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In this turbulent dice-safari through the steppes of Africa, the winner is the one who looks quickly but carefully and is the first to call the name of the correct animal! We're stalking gnus, rhinos and antelope. The bamboo dice tell how many animals we have to look out for.
There's a trophy for correctly calling out animals. But players who call out incorrectly are mercilessly punished!
- 2 number dice
- 5 animal dice
- 2 poacher dice
- 1 ranger die
- 30 trophy chips
Average Rating: 3.7 in 3 reviews
Bono! is one of those games that some people will just naturally do much better at than others. Like Set, Bongo! requires players to quickly reason about and recognize a pattern, in this case, the result of a dice role performed each round of play. And as with set, this can be a very frustrating game when played among players unevenly gifted at pattern recognition under pressure. However, Bongo! has several advantages over set in this regard. First, the 'patterns' here are not the clearly distinguishable graphics of Set, but very similar illustrations of animals. This results in some difficulty in telling them apart at speed, about which some players complain, but which ultimately improves play balance when compared with Set. Second, the reasoning about what pattern is matched, though less complex than it is for Set, is more sequential (there are at least two distinct steps to recognizing a match, sometimes 3, and even more if optional rules are used). This tends to reduce the advantage that pure 'pattern recognizers' have in Set. Finally, the scoring rules tend to punish certain forms of careless guessing and mistakes in a ways that can erase big leads and restore balance so that smart meta-play (good guessing when you have little or nothing to loose) can unnerve even the best 'pattern recognizer'.
All in all though, and despite the forgoing too-academic analysis, this is a fun and frustrating and very fast game that everyone seems to enjoy. If you liked Set, but just couldn't keep up with your 6 year old or found it too serious, Bongo! is for you.
This is a great little quickie, perfect as a fun little time-filler. It's easy to explain the rules (although I've found that some folks just won't 'get it' no matter how much you explain), and it takes an arbitrary number of players. If you're a fan of turn-less games like Pit or Ricochet Robot, you'll like this, even though the rounds are much faster than those games, usually lasting around five seconds!
The only drawback is the score-markers. They're just little painted sticks (identical to road-pieces from Settlers of Catan), and they just don't work too well. I recommend you look up 'Bongo' on boardgamegeek.com and print out the little chits they made.
You won't be able to play it just once.
Bongo is a game that players will either love or hate and the two camps would probably be pretty evenly divided, hence the 3-star rating. While at first glance it seems to be a dice game, Bongo has less in common with most dice games than the two games mentioned above. The pattern recognition is close to that of Set, while it has the frantic pace of Pit.
The game consists of nine dice and a bunch of tiny 'trophy' score markers in three colors. Five of the dice show 3 African animals (rhino, gnu and gazelle) twice on each die. Two more dice show 1, 2, or 3 bamboo stalks on each side. The final red dice are poachers, and match the animal dice except for the color of the dice.
The dice are rolled, and the players try to determine what animal should be called out. This is figured based on the number of each animal showing, and the number called for by the bamboo dice. If the bamboos match, this is the target number. If not, it is the number NOT shown that is the target. Looking at the animal dice, if only one animal shows the correct number of times, then this is the animal to be called out. If two animals show that many times, again, it is the animal not represented that is the target. To further complicate matters, the poachers use a similar odd-man-out system to possibly eliminate one animal die, which can drastically change what the target animal should be.
A correct answer earns the player a trophy of the animal's color. An incorrect answer loses all points in that color. There is the chance to score with an answer of 'none,' which earns a trophy of any color. Calling out 'none' incorrectly, however loses ALL points earned. A player wins when he or she has 2 trophies of each color.
Bongo is attractively packaged in a small can that can be used as a dice cup for the nine big, chunky dice. This is a good opener or closer for a game evening, and since the poacher dice are optional, the game can be made simpler or harder as desired.
If you like pattern recognition games, or games that can be played in under a minute per round, you should definitely consider Bongo.
This a dice game from Bruno Faidutti, who in recent years has been developing a series of lighthearted, easy-paced games across a range of publishers.
This one is at the lighter end of the scale, but requires more concentration than you might think from a glance at the components. In some respects the game is like Corona from Ravensburger, where the dice are thrown and all players consider what are the best options for the current play. A more recent example of this type of game is Ricochet Robot. (Described by the author as 'stupid, fun games', I think you can see where this is positioned in games society.)
The puzzle in Bongo is to announce which animal is visible to the question posed by the roll of 7 dice (*). Two yellow dice (each numbered 1-3 twice over) determine the number part of the equation: if they show the same number, (two 1s, 2s or 3s), that is the number; if they show different numbers (a 1 and a 2, for example), then the number is the number not shown (a 3 in my example).
The second part of the equation is the choice of animal. The five beige coloured dice show a combination of animals. Choosing the number of animals that match the number part of the equation earns a player a token (blue for rhino, red for antelope, black for gnu). The players shout out the answer (Pit style, if you've had too much to drink; or Clifford style, if you've had enough). The winner is the person who gets two tokens in each colour. "But wait!", I hear you cry. What happens if you get two animals that match the number part of the solution? The answer is the other animal (of course). Or what about the situation where none of the animals match the number required? The answer is you shout 'nothing', if you have got this far.
Why is the game so daft? Because apart from requiring a level of concentration that you do not want to put into a game that lasts 10 minutes, the designers or publishers have made the symbols on the dice for the animals, really similar (of course). The solid shading around the gnu's ears is designed to look like the rhino's horns and the antelope's horns. So you can't easily decide what has been thrown, which add to the fun (of course).
However, the game does work; it just drives you mad! So I am afraid that my conclusion is that this game is well suited to a select group of people: children, who may find the game fun; the suicidal, who find that life can't get any worse and desert island gamers, who have already gone mad waiting to escape. You may ask where I fit into this particular set. There is a fourth (smaller group) of people who buy as many games as possible at Essen. I stand accused.
(*) If you are really feeling masochistic, there are 2 more dice to roll that add a further level of complication. I really could not put you through that though.