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Written Review – Piñata

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I think that kids and adults can agree that one of the best parts of a birthday party is the piñata. Whether for candy or the humor, we all have our reasons for loving this activity and secretly hope that there will be one at every celebration. But, to pass the time in between those hopeful parties, Rio Grande Games and Stephen W. Glenn have brought us Piñata! This 2-player card game is a luck-of-the-draw game, and with some mindful placement, you could be on your way to becoming the top candy smasher!

Out Of The Box

Among the many colorful items you will find in this box, you will find the rulebook, 4 playing mats, 1 bag, 45 colored candy pieces, 54 playing cards (45 color, 9 wild), and 5 “medal” cards. The playing mats are where the candy pieces go in order for players to use their best cards to score those pieces for their stash. Medal cards are awarded when a certain number of colored candy pieces are acquired, and the other cards are the players’ arsenals for scoring candy pieces across the board.

Playing The Game

The four mats are placed on the table, on either side, in a vertical line between the two players. Candies are chosen at random from the bag, and one is placed on the first mat, 2 on the second, 3 on the third, and 4 on the fourth. When playing on a mat with an arrow pointing up, you want to have the highest number of played cards when the mat is scored, and the lowest number if the mat has an arrow pointing down.

Each player is dealt 8 cards and these cards are kept secret throughout the game. Each card has a color and number in the corners, including the 9 wild cards that are used as any color. When playing on the mat, the cards you play next to each mat must match the color of the candy on the mat, and that number of cards must be on each side of the mat. An important rule to remember is that the final card played on a mat cannot make the score on either side of the mat equal – it must be less than your opponents number, or more.

After each mat has been scored and the candies have been received, the players must check the amount of colored candies in their possession. If they have the matching number of candies on its color’s “medal” card, they may take that medal. The game ends when a player has collected 3 medal cards! If at any time the candies begin to run low and a mat must be placed, it is removed from game if there are not enough candies. If Mat 4 scores, and the players go to place 4 candies but there are only 3, that mat is discarded from the game and continues.

An example of play is as follows : The third mat has an arrow pointing up, and contains 1 red and 2 green candies. Each of us must play 1 red and 2 green cards in order to score this mat, or a wild card may be used in place for one of these cards. The player with the highest score when 3 cards have been played on both sides of the mat wins the candies on the mat, then we check to see if either player qualifies for a medal card.

Final Thoughts

Even though this may look like a game that’s for kids only, it is plenty of fun for adults as well. I found the game easy to pick up and teach in the first round, and the rules are clear enough to not cause much confusion. If you are looking for a light-hearted tw0-player game for your library, or maybe for a game to play with your kids, I’d recommend checking out Piñata. This game will retail for $24.95 and is available for purchase online or through your local game store.