Updated: Oct 17, 2020
If you think this game is crazier than a barrel load of monkeys, it's probably because there are barrel loads of monkeys incorporated into the game. So, yes, this game is bananas! Banana Hammock is a fast-playing 'take that' set collection card game where the 2-4 players are trying to amass the most points by creating 'crates' (mostly pairs) of matching banana cards and using monkey cards to screw over the other players.
Game play simply involves drawing a card and playing either a monkey card or any number of banana cards. The scoring details and crating requirements are clearly shown on each of the banana cards, and just as each monkey card has action text showing its effect, so too do the banana cards, showing the effect of the crated sets. There's inevitably a lot of 'take that' interaction as you monkey around with your opponents, and there's often not a lot you can do to protect yourself from monkey tricks; tho' if your opponents are playing monkey cards you at least have the satisfaction of knowing that they are rather less likely to be scoring for any banana crates this turn.
Designed by Mario Battaglia, Mark Rivinius and Peter Krentz, with kooky art by Salvador Raga, Banana Hammock is a light and light-hearted game. There's scope for some tactics in deciding how best to play the cards you draw but this is a game you'll be playing for fun rather than deep strategy: there's no point overthinking your hand because another player might just play a monkey card on you that forces you to trade all your cards. Banana Peel cards can be used to defend against marauding monkeys and their special effects but you won't be able to protect your crates from all chaos. It's tempting to try to secure a commanding crate score but, especially when you play with four, you'll be painting a target on your back: there will almost certainly be a troop of monkeys on the way to chomp on your bananas.
We've had a lot of fun with this bananas game. Our one gripe is that the cards are printed with black at the edge, making them prone to accidental marking. It means this is a game you'll probably want to sleeve.
Publishers Mind Ramen Games have brought Banana Hammock to Kickstarter. Click here to link to the campaign. Oh, and if you're wondering about the hammock in the name of the game, it's a place to put a card into reserve so that it can be called upon on a future turn without counting towards your (5 card max) hand size. Insofar as we are aware, no skimpy male swimming briefs were used in the production of this game.