Have you ever fancied yourself as a treasure hunter? Dashing through unknown places in search of great treasure? Avoiding traps and fearsome opponents? It’s a nice fantasy and a good premise for a game, but the treasure in Pingo Pingo is protected by a clan of penguins. Spear wielding, Polar bear riding penguins. Oh, and there’s traps too, and space penguins and other treasure hunters looking to steal your treasure!
Pingo Pingo is a frantic game made in 2015 by IELLO Games. It’s all about players trying to steal as much treasure, in 15 minutes, as possible. All while staying alive by fighting off hordes of penguins and avoiding traps.
For the TL;DR version click here
Opening the box
Specs on the box
6+ (the target players are the kids but if you’re willing to move around a bit, older players can have fun too)
The box contains a plastic gun, which looks like an old pistol from the days of yester year. It’s light and easy to use; I’ve had a 6 year old cock it with no problems. There are 10 rubber suction bullets to go with it and a stack of targets.
There’s also 2 decks of cards, the 1st deck contains treasures and events while the 2nd is use to track life totals. Aside from the rules the last thing in the box is a CD. The game has an audio track which acts as a clock so each game will last a maximum of 15 minutes.
I think I covered the theme already… but to recap. Each player is trying to seal treasure from an island populated with warrior penguins. The treasure is protected by not just the penguins but also by some nasty traps. If that’s not enough, the players need to watch out for each other, as they try to steal each other’s loot!
The soundtrack does a pretty good job of setting the scene for the game and with its day/night cycles, it changes up the pace as everyone is racing against the clock.
Setup is simple. The 5 stands with targets on them need to be setup around the room about 2m from the play area, You can group most of them together just as long as the 2 halves of the rope bridge are as far apart as you can get them.
Place the guns and bullets in easy reach of all the players. Divide the treasure cards between all of the players, so that each has a face down deck of cards, and the give each player 7 life cards with the heart side facing up. If a player were to lose a life then they must flip 1 of the cards over to have the skull side face up.
Fire up the CD, or the downloadable MP3, and you are ready to go.
The music starts with the sound of someone in a small rowboat heading ashore. Once the drums kick in the games begins. Starting with the first player, each player will flip a card from their deck face up into the centre of the table. If it is a treasure then the first player to touch it can claim it.
If the treasure has a trap on it, you will see a poisonous spider or something on it, then that player will take 1 point of damage. A card might instead show a camp site, this represents the player’s hidden stashes of treasure. The player who claims the camp gets to steal up to 2 treasure cards from up to 2 different players; again, the campsite might be trapped so look sharp.
On top of that each of these cards has a day and a night version which can only be claimed during the right time. The daytime cards can be claimed while the upbeat daytime music is being played, the night time cards when the slower night time music is played. Touching a card at the wrong time results in damage and you don’t get to keep the card either!
Sometimes you will flip over a orange bordered event cards. Most of these are some form of challenge. Defeat the polar bear riding penguin! To do this you will grab the gun and try to shoot the stand with the image of the polar bear on it. If you hear the words Pingo Pingo on the sound track then you took too long and have to lose a life instead.
Other events include crossing the broken bridge; here you have to touch both sides of the bridge and return to your seat before you hear the Pingo Pingo cry. There is 1 positive event though, a healer, if you claim him and don’t have full health you will heal 1 point of health. If you do have full heath though, you lose 1 point of health.
You are only allowed to carry 3 treasures per health point that you have, so you need to be careful. When the 15 minutes are up, you count up the treasures and the person with the most is the winner!
Pingo Pingo is a game that’s clearly aimed at younger kids. If you’re of the type that likes to run around and play physical games with your kids then you might enjoy it too. I know I had a good few laughs sliding around the lounge in my flip flops. It will also appeal to groups that enjoy party games and dexterity games.
There’s more dexterity than strategy, speed and co-ordination is the order of the day. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea and not everyone will have the space to play it properly. I do like it though and if my kids were younger I’d seriously look at picking up a copy.
Can I play this at a braai?
Nope, sorry, the game is timed. Unless you want to risk kicking over the braai stand I’d rather stay put at the fire and watch the antics ensue.
Thanks to Boardgames.co.za for the review copy of Pingo Pingo.