Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Roberto Fraga


No. of Players:
2 - 5



Do you know what a dart gun, penguins and a golden pinapple have in common? Well, they all come together in Pingo Pingo, a crazy idea gone boardgame which has been designed by Roberto Fraga. So, welcome to the Bedlam!

To be honest, when I first saw a glimpse of the tribal penguins drawn on the cover of the new IELLO game Pingo Pingo, I expected some sort of light board- or cardgame since these kinds of games have been IELLOs most prominent trademark, but as it was this assumption turned out to be wrong since the game belongs to the broad category of speed and dexterity games.

Hunting for the famous Golden Pinapple and other treasures, the players have anchored their ship in a bay of a mysterious island, and they have 15 minutes of real time to find and salvage as many treasures as possible. Just like Zombie '15, the passing time is represented by a soundtrack, and the game ends when one of the soundtracks on the included CD is over. Apart from the general function as a timer, the soundtrack also differentiates between daytime and nighttime during the game, since two different tunes alternate approximately every 30 seconds, interrupted by the frantic "Pingo Pingo" cries of the native penguins who make hunt for the players.

The game itself is driven by a deck of Adventure cards which has been split evenly among the players. Each player has received a random share of these cards which he has placed face-down in front of himself, and during his turn the player will turn over the topmost card from this deck and show it to the other players. This revealing of the card should be done in a fluid motion, since the card's front side quite often will trigger some kind of hectic reaction from the other players.

If the card shows a treasure, it may be claimed by the first player who succeeds in tapping the card with a finger. But beware! Each Treasure card may only be claimed by day or night (depending on the card's background colour), and a player who taps the card at the wrong time of the day will lose a Life Point instead of getting the treasure. Likewise, there exist some Treasure cards which have been trapped (shown by a small variation of the picture on the card), and a player tapping a trapped card will receive a wound as well. Players who have received a total of 7 wounds are out of the game, and so some care must be taken not to lose too many Life Points in the hectic rush for the Treasure cards.

However, even a correctly claimed Treasure card is not really save from the greedy hands of the competing players. The deck of Adventure cards contains Camp cards as a second category, and once again these cards exist in day and night versions, trapped and untrapped. A player who correctly taps with his finger on a Camp card will be entitled to steal two Treasure cards from players of his choice, and so even the already collected Treasure cards keep changing hands.

These two categories of cards set the game's basic pace, but Roberto Fraga's special wickedness enters the game by some nasty specialties. For one, all cards which cannot be claimed due to traps or wrong daytime are left on the table, and at least the cards which are untrapped still can be claimed when the daytime changes. So, apart from concentrating on the upcoming new Adventure card, the players also need to be aware of the other cards left on the table, since the change of daytime triggered by the frantic cry of "Pingo Pingo" may bring up some opportunities which have been blocked so far.

Want some more action? Well, here we go, since the deck of Adventure cards also contains some Event cards which will bring even more kinds of craziness. Comparatively harmless is the Monkey Sorcerer who will grant the first person tapping him to heal one Life Point, and also the Penguin Rampage card can be dealt with quite easily since the active player just has to collect all revealed Adventure cards form the table and re-distribute them amongst the players. However, the player must be quick to do so, because the ringing of the "Pingo Pingo" cry before the player has finished will result in the loss of a Life Point.

Real action comes up when one of the other three kinds of Event cards appears. Before the game begins, stand up targets showing a Pirate hip, two ends of a Rope Bridge, a bear-rider Penguin and the fearful Space Penguin have been distributed among the room, and depending on the Event card revealed the active player now may be challenged to run and touch some of these targets (Pirate Ship, Rope Bridge) or to shoot them with the pirate dart gun which has been placed in the middle of the gaming table (bear-riding Penguin, Space Penguin). If the player fails to solve his task before the "Pingo Pingo" cry rings out, another Life Point will be lost.

The penguins on the box cover look as crazy as their movie counterparts in the Madagascar movie, and indeed Pingo Pingo follows the same tune since the players are challenged to 15 minutes of madhouse mayhem. The game is a happening - there is no doubt about it - and if played with the right minded group of players groans and bursts of laughter will be heard all along the way. An uncommon factor certainly is the fact that the players really have to move and run to reach some targets, and especially if played with younger treasure hunters (6+ is the age recommendation) it is a must to get breakable furniture and other delicate items well out of the way. Due to this additional action it seems that Pingo Pingo actually is mostly aimed at an audience containing a majority of children, since they will certainly enjoy all this running and shooting to the greatest extent. Older players may be more careful, since the old saying goes: "The worst accidents occur at home!"

Thinking back about the use of dart guns in boardgames, two titles spring to my mind. One of them is Supergang, a classic mobster game which has been released by LUDODELIRE all way back in 1985. The other game, Cop & Killer was done in 2007 by GAMEHEADS, a small publisher located in Berlin. However, whereas both of these games tried to embed the dart gun shooting into a somewhat strategic gameplay, Pingo Pingo does not even try to make the difficult combination of shooting and tactical gaming. Instead, Pingo Pingo positions itself clearly on the light fun and action side, a decision which greatly enhances the overall playing experience. In addition, the dart gun included in the game is not only fashion made just for Pingo Pingo, but it actually seems to be a high quality toy. I had discussed my good impression on the workmanship with Matthieu from IELLO, and he had confirmed that the game had been sold in France since summer 2015 and only two guns had been returned to them with a defect until October 2015.

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Copyright & copy; 2015 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany