Review: Trash Pandas

Review: Trash Pandas

There’s nothing cuter than a curious raccoon digging through the trash, unless it’s your trash.

Trash Pandas is a set collection game with a push your luck element thrown into the mix. Up to 4 players are working toward stashing valuable items they find as they dig through the trash. You’ll find half eaten pizza, fish, old chocolate bars and other goodies that can gain you victory points at the end of the game.

On your turn, you start by rolling a die with 6 different symbols on it. These symbols match tokens that are sitting in the middle of the table. Each time you roll, you take the matching token that gives you a special action. You can continue rolling until you choose to stop. If you roll the same symbol twice, your turn ends and you don’t get to take actions that turn. You can collect an energy drink called “Blammo!” and half eaten bananas (“Nanners”) to offset a bad roll which is really important.

Each of the 6 tokens you earn have different abilities. One allows you to steal another card from a player, another allows you to draw 2 new cards and the most important action is the ability to stash cards. In Trash Pandas, stashing cards give you points based on how many cards you have compared to your opponents. If you have the most pieces of pizza, you’ll get 6 points while the person with the second most only gets 2 points.

When the stack of cards in the middle of the table is empty, everyone calculates their points to see who won.

Trash Pandas tokens

What Makes Trash Pandas Stand Out?

There are plenty of set collection card games out there but there is an added layer to Trash Pandas with the die and tokens. I really enjoy the strategy behind setting yourself up with “Blammo” and “Nanners” cards so you mitigate bad die rolls. It can be fun pushing yourself to get one more token because you really need a specific action.

Each card has text at the bottom and allows you to use it as an action or for points as part of your collection. The choices the game gives you can get really tough. Do you stash that chocolate bar or do you use its action to force an opponent to roll one more time, possibly making them bust?

You also have the “Doggo” and “Kitteh” cards which keep your opponents from stealing from you. The “Kitteh” card is especially rough because it allows the player to steal a card from the opponent who tried to steal from you.

The game is well balanced and we found that it can become very strategic when you’re paying attention. Trash Pandas can be very basic for a new gamer that may just try to collect sets of cards to outscore their opponents. For the person who enjoys a little strategy, you’ll find it fun to chain tokens together in a specific sequence to give you a huge turn.

The Luck of the Roll

Now I feel like I need to address the six sided elephant in the room. Dice are horrible some times. This cube that spits out random values can destroy the game for some people. While some cards allow you to re-roll (“Blammo!”) or ignore a bad roll (“Nanners”), this doesn’t matter when you have an empty hand. In Trash Pandas, you have to be willing to take a turn that might only gain a card or two when you’re in a bad spot. If your the type of player that goes big every single turn, this game could frustrate you at times.

I need to point out the great illustrations on each card from the incredibly talented Kwanchai Moriya. The blend of cute and gross is fantastic and fits the game really well.

Trash Pandas cards

Originally this game was funded on Indie Go Go after being one of the top 5 finalists in the Hasbro Gaming Lab challenge. For this review, we had a copy of the first edition of the game. Earlier this month Red Rook Games announced that Gamewright will be publishing the second edition of this game this Summer. This means that Trash Pandas will be widely available and easier to get your hands on!

We took time to play Trash Pandas with seasoned gamers, new gamers, kids and adults. I’ve been really impressed with how the game forces you to make tough choices and a great roll gets everyone at the table cheering (or booing). This game is a great addition to the filler games that hit the table regularly in our house.

You can pick up your copy of Trash Pandas from Indie Go Go or on Amazon today. Be on the lookout for the second edition coming from Gamewright Games in Summer 2018.

Red Rook Games provided us with a copy of Trash Pandas. This in no way influenced our opinion on the game.

Highs

  • Cards could be used for points or special abilities
  • Great artwork and colorful design really works well with the theme
  • Easy to learn with enough depth to keep you engaged

Lows

  • Bad die rolls can ruin it for some
  • Wooden token production could have been better