Today, Jellybean Games announced the release of its social deduction game Hidden Panda on Kickstarter from now until July 6, with a funding goal of $5,000. The game, which is all-ages in theme and content, tasks five to eight players with either finding player pandas or getting away from the clutches of the bandits.
From the designer of Dracula’s Feast and The Lady and the Tiger, with stunning art provided by Kelly Jo (Scuttle!, Ninjitsu), the bright colors and light-hearted theme breathe fresh air into the typically-gloomy genre.
“I love social deduction games, but they always have such dark themes,” said the designer, Peter C. Hayward. “Dystopian governments, witch hunts, the criminal underworld… I wanted to make a game that you could play with your kids, or anyone who enjoys a more upbeat theme. There’s no werewolves or murder in this game; it’s about collecting baby pandas, and Grandma handing out tea.”
“We told Kelly we wanted to break records in cute. As soon as she got to work, we knew we’d made the right choice. My favorite piece of art in the game is the ‘5 baby pandas’ token, which shows them lolling about in a panda cuddle puddle. It’s impossible not to fall in love with it.”
As with all Jellybean Games, the rules are straightforward and easy to learn. Everyone is randomly given a role: If you’re a Panda, Keeper, or Grandma, you’re on the Panda Team. If you’re a Bandit, you’re on the Bandit Team. Only some players on the Panda team know who’s on their team, while each Bandit only knows their own role.
Grandma plays face-up for the entire game; her role is to try to get baby pandas to her fellow teammates without giving their roles away. This unique addition to social deduction makes it perfect for family play – the Grandma role can be given to an adult to help guide younger players.
On their turn, each player hands out 3 baby pandas to other players. Then, they give one other player a piece of bamboo. When a player has 3 pieces of bamboo in front of them, everyone votes on whether or not they should be netted. Netted players have their baby pandas taken away.
If all the Pandas are ever netted, the Bandit team immediately wins. Otherwise, once everyone has taken two turns, the team with the most baby pandas wins!
The Kickstarter campaign will run through July 6, with a pledge of $19 “netting” backers with a copy of the game. In addition, all Kickstarter backers who pledge to get a copy of the game will receive a set of exclusive wooden panda meeples, perfect for keeping track of the pandas in-game. Hidden Panda will also be showcased during this year’s Origins event. Stay tuned for more news here on Gaming Trend.
Elisha Deogracias is an aspiring accountant by day, freelance writer by night. Before writing for Gaming Trend, he had a small gig on the now defunct Examiner. When not being a third wheel with his best friends on dates or yearning for some closure on Pushing Daisies, he's busy catching up on shonen manga and wacky rhythm games. Mains R.O.B. in Smash. Still doesn't know if he's a kid or a squid.