Problem Picnic Attack of the Ants is the second game published by Kids Table Board Gaming. Their first game, Food Fighters is a unique war-style game that we enjoyed playing, so backing Problem Picnic on Kickstarter was an easy decision. Problem Picnic relies heavily on motor skills and dexterity, which is great for younger players.
To begin the game, players choose to either be pink, blue, green or yellow ants, which are represented by different colored dice that vary in shape and size. Food cards are laid out in the middle of the playing area and each player attempts to roll their ant dice onto a food card. Once all players have rolled all of their ant dice, the player with the most ants on a food card gets to keep that card.
Each shape and size of the dice have special abilities. The smallest dice have up to 3 ants on their sides, and if they’re rolled without landing on a food card or hitting another die, they can be rolled one additional time. The standard-size have up to 4 ants on their sides and will beat the smaller dice if there is a tie for number of ants on a food card. The 12-sided dice only go up to 2 ants of the sides, but they will beat the smaller and standard-sized dice if there is a tie. You also always get your 12-sided die back at the end of the round.
Depending on the number of players, the food card layouts will vary. The more players, the more cards will be available to try win. Once everyone has rolled all of their dice and collected their cards, they flip them over and arrange the plates in a specific order to try to earn bonus points at the end of the game. My 4 year-old thought this portion of the game was boring, so we opt to not utilize that aspect when playing with her. Playing with older children and adults, it adds a welcomed extra touch of strategy.
Any ant dice that land on a food card that round then get placed onto the puddle card where they will not be able to be rolled until they wait another round. The only exception to this rule is the 12-sided dice, which are always returned to the players.
A round card is then flipped over to signal the end of the round and it also assigns a special ability to the player with the fewest food cards. 5 round cards are randomly chosen to keep track of rounds and to give extra abilities.
Special abilities can vary from placing a wine bottle in front of food card to block your opponent (available as an add-on), throwing a cardboard frisbee at your opponents dice to knock them off food cards (available as an add-on), squishing your opponents ants with a big cardboard shoe to send them to the puddle card, using a honey stick to make your dice touch a food card, spraying food with ant poison, etc.
Using these special abilities is where the game can get really competitive and lets players attack each other. My daughter actually disliked this aspect the most, so while playing with her, we just use the round cards to keep track of how many have passed.
Once all rounds have passed, you then award points for the plate arrangement bonus cards (if used), and also by using the main scoring card. We like to keep the points that are randomly assigned to the main scoring card a secret until the end by keeping them on the question mark side facing up. Whoever has the most of each piece of food gets a point token as well as the most of each color of plate. Points are then totaled to determine a winner.
Overall, Problem Picnic Attack of the Ants has been a huge hit in our house. I’ve already played it almost 2 dozen times with different rules. Sometimes we play the full game, sometime we omit the bonus cards, sometimes we omit the special abilities, but regardless of how you play, it’s always a really fun family game. I highly recommend this game to families.