Banana Party is a pretty silly new game designed by Stefan Dorra and Manfred Reindl for Queen Games kid’s line. The art and components are really great and the premise will be easy for any child to wrap their head around; knock your opponents’ monkeys out of the tree and collect bananas for your troubles.
You’ll hide your team of four monkeys in the trees on your side of the jungle and if you guess correctly on a turn, you’ll be able to shake a branch and hopefully find one of your opponent’s monkeys.
The hook of Banana Party will be the 3-D jungle that gets constructed for each game. Working as kind of a player screen the jungle gets set up with walls on stands. Players will get two walls to work with and the jungle is set up differently depending on the number of players. A two-player game is simple enough, two walls get set up beside each other with the players positioned on either side. In a three-player game the walls will form a Y with 2 walls facing each player. Finally, a four-player game will require a +-shaped construction of the jungle.
The jungle walls have five tree limbs (represented by little wooden dowels) that you can hang monkeys off. The limbs stick out of the jungle on either side of the wall and so the limb you hang your monkey off of may also secretly hold one of your opponent’s. At the start of the game, everyone sets up their monkeys on their side of the jungle, only two can be on either wall! Then starting with the last player to see a monkey (or however you want to determine a start player) the game will begin!
On a turn, players roll the dice which will either allow them to shake a certain number of limbs, put all the fallen monkeys back up in trees or gain bananas. The cool thing about shaking the limbs is that what you’re really doing is rotating the dowels always in a clockwise direction. If you correctly pick a branch with an opposing monkey they will fall to the jungle floor and you will be able to snatch 1-2 bananas from the supply. You can even rotate a limb that your monkey is on and because of the way they’re hooked in they won’t fall. Turning clockwise will only cause monkeys on the opposite side to tumble to the ground.
A die result that has a monkey face means that everyone with monkeys off the jungle wall will replace them (keeping in mind, no more than two to a wall).
The fun of this game is guessing where the other player’s have hidden their team and hearing that satisfying clunk when you’ve hit pay dirt, by turning the right branch. It’s a little like a simian-based Battleship. It’s also great to watch an unencumbered limb on your own side get turned by your opponent and have them come up empty!
The Party is going to continue until all of the 30 bananas in the supply have been claimed. Whoever has the most is the winner! It’s a fast teach and kids of all ages will be able to grasp the concept immediately. They will have fun finding the monkeys and collecting bananas. The jury is still out on whether or not this is one of those kids games that adults will love playing over and over, like Gulo Gulo or Animal Upon Animal. It is definitely fun for the first several play throughs and the 3-D jungle is a very cool concept. I’m just not sure if it will have the staying power of some other kids game classics. Time will tell! Meanwhile, if you have kids they will delight in this simple, silly party!
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