Trash Pandas by Red Rook Games, is a press your luck style game that utilizes a great blend of dice rolling and hand management to create a unique and fun micro-sized game!
To set up Trash Pandas each player is dealt a hand of cards, but unlike most games players are dealt a different number of cards, based on their starting position, with the first player receiving two cards, the second player receiving 3 cards, and so on. To play, the active player will roll a die that depicts six different icons. The six icons and the benefits are two trees (stash two cards), two trash cans (draw two cards), one tree and one trash can (draw one card and stash one card), hand with a bag (steal a card), bandit mask (draw one card then each other players may stash a matching card, for each card stashed draw one card), recycle symbol (acts as a wild). Every time a different icon is rolled the player gains the benefit of the roll result. After each roll the player decides to either stop rolling or continue to roll, because if a player rolls the same icon they “bust” and will only receive a single card as consolation. The cards in a players hand can be used for one of two benefits. Players can either “stash” the card to collect the point value at the end of the game or play the card for their various abilities (protecting you from other players attacks, re-roll a bad roll, etc.)
The game ends when the last card is drawn, the current active player will be able to finish their turn. The scoring phase will then begin. All players set aside any remaining cards in their hands as they will not score. Next, all players will reveal their stashed cards and add up their points, the player with the highest score wins!
The game artwork is done very well, with a fun and goofy style. I also get a kick out of the card names, I feel they represent well how a Raccoon would look at the various items. I also love the games name, “trash pandas” is by far the funniest derogatory term for a raccoon there is. Besides the humor of the game, I found the game play to be very well done. It is simple enough to play with all groups of players, and while there is a good degree of strategy with how to use the cards, it also has enough luck to make it fun for less experienced players. The one rule I have not figured out is why each player starts with a different number of cards. My group was finding that whoever started first and therefore had the least cards would get last or close to last, because of this disadvantage. But, this could be do to our lack of experience and could change overtime. Overall, it is a great little filler game and we all had a lot of fun playing it. If you like games like Roll For It! or Fluxx, I suggest giving Trash Pandas a try.
P.S. Trash Pandas has been picked up by Gamewright games and will be available again later this year!
Trash Pandas Information:
Ages: 8 and up
Playtime: 15-20 minutes
Players: 2-4 players
If you would like more information on Trash Pandas, please check out their website.