Paku Paku and Pass the Panda Review – Everyone and their Grandmother Games
Hey folks! I’m back again with a couple of board game reviews! First, a joke. What goes Black, White, Black, White, Black, White? A panda rolling down a hill. Today, we’re looking at Paku Paku and Pass the Pandas. Both are dice games about pandas, and both are pretty quick to play.
*Roar in the distance can be heard.
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- Designer: Antione Bauza
- Publisher: Ravensburger
- Players: 2-8 Players
- Age: 8+
- Time to play: 10 Minutes
Paku Paku is a real time dice game with a hint of dexterity game designed by Antione Bauza. He’s the designer that’s behind 7 Wonders, Hanabi, and Takenoko. Paku Paku is a game for 2-8 players and plays in about 20 minutes. The first player to 10 points loses, and the player with the least amount of points is the winner.
The game comes in a small box and contains 40 penalty point tokens, 24 pieces of table ware, 5 wooden dice, a table mat, and instructions.
To set up, place the table mat in the center of the table and in reach of all players. This is important when we go over how to play the game. Place the tableware around the table mat and vary what’s in reach. Next, distribute the dice as evenly as possible. At higher player counts, a player may start the game with no dice in front of them.
When you’re ready to start, do a count-down. 3, 2, 1. Go! Being a real time game, everyone is rolling the dice in front of them at the same time.
The dice each have 4 different facings. If you roll a 1 or a 2 during this part, you ignore them and roll them again. If you roll a green panda symbol, you pass that dice to the player to your left. If you roll a red dish symbol, you have to stack a dish in the center of the table mat. Everyone keeps this up until one of two things happens.
Depending on player count, if a player gets a predetermined amount of dice in front of them, or if a player knocks over the stack of dishes. At that point, players will yell “Paku stop!” and it goes to scoring. If playing in a 2 to 3 player game, the round ends if a single player gets all five dice in front of them. If playing in a 4 to 5 player game, the round ends if a player gets 4 dice in front of them. Finally, if playing in a 5 to 6 player game, the round ends if a player gets 3 dice in front of them.
The player that caused the round to end, now rolls all the dice in front of them. This is where the 1 and 2 sides on the dice come into play. A player will earn penalty points when they roll these when scoring. If the player doesn’t roll any of the numbers when scoring, they luck out. The game continues until one player has earned a total of 10 penalty points. Then the game is over, and the player with the fewest points is the winner!
What do I think of the game? This is a fast paced, real time, dice and dexterity game. I love how easy the game is to teach and how chaotic the game is with everyone rolling at the same time. If you’ve read my other reviews, you know I’m a fan of dice games, real time dice games, and dexterity games. The first time we played this, it was a bit slower than I was expecting it. Then, we realized if you’re stacking the dishes, the other players are trying to pass their dice to you as fast as possible. There were a couple of rounds where someone was trying not to knock over the stack of dishes, and instead ended up getting more dice to end the round. The other thing my group started to do, and I couldn’t find this in the rules to not allow it, was starting to stack the dishes upside down. When you go to stack the dishes, and you now have a smaller flat service followed by curves, it makes it extremely difficult. The components are nice. I like the feel and chunkiness of the wooden dice. Then the dishes are plastic and feel good when you’re stacking them. Rounds go by fast. Then, sometimes players don’t accumulate penalty points. The ease of play, quickness of rounds, and chaotic nature of the game makes this one I really enjoy. It’s a nice filler game. I recommend this to anyone that likes chaotic, real time games.
*Roar coming closer.
Up next, we have a dice game called Pass the Pandas.
*Roar getting even closer.
Pass the Panda is a dice game designed by Ken Gruhl and Quentin Weir.
*Roar followed by fire and burnination.
It seems that I no longer have Pass the Pandas. Instead, we’ll be reviewing Dracarys Dice Don’t Get Burned!
- Designer: Ken Gruhl and Quentin Weir
- Publisher: Ultra PRO
- Players: 2-5 Players
- Age: 10+ but I can see this being as young as 8+
- Time to play: 10 Minutes
So, little know fact. Dragons are the panda’s natural enemy. A dragon can hear the panda munching on bamboo up to 5 miles away and the dragons go into hunting mode. So, with Paku Paku, I’m sure this dragon heard us. So, instead of Pass the Pandas, we’re looking at the same game except with dragons.
Dracarys Dice is a dice game that’s played in turns. It’s a game for 2 to 5 players, and it is designed by Ken Gruhl and Quentin Weir. These two designers has also worked on Funky Chicken, Happy Salmon, and Monster Match together. In Pass the Panda and Dracarys Dice the goal is to get rid of your dice.
The game is a small box game. It comes with 20 dice and instructions. That’s all that’s in the box.
To set up the game, determine the number of players. In a 2 to 3 player game, each player gets 6 dice. In a 4 player game, each player gets 5 dice. In a 5 player game, each player gets 4 dice.
Now it’s time to start the game. The first player rolls their dice, then resolves what they have rolled.
If you rolled a blank, that die stays in front of you.
If you rolled a yellow knight, you put this back in the box.
If you rolled a dragon, you give that die to another player.
If you roll a fireball, that goes into the center fireball pool.
It’s the next players turn. They follow the same rules, except if their roll doesn’t include a fireball, then they have to take all the dice in the fireball pool. If they rolled a fireball, then they just add to the pool.
Play continues until a player has gotten rid of all their dice. That player is the winner.
So, this is a simple game. It’s a reskinned version of Pass the Pandas. In that game, the Panda replaces the dragon, the water drop replaces the knight, and the bamboo replaces the fireball. The are the same game, just different themes. This is easy to explain, and easy to play. It’s so easy, that the only choices you have during the game is who to give your die to when you roll a dragon. I didn’t care too much for this game. I like dice games, but this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me. The other dice games I like have some push your luck or other aspects of the game. This is just roll and resolve. When I look for games, I like ones that are engaging and fun, and has some choices. With that, this is a game I would pass on.
So there you have it, two reviews. Both with pandas. The dracarys dice game, the panda is just in the dragon’s stomach. One I recommend, Paku Paku, the other I’d say pass.