Looney Labs continues its expanding universe of pyramid gaming with Pink Hijinks. After the review of Ice Dice, it is intriguing to see a similar set up take on a very different game. While the rest of the world has dice, cards, and boards, LL continues to pioneer the land of pyramids.
Pink Hijinks is a game for two players, fourteen-plus years old, and takes only a few minutes to play. It begins with a standardized setup ala chess or checkers, with all of the pyramids stacked in “tree” formation with the small on top of the medium with the large at the base in the middle row of the three-by-three grid. From this position, the pieces may move, as per the instructions, “one space orthogonally (non-diagonally),” which gives us a great new vocabulary word. Players take turns rolling the die, featuring images of the pyramid sizes, and moving the pyramid shown. The goal of the game is to get all three of one size of pyramid onto the home row of the grid or to force all of the pieces onto the opponent’s side.
The first reaction to seeing Pink Hijinks might be, “It’s tic-tac-toe!” On some level, that may be accurate with its simple set-up, but its strategy goes much, much deeper. There are multiple possibilities for each move, again bringing to mind chess and checkers. The board changes with each move, making players rethink each action. With the two potential goals of collecting a trio of like pyramids or giving all of them to the opponent, a player will constantly need to ponder whether to hoard pieces or work to get them away from his or her home row. An additional rule states that a player may move a piece into the opponent’s home row, but, once there, only the opponent may move it. Further, there is no “capturing” of pieces to bring the game to a clearer conclusion, meaning that the players will need to keep up their attentive strategies continuously as pieces change sides.
With all that said about strategy, the die throws monkey-wrenches into every carefully calculated plan. Without the die, the game might descend into a back-and-forth repeat of the same move, but a player never knows what piece he or she might be able to use next. With the die, however, a player could be a single move away from winning but really only have a third of a chance. In many ways, this adds emotion to the logical end of Pink Hijinks. The surge of adrenaline with gambling comes as players pick up the die, hoping for that perfect roll, but then may face the thrill of the universe’s good graces or the agony of bad luck. The rules also state that a player must make a move if possible, perhaps leading him or her to undo the carefully assembled pieces while the opponent gives merciless laughter.
Pink Hijinks is not a game for those who want an unquestionably straightforward logic puzzle like chess as the dice-rolling would drive them crazy. It is also not for those who like their games laidback. It is definitely for those people who want a logical framework upon which the randomness of a die roll can weave. It is quick, easy-to-learn without being simplistic, and mentally stimulating with the edge of luck to shake things up.