Published by: Sirlin Games
# of Players: 2 to 6 players
Pandante second edition comes in two forms, regular and deluxe. Please keep in mind that I reviewed the deluxe edition and can not explain what is all contained in the regular edition. The deluxe edition takes Pandante to the professional poker player level. The chips are high grade, pro level clay poker chips. The metal panda coin is very heavy and looks great. The cards are standard card stock cards. I do like the art on everything, but if you dislike pandas then you probably will not like the art. The insert and box are beautifully designed and hold everything perfectly. The lining is very smooth and the exterior of the box gives it an heirloom feel to the set. The rule book and quick start guide help you get in the game fast. The rules do take a read or two to fully understand the flow of the game. Contained in the rules are variants for Diamond Dream Mode and playing with real money.
Pandante has a similar flow as Texas Hold'em Poker. Players will each be dealt 2 cards and pay in 3 coins to the pot to play the round. You will then reveal 3 community cards called the Splash. In Pandante, you will then then bet 2 coins on the highest type of hand you think you will have or lie to have. After everyone has bet on the type of hand,players will then have the option to snack. Player's one at a time will decide if they want to draw a card and discard a card. The person who bet on the highest type of hand gets to do this for free. Every other player that bet a lower type of hand has to pay 2 coins per level lower than the highest if they want to draw a card. After everyone has chosen to snack or not, the 4th card called the Paws will be revealed to everyone. Another round of betting on your highest type of hand you are saying you have and another snack round. Finally the fifth card called the Tail will be revealed. You will have another betting round, but no snack this time. Instead you will go into the ability round. This is were players will have the option to use 0,1,2 abilities from either the light or dark side that was chosen before the round. After abilities have been used, the person with the highest claimed hand will go into the showdown.
Pandante is the gamer version of Texas Hold 'em Poker. The rules take a little while to understand, but that is due to years of regular poker. I did not play first edition, but have heard this edition is much faster than the original. The game moves pretty fast and can get very interesting with challenges and cards changing at the last minute due to abilities. If you do not own poker chips and want a really nice set, Pandante deluxe does offer that to you. The quality is there for the price. If price is an issue, there is a regular edition that can be purchased for much cheaper. I really enjoyed this version of a poker card game and would play this again on a poker night or game night. Panda champion and casino cards add some great variety to make things interesting each play. There was some confusion on the tie-break and showdown, but after reading the rules in those sections a few times will clear up any confusion. I went into playing this thinking it was going to be another card game that changes things up slightly, but Pandante is unique and a lot of fun. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys playing card games like poker or rummy. This is also a great game to play with parents and grandparents. Pandante will be staying in my collection and I look forward to breaking it out next card game night.
+Deluxe version provides high quality components
+ Panda Champions and Casinos add extra variety and replay
+ Keeps a good game pace
- Some rules can be confusing for those used to poker and it's variants
- Not for those who do not enjoy casino style card games
- Some panda abilities may be more powerful than others