Review : Pana Po’o

⚙️: Laura Carratala Navarro
👯‍♂️: 3 or more players
👨‍👨‍👧‍👦: Ages 8 and up
⏱: 30-45 minutes

At 5 years old, our Big Bean has become an expert reader. She can navigate age-appropriate books with relative ease, and those moments where she sneaks away to quietly read a story on her own makes my heart swell in a way I’ve rarely experienced!

Continuing the tradition of artistic charades from games like Cranium and @northstargames’ Cluzzle, is Pana Po’o from @outsetmediagames! Replacing the paper, pencils and plasticine is an assortment of cardboard shapes in a variety of sizes and colours. Each turn involves drawing a clue card, rolling two dice, and grabbing the matching coloured pieces, along with the default set of black pieces. Those shapes are used to craftily approximate the item on the drawn clue card, with points being scored for whoever guesses correctly, as well as the artist themselves. If playing with teams, the game ends when one team reaches 22 points, and if playing a free-for-all game, it ends at 11 points.

Playing Pana Po’o with Big Bean has been a revelation, as having her able to read the clue cards means I didn’t have to help at all. I can just sit back and enjoy her colourful sculptures, and then guess what they might be! Even better, the components of the game act as a toolbox for creative play, meaning Little Bean can also join us in the crafting fun with the potential for storytelling as well!

As a party game for adults, Pana Po’o retains all of the charm of its predecessors, and plays quickly. Personally, I prefer the individual rules so that all are guessing the clues each turn, but for folks wanting a bit of that Cranium team feel, Pana Po’o offers that experience as well. For those wanting a greater challenge (or you want to slow a stronger player), one fewer die can be rolled, or the black pieces can be set aside.

Not many party-style games are appropriate for both families and adults, but Pana Po’o strikes a nice balance, with an aesthetic pulled from vibrant parts of the 90s, with boatloads of creative play to drive the fun!




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