the track in pursuit of your pandas! (Note that in the competitive game, wilds have no real down-side when you use them)
Once player’s hand is empty, the end of the game is triggered and all pandas attempt their final escape. The cards they are still carrying will count against them, but if you’ve managed to build up enough of a head-start that even after that movement you’ve not been caught, then your panda’s escape and you win!
That said, while Pilfering Pandas wasn’t a perfect fit for our taste, we definitely suggest checking out the Kickstarter for those of you who are interested in a precise, tactical card game with excellent art!