Preview: It's Monkey Business and Banana Hoarding in Banana Hammock | Casual Game Revolution

Preview: It's Monkey Business and Banana Hoarding in Banana Hammock

Banana Hammock

Collect bunches of bananas, store them in your crate, secret cards away in your hammock, and send monkeys after your opponents!

Currently on Kickstarter, Banana Hammock is a light, fast playing card game from Mind Ramen Games about collecting as many bananas as you possibly can.

Banana Hammock components


The stack of banana peel cards is set to one side and the main deck of cards is shuffled. Each player is dealt five cards and the game begins.

There are two types of cards: bananas and monkeys. On your turn you start by drawing one card and then may either play one monkey card or any number of banana cards. Monkey cards have various special abilities, such as allowing you to take cards from other players or to mess with the bananas another player has already crated.

When playing banana cards, you must bunch them by type, playing the required number shown on the card into the area in front of you that is your personal crate location. Each type of banana card tells you how many of that banana type needs to be played together in order to bunch them. You may only play bananas into your crate as a bunch, and different types of bananas are worth different amounts of points when in your crate. Certain bananas have special abilities that are active while they are in a crate, while others can be played into the discard pile in order to use their ability.

Some monkey cards will eat a bunch of bananas in a crate. When this happens to your bananas, the bananas are discarded and you draw a banana peel card into your hand for each banana that was eaten. Banana peels can be bunched as well, but can never be eaten (neither can rotten bananas, which are worth negative points and which you can play into an opponent’s crate).

At the end of your turn, you discard down to five cards. Some cards you draw during the course of the game are instant cards and must be played immediately upon being drawn. These will do things such as giving everyone at the table an extra card or causing bananas to be eaten. Instant cards never count towards the card you may play on your turn.

Once on your turn you may interact with your hammock. You may either place a card into your hammock or remove a card from it. While a card is in your hammock it does not count towards your hand limit and is (usually) safe from being discarded.

When the ‘barrel full of danger’ card is drawn on your turn, you draw another card into your hand and then must choose a banana card in your hand to be eaten. If you can, the card is shuffled back into the deck. If you don’t have a banana card that can be eaten, the game ends. The player with the most points wins the game.

Banana Hammock components


Banana Hammock is a light card game with lots of back and forth action between players, take-that abilities, and some clever twists to familiar mechanics.

We enjoyed the flow of turns, choosing between either playing a monkey or several bananas. The text on the cards is also quite self-explanatory, which keeps the game moving at a nice pace. In general, we found the game played quite fast with minimal downtime.

The monkey abilities in the game are varied, ranging from things that defend against other players, ways to attack other players, and things that will simply give you a boost. We enjoyed discovering the abilities and figuring out the best ways to use them.

We found the crate and banana bunches to be a fun scoring mechanism that felt a little different, and the banana abilities add an extra layer of depth to consider when deciding which bananas to attempt to bunch and when.

Banana Hammock’s end game trigger is also clever. You never know exactly when it’s going to be drawn, nor when a player will be unable to discard a banana to stop it. The amount of banana cards in the deck ensures that it’s quite unlikely to trigger too early, but as more and more cards are crated or discarded, and the deck starts to shrink, it becomes more and more suspenseful leading up to the end-game trigger.

We encountered a little trouble learning the game, as the rulebook could clarify a few points. For example, it doesn’t explain what you should do if you draw an instant card during setup. We also found the game box to be larger than needed, making it a less portable game than it could be. However, we liked the artwork style used in the game, and felt that it gave Banana Hammock a lot of personality. It’s a theme that can appeal to kids and families (despite innuendo in the game's title) and the game's humor never goes beyond anything PG at most.

If you enjoy light card games, Banana Hammock is a solid choice. While there are take-that elements, they’re not so strong as to be potentially frustrating, there’s enough luck of the draw to keep things unpredictable, and the hammock ability allows you to hedge your bets a little. Check it out on Kickstarer and see for yourself.

Pros: Fun theme and artwork, lots of player interaction, clever scoring and end game mechanics

Cons: Rules could be clearer, box is larger than necessary

UPDATE: The publisher has clarified that the box has been designed with extra space to accommodate expansions or other content related to this game that may be released in the future. Also, they have agreed to clarify the rules regarding Play Instantly cards.

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.