Okay, there’s not really anything subtle about this game, so I’ll get right to the point: if the thought of monkeys flinging poo makes you laugh, then you will love this game. Read the review, and then enter to win a copy!
Poo: The Card Game isn’t my usual fare (see a partial list here) but as my game nights have started to include more high schoolers and some middle schoolers, I’ve started including some lighter games that don’t take two hours to play. Poo certainly fits in that category. It takes around five to fifteen minutes to play, works for two to eight players (although you want at least four for maximum chaos), and is recommended for ages eight and up (although my six-year-old got in on the fun, with some help).
How do you play?
Here’s the gist: you’re a monkey, and you fling poo at the other monkeys. If you accumulate fifteen bits of poo, you’re overwhelmed and out of the game. The goal, of course, is to be the last monkey standing. It’s a little bit like one of my favorite card games, Bang!, except that there aren’t any hidden roles and it’s a lot simpler. The cartoons on the cards are hilarious and—in case this is a deal-breaker—do not actually depict any poo. It’s mostly drawings of the monkeys and apes reacting to the poo headed their way.
You can play a Poo card which flings some number of poo (from “Pellet Poo” to “Chim Chim Poo” to “King Kong Poo”) on an opponent, and they can use cards to avoid getting hit. Some of them pass the poo along to somebody else: “Buddy’s Face,” for instance. There are also Special Poo cards that deal extra dirt, often to multiple players at once. And then there are the Mishap cards, like “Just a Fart” which nullifies a Poo card, or the dreaded “Montezuma’s Revenge” which returns two poo back to the poo-slinger.
Of course, it’s not all about slinging poo. You can also clean yourself off with a “Dip In the Pool.” Then again, “Sharing the Love” is much more fun, because then two of your poo rubs off on somebody else. There are a couple other Event cards that mix it up a little to keep it interesting, but that’s pretty much it.
Is it fun?
I played this several times with a couple different groups of players (some adults, some younger kids). It was, as expected, much more popular with the younger set, but several adults got a kick out of it and wanted to play more than once. You need to be able to read the cards, and some of the Mishap cards are a little more complex and the younger kids needed explanations on how to use them. But I’d say probably ten and up should be able to handle it on their own.
You’ll also need to provide something to serve as counters so everyone knows how much poo they have. It hasn’t been a problem for me, since I have lots of games with tons of bits, but if you get into an eight player game, that adds up to a lot of pieces to provide if you don’t have something lying around. (Of course, if you’re a proper geek I suppose you’ll have a bucket of LEGO bricks handy at all times, right?) That little bit of inconvenience is probably worth it for the cheaper price and pocket-sized box. I can imagine some game companies tossing in some cheap plastic bits, making the box four times as large, and then charging you $25 for it.
Some of the cards needed a little clarification because it wasn’t really clear how some of them interacted with each other, but overall it’s a pretty simple game and doesn’t require that much thought. In fact, the instructions recommend a five-banana count if you feel like somebody’s taking too long on their turn—they really don’t want you to overthink it. I’d agree with that, because our first attempt at it took a good deal longer, while everyone pondered their moves, and it’s not a game that requires or rewards slow, thoughtful play. In subsequent games we’ve tried to move things along more quickly, and it’s more enjoyable when you don’t let people spend any time analyzing their strategy.
One other rule that I’m not sure I like is the Golden Banana. Depending on how many players you have, you start with one or two Golden Bananas on the table. First player out takes the card and comes back into the game with eight poo. It’s basically an extra life (or half-life) for the first person eliminated, which basically just prolongs the game. I suppose for younger players it’s nice to get a second chance, but most of the time we played we just left it out to speed things up.
So, the verdict? Poo is a fun, silly game—certainly not one that I’ll play for hours at a time, but definitely one that we’ll get out from time to time for a quick round between longer games. And, hey, if you don’t care for monkeys, you can always pretend you’re politicians instead. For more about the game, you can visit the Poo: The Card Game website. You can get Poo: The Card Game for about $11 on Amazon, or at your local game store.
Win some Poo!
Catalyst Game Labs has generously provided a copy of Poo for us to give away. To win, leave a comment (preferably your funniest joke about monkeys or poo) or tweet a link to this post with the hashtag #geekdadpoo by 11:59pm PST this evening (Monday, April 5, 2010). We’ll pick a winner and sling some Poo your way later this week!
Wired: Monkeys flinging poo—either you get it, or you don’t. “Blaze of Glory” card lets you deal out all of your Poo cards when you’re eliminated. (Because of course a game called Poo involves elimination. Get it? Har har har.)
Tired: Requires poo tokens (not included). If you don’t find poo funny, you probably won’t find Poo funny either. If you lose, you’re out of the game and just sit and watch—though fortunately it shouldn’t take too much longer before the game is over.
Catalyst Game Labs provided a copy of the game for review purposes. Poo images from Catalyst Game Labs; photo by Jonathan Liu.