Banana Bandits Review

man in gray suit jacket holding yellow banana fruit while making face

Hey folks, I’m back again with another game. Today we’re trying to collect coins to trade in for bananas. We’re climbing a building, chasing other players, and monkeying around. This is a 3D board where players climb around the building, collecting other players coins, and trying to get three banana coins. Well, I can see where bananas come in, but where do bandits come in? The story behind the game is that we’re part of a monkey gang. Our boss is about to retire, and wants to make sure the ape taking over is the best. So, we’re all vying for the role. This game is made by CMON games and is for 2-4 players. This is a grid movement game with elements of Take That and Action Point system.

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The game comes with 40 cards, 11 gorilla coins for each color, 10 golden banana coins, 8 dice, 4 gorilla game pieces, 4 matching gorilla player tokens, and 1 banana bank tower board. The tower board is in two pieces.

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To set up, each player picks their gorilla game piece and matching token. Each gorilla has their own gorilla coins in one corner of the box. Everyone starts with one of their own coins. Next, assemble the tower. The tower is in two pieces. The sides of the tower is one piece that folds into itself. Then the sides slide into groves in the box. Once in place, the roof is placed on top. Shuffle the deck of cards. Deal 6 to the starting player and 5 to the other players. The deck should then be placed so all players have access to it. Now, the golden banana coins go on top of the roof. The starting payer picks a window to hang his gorilla game piece. Then going clockwise, the rest of the players pick a window to start in. Now we’re ready to monkey around.

Each player has 3 action points to spend a turn. You can’t bank them and use them for a later turn, so you’ll want to use all your action points. You can move, fight, pick up coins, or draw cards. There are additional rules for each of the things you can do, so I’ll go over them. You can also play a card anytime it allows you. To win, you need to get three banana coins. You’ll need to trade two gorilla coins in for a single banana coin. So each round has players taking their turns to spend these action points.

First thing you can do with an action point is movement. This game uses grid movement. The windows are the grid. When you move, you move up to 3 windows that are unoccupied. You can’t move diagonally. When you get to the corner of the building, you just move around the corner as your movement.

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Next action you can do is fight. To fight another ape, you must be adjacent to it or across from it through the building. Once you pick your fight, the attacker rolls the 6 yellow dice. Count any Ka-Pow facings you have. The defender rolls all 6 yellow dice and counts any Ka-Pow facings they have. The player with the larger number of Ka-Pows wins. If a player rolls all blanks, they win the fight. If the attack wins, the defender is moved 3 spots in a straight line, dropping one of their coins from the bank along the way. These coins come from the box. After the ape has moved, the attacker steals one coin from their pile. If the defender wins, nothing happens. The current player basically burns an action point without getting an outcome.

So the gorillas drop coins as they run from fights. How do you collect the coins? You’ve got to be in the same window as the coin and use an action point to pick it up. Remember, gorilla coins are what you need to trade in for the gold banana coins.

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Drawing cards. You can use an action point to draw up to 5 cards. This can only happen if you go to the ground floor. So, probably not a good action to do if you’re only missing one card. The cards typically help out fights by adding Ka-Pows to your roll, re-rolling the fight dice, or avoiding the fight all together. There are other cards that lets players steal cards from other players, swap places with gorillas, or even collect all adjacent coins.

To get the golden banana coins, you have to be at the top floor. There are only two spots that you can exchange the gorilla coins for banana coins on the roof. The coins you trade in can’t be your own coins either. That would be too easy. Exchanging coins doesn’t use an action point.

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So there you have it. Banana Bandits. It’s a game about monkeys, a 3D building, and coins. What do I think about the game? I’ll start with the components. I really like the board for this game. It’s what drew me into trying the game out. The player pieces, coins, and cards are nice quality. They’re a nice chunky cardboard that should hold up a while. I like the player pieces and coins, and how they hang in the windows. It’s taking a game that could have easily been a flat board with players moving as a side scroller, but instead uses the board as a 3D tower. It’s eye catching, and the art for the different gorillas are nice. While the board, player pieces, and coins are nice quality and have nice art, I feel the cards fell a bit short. They are on the smaller side, seem flimsy, and the art just isn’t on par with the other pieces.

Okay, that’s just the art of the game. How about game play? When I first saw this game, I thought it would be like King of Tokyo meets King Kong on a building. I like dice, I like the eye catching tower, and I like using cards to change game play. However, I feel like the game play was a bit slow. With players spending action points to do everything, it didn’t have the same fast pace feeling like King of Tokyo. Some of the rules weren’t as specific as I’d like them to be. Specifically the exchanging gorilla coins for the banana coins. Can a player exchange to get more than one banana coin a turn? So while the game looks great on the table, I felt the slowness took away from the game itself. Then the only one way to win. I know most games only have one way to win, but when you look at the theme of this game, shouldn’t there be an option to take out your competition too? Maybe if the game had another way to win like player elimination, I would feel better about the game play. I still have this in my collection for now because I really want to like it. Would I recommend this game? I wouldn’t recommend it. I really want to be able to say “This is a great game, and everyone should own it to play with friends.” That’s just me really liking the novelty of the 3D board. Like I said, I’m keeping this in my collection for now. Maybe I’m missing something, and if I am, I’ll be back with a retraction of my opinion. But for now, this is an easy pass for anyone looking for this type of game. There are better examples of Action Points games out there.

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