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Pilfering Pandas is live (Panda escape plans)

Update: Pilfering Pandas is live on Kickstarter and the campaign will run for 28 days. You may back either the standard or the Deluxe edition that comes with a playmat. The game is also available as a PnP, or you can go just for the enamel pins.

Our preview post below was published on May 14.


Pilfering Pandas is a 1-4 players hand management and set collection game in which pandas locked up in a zoo are trying to escape. It can be played either competitively or solo/cooperatively, and it will launch on Kickstarter on May 19.

Image source: Wren Games Facebook

In the solo and cooperative mode, the goal of the pandas is to bribe the meerkats with the food they have pilfered. With the meerkats' help, they can try to escape without drawing the attention of the zoo keeper.

You begin the game with a hand of 6 cards. At the start of each round, you will either draw one card from the Loot deck, or one card from the end of the Hideout, or two or more consecutive cards from the Hideout. The Hideout is where you stash the food you have pilfered, and if you take two or more cards from it, you automatically raise the suspicion of the zoo keeper.

Then, you can perform actions: Create a set of 3 or more cards (e.g. cards numbered 1,2,3 or three number 4 cards), Extend an already existing set by adding a card, Swap a Key card with the Loot it represents, Discard a Key card, Activate your special ability, or Pass. Each card shows a number, a suit, and a Panda Points value. The Panda Points determine how many steps along the escape track the marker can advance when the card is played in a set. Key cards are wild cards and can be used in sets but they also trigger the suspicion of the zoo keeper. If the Loot deck is ever empty, you lose the game.

Image source: Wren Games Facebook

Card sets can be traded with the meerkats when placed in the meerkats' trade area. The first card in a set must match a meerkat's preferences, and if all the cards in the set match its preferences, you gain bonus points. You cannot give the same meerkat too much food, however, as that would attract the attention of the keeper. After you take your actions, you advance the panda marker on the escape track accordingly, and also advance the zoo keeper marker.

To win the game, if you play solo, the panda escape marker must have reached the end of the track, you must not have any cards left in your hand, and the zoo keeper mustn't have caught you. If you are playing with the co-op rules and all these conditions are met (with one panda having no cards in hand), you will try the Final Escape Check: you collate any leftover cards together, calculate their total value, and advance the zoo keeper marker by that many steps. If the zoo keeper reaches the panda marker, you have been caught. If the panda is still ahead, you win!

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1 Comment

Cadet Stimpy
Cadet Stimpy
May 14, 2021

I like pandas, meerkats, and the cards, so it has gained my attention. 🙂

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