Author: Jens-Peter Schliemann

Publisher: Goldsieber 2004

Awards: none



The new game Piranha Pedro by GOLDSIEBER certainly is unusual in a couple of ways. First to be mentioned is the playing mechanism itself. As you will seen in my review, Jens-Peter Schliemann actually succeeded in creating one of those rare games where the players try not to win but to prevent losing. Thus, the game will not be won by a single player, but instead it will be won by all players except the loser. Also outstanding is the way the rules are presented, since the crew at GOLDSIEBER actually managed the difficult task to move away from old standard rulebooks to a new way to present the rules in form of a comic-book. Although this kind of presentation cannot be chosen for games with higher complexitiy, it works fine with typical family-games and I a sure that Piranha Pedro is going to be a hot candidate for the Essener Feder 2005, the awards for the game with the most outstanding rules. But enough introductory words - let's turn to the game itself...

The gameboard for Piranha Pedro consists of a 15 x 11 square river area with a small island placed somewhere in the river. A total of 7 Piranhas is placed on their starting positions in the riverbed, whereas the island is the starting point for our hero Pedro, the playing figure which is used by ALL the players. At the four sides of the gameboard four random landscape cards are aligned, showing a village, a waterfall, jungle and the sun. These cards will be needed during the game to determine the direction in which Pedro is moved. To complete playing preparations, each player now receives a set of 12 identical movement cards and four stones as a starting stockpile.

The game now is played in rounds with alternating starting players, and each round each player choses one of his available movement cards and places it face down in front of himself. The starting player for that round then is the first to reveal his movement card, and he will move Pedro according to the characteristics of the movement card he has played. In general, the movement card shows one of the four different landscapes which are shown on the landscape cards which where distributed on the edges of the gameboard, and thus Pedro will be moved into the direction of this specific landscape. The card also shows between one and three arrows, and this indicates the number of steps Pedro will take in the indicated direction. Once a player has moved Pedro, he leaves the card which he has played open in front of him, and his left neighbour then is the next player to reveal his card and to move Pedro. When all players have revealed their movement cards in this procedure, the round ends and the starting playership changes to the left neighbour of the former starting player.

Whenever Pedro moves away from the island and onto a water space, the player moving Pedro will have to place one of his stones from his stockpile on that space to make the passage save. However, the movement directly ends if a player...

  • has no stone left to make a passage over water save;
  • if Pedro moves over the outer edge of the gameboard;
  • if Pedro moves onto a space with a Piranha.
The player during whose movement turn one of the above conditions was fulfilled will be penalized by having to take a random Piranha from the gameboard and placing it in front of him. Before the game then resumes from the last space Pedro occupied before Pedro fell into the water, an evaluation will take place.

In this evaluation phase, all players will have to give all their unused stones back to the general stockpile. Then each player has to look at their unused movement cards to determine how many stones they will get to resume the game with. A player now will get one stone for each unplayed card with one step, and 1 stone for each unplayed pair of two cards with two moves. Thus, a player who has used more of his three step cards (and thus has taken a higher risk) will be rewarded by receiving more stones due to his remaining cards. Once all players have received their new stones, each player will get back his full hand of 12 movement cards and the game will resume.

The game is over once a player had to take his second Piranha. This player will have lost, while all other players will be considered as being the winners.

As indicated above, the unusual determination of the winning players is just one of the factors which make the game outstanding from quite a lot other games. Very nice also is the "bluff"-mechanism in the game, since the players will keep an eye on which cards were already used by the other players and they will try to guess a player's next action. The game offers a very high interaction between the players, and this results in a lot of playing fun for beginners and seasoned players alike. This good impression is supplemented by a fitting artwork, and thus I can recommend the game throughoutly.

Some final comment: Seeing the new game Piranha Pedro and remembering the last game Iglu Iglu, I asked Mrs. Roßhirt from GOLDSIEBER at the SPIEL 04 at Essen how it came that the size of the gameboxes of these two games did not keep the standard size of Goldsieber boxes. I was riddling on this question for quite some time, since a size change is not very usual in the games market because many collectors especially like to have collections of "one-size" boxes. Here I was given the answer that the size-change was due to GOLDSIEBER'S strong ties to NORIS SPIELE. GOLDSIEBER had decided to go for the uniform NORIS sized boxes, and thus all further GOLDSIEBER games are going to keep the new box sizes.

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Copyright © 2004 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Trier, Germany