The top banana in the city’s simian crime organization has decided to split. His retirement means there’s a vacancy as the Big Boss. In Banana Bandits, you face off with the other top Lieutenants to see how high your ambition (and climbing skills) will take you.
In the new title from CMON and Mandoo Games, up to four players vie to become the new Big Boss. The game board is a unique, 3D building with a lot of hand holds. Your Gorilla scales the side of the building while doing battle with the other primates. The first player to acquire three Banana coins takes control of the business and wins the game.
In your quest to become Big Boss, you’ll start off with a hand of cards and a supply of your own Gorilla coins. Each turn, you have three action points to spend. They can be spread out over three different actions, or you may perform the same one three times. You move around the building, fight other Gorillas, which forces them to drop coins, collect those coins, or draw cards.
Attacking an opponent is the real fun part of the game. You set your sites on a Gorilla in an adjacent window, or one on the opposite side of the building, and let fly with the six attack dice. Your opponent gets a chance to defend themselves with the same set of dice. The player that comes up with the most successes, wins that encounter. Now, that’s pretty simple and straight forward (even an ape could figure it out), but cards can be played by both the attacker and defender that can change the outcome of a fight. For example, a Banana Power card can be used by either player. It will add up to two dice to your dice pool, increasing the odds of scoring a hit. The Avoid Attack card can be played by the defender to avoid combat. And the Reroll All Dice card, well, that’s pretty self-explanatory.
If the attacker is successful in laying the smack down on their opponent, that Gorilla is pushed three spaces (or as far as they can go). They must leave one of their Gorilla coins behind in each window that they pass in this fashion. Leaving behind a trail of coins is not only an indication that you got socked in the face, it also gives your opponents a chance to collect those coins. This is important, because when you reach the top of the building, you can exchange two Gorilla coins for one Banana coin (the ape mafia’s economic structure is a complicated system). The first player who is able to acquire three Banana coins gets the job as the Big Boss.
Cards aren’t just useful during combat. You can play cards to allow you to collect coins from adjacent windows, gain extra actions on a turn, or even swap Gorilla coins with another player. You start off with a hand of five cards, but you’ll burn through those pretty quick. You have to spend an action if you want to refill back up to five.
Banana Bandits is a visual delight. The art on the cards is fun and evocative, the Gorilla goons are hilarious, but it’s the 3D building playing surface that is the real eye-catcher. The building sets up in seconds and immediately challenges players to start thinking in a more abstract way. Battles can occur in any direction, so you really have to consider what the outcome may be when you rear back to slug someone. The addition of this super cool component takes Banana Bandits to the next level!
Banana Bandits is a game that can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone. The rules are simple to grasp and a lot of fun. Just when you think you’re getting close to a Banana coin, you’re sucker punched and have to work your way back into position. There is a lot of competition amongst these Gorillas, and you need some cunning gameplay and a little luck if you’re going to come out on top! Pick up Banana Bandits in your FLGS on July 28.
Learn more about Banana Bandits here.
This article was originally published in GTM Magazine. Learn more here.