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Ants in the Pants Board Game Review and Rules

How to Play | Review | Final Verdict | Comments

How to Play

Objective

To be the first player to get all four of their ants inside the pair of pants.

Setup

Attach the suspenders to the pair of pants and put the pants in the middle of the play area. Each player takes the four ants of one color.

Playing the Game

All of the players start flipping their ants into the air at the same time. Players press down on the back of the ants and when they release their finger the ant launches into the air. The goal is to get all of your ants into the pair of pants. Any ant that misses the pants needs to be picked up and re-shot by the player until they are able to get all of their ants into the pair of pants.

Winning the Game

The first player to get all four of their ants into the pair of pants wins the game.

Winning Ants in the Pants
The green player has gotten all four of their ants inside the pair of pants. The green player has won the game.

Review

Ants in the Pants has been a childhood classic for over forty years. As a child I remember playing Ants in the Pants quite a bit and I know I really enjoyed the game. Ants in the Pants is the epitome of simplicity. The game has essentially two rules. Press on the back of the ants in order to launch them into the air and aim for the pair of pants. For a game so simple and yet still fun it is not surprising that Ants in the Pants has become a children’s classic.

The question is whether the game is actually also enjoyable for adults. Everyone knows that Ants in the Pants is far from a strategic game. Its’ debatable whether the game even relies on skill or just on luck. Even though I enjoyed the game as a child there was no guarantee that the game would still be good for adults. I have been burned many times before when a game I loved as a child turned out to be a pretty bad/stupid game for adults. After playing a couple rounds of Ants in the Pants I have to say that the game was more enjoyable than I was expecting.

This isn’t to say that Ants in the Pants is a great game for adults. It is better than a lot of children’s games though since the game is meant for children but adults can still enjoy it in short doses. Although the game relies heavily on luck, Ants in the Pants is a game that you enjoy for a couple quick rounds. I mean really quick since you can usually finish a round in 2-5 minutes. I wouldn’t play the game very often but for nostalgia purposes I would bring the game out every so often.

I wonder if Ants in the Pants mostly relies on luck or if there is skill to the game. Some players are better at the game than others so you would think that the game has some sense of skill to it. I agree that the more you play the game the better you will get at it. If for some reason you want to be a master of Ants in the Pants you could probably get to the point where you could make almost every shot. I don’t think anyone would ever want to become an Ants in the Pants master though.

Unless you master the game I think the game is more luck than skill. Obviously you need enough skill to put the right amount of pressure on the ant and aim it properly but I think you are mostly relying on luck. The ants are far from precise and they generally just fly anywhere so you need to get lucky that they fly in the right direction. While aiming can have some impact on the game I don’t see Dicecapades as a game where aiming has a huge impact on the game. I think you mostly need to just get lucky to have the ant fly into the pants.

While I liked Ants in the Pants considerably more than I was expecting I have to admit that I have the same gripe with it that I have with every other game where you need to launch pieces into the air. Just like all of these other games you have to waste a bunch of time picking up your pieces after missing the pants. At least in the games I played you spend more time picking up ants than actually shooting them. This creates issues where players have to either waste time retrieving other people’s ants instead of shooting their own or players have to run all over the room picking up their ants. There really isn’t anything the game could have done with this problem either. It is too bad that none of these “launching” games were ever able to find a way to eliminate this problem.

Being a game made for children I have to say that Ants in the Pants is a great game for younger children. The game is really easy to play and has enough excitement/energy to keep children entertained. I know I loved the game as a child. I loved flipping the ants into the air. I can’t imagine children today not also loving the game.

Some other quick thoughts:

  • I wish the game would include more than four ants of each color. I think the game would be a lot more entertaining if players got more ants. This would have made each round longer and the game would be more interesting since players couldn’t win by just making a couple lucky shots.
  • Being a board game classic, Ants in the Pants is a really cheap game. You can usually find a copy of the game for around $10 shipped online.

Final Verdict

While Ants in the Pants is not a fantastic game, it was actually better than I was expecting. The game is so simple but for some reason it is still pretty fun for adults and is a blast for children. While I would only play the game occasionally (for nostalgia) it is a game that I would actually come back to every so often. If you are looking for a strategic/challenging game, Ants in the Pants is definitely not it. If you have fond memories of the game or are looking for a game for younger children though you can’t go wrong with Ants in the Pants.

If you are interested in purchasing Ants in the Pants you can purchase it on Amazon here.

Are you interested in other Schaper Manufacturing Company games? Check out our article on the Schaper Manufacturing Company for more information about the company that created Ants in the Pants with a complete list of all of the games made by Schaper.

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