Every once in a while, you will see some cute little game popping up with interesting theme. The theme of pirana habitated water and a poor man stranded on an island, trying to escape through water did sound fun to me. Piranha Pedro, with the light theme, is actually targeted at young players and probably a family game. As such, the game play is really simple. It reminds me a lot about Dragon Delta, with its cross the water, simultaneous action movement.
The game comes in a box with the following components :
1. Board - nicely illustrated hard card board with 15x11 squares denoting the water, 7 sqaures with whirlpool for the piranna, one island that span across a few square with a little coconut tree where the game will start
2. Wooden piranna - nice organge color wooden piranna in the typical quality standard of german game component
3. Wooden Pedro - our hero of the game
4. Cards - 1 starting player card, 4 landscape cards showing village, a waterfall, jungle and the sun. 6 sets of identical movement cards (12 each)
5. A pile of stones - real stones !!
Setting up of the game is fast, Pedro is placed on the tree in the island and place one piranna on each whirlpool space. Shuffle and randomly place 1 landscape card on each side of the board. Each player is then given a set of 12 movement cards, 4 stones. Choose a starting player and the game will start rolling.
The game is interesting in the sense that you determine who will be the loser, player try not to be the first one to lose the game. Each round consist of :
1) Each player plays a face down movement card
2) Reveal the card simultaneously
3) Execute the movement
4) If no one collected a piranna, pass the starting player card to the next player clockwise
The interesting part is in determine which movement card to play. The game comes in a neat mechanism where a player is encourage to take risk and play cards that move Pedro further (3 spaces). A movement card illustrates the number of sqaure (1 to 3) to move towards a particular landscape. It also has an indication on how many stones you can collect for the next round to use if you do not play some of the cards (1 stone for 1 square movement card, half a stone for 2 sqaures movement card and zero stone for 3). Once the played card is revealed, each player take turn clockwise to move Pedro. If Pedro need to move into a water square without stone, the player needs to place a stone on the sqaure to prevent him from falling into the water, thus collecting a Piranna. The moment a player collected 2 piranna (3 for 2 player game), he lose the game. After a Piranna is collected, all players returns the stone they have not played to the central pool. They then look into the remaining cards in their hand, count the number of stones they can collect rounded down. They then collect the stones from the central pool and starts a new round.
As for all simultaneous action game, the gameplay can be chaotic as you can only guess that much about other player's action. You can simply play a card without thinking, or analyse each preceeding players on their past actions and possible new action, evaluate and plan your action. It's totally up to the player, whether taking a risk without planning or be rewarded with good second guessing other player's action. This is really that part that I think will make this a nice family game - it can be a thinking game for the adult, a good fun "take that" game for the childrens. Afterall, isn't that what a family game is made for, to have a night of fun without lefting out the childrens with the chance in winning the game.