One fell off and bumped its head

This post originally appeared on my old blog: PinkMeeple

Too Many Monkeys - Mid Game (2nd round)Gamewright has proven yet again they can make a simple game that can be taught in just minutes and that my daughter has fun playing. Note: I’ve only played it with two players so far, so I can’t speak to a higher player count.

In Too Many Monkeys, the deck is composed of 55 cards numbered 1 – 6 as well as these special cards:

* Elephant and Giraffe cards – Ends your turn
* Orangutan card – Wild card
* Raccoon card – Search through the discard pile for a card you want
* Skip card – Assigned to another player, that player skips their next turn
* Do Not Disturb Card – Flip upside down any opponent’s card (more on this later)

Special Ability CardsGameplay: the object of the game is to go from 6 cards in front of you, to 5 then 4 all the way to 1. First player to do that wins. In the first round each player is dealt 6 cards face down in front of them. They can then take the top card from the discard pile and play it or take a card from the draw deck. If they get a number card, they place it in its appropriate numbered spot in front of them. The card that was there gets played. If that’s a number card then it gets placed, et cetera. If a card that is revealed is already face up in front of the player, then she discards that card and their turn is over. If an elephant or giraffe card is revealed, then she discards that card and their turn is over. The game continues to the next player. If a raccoon card is revealed, that layer discards it after they hunt through the discard pile for a card they want. If the orangutan card (wild card) is revealed that can be played in any open position in front of the player. If a card is revealed that can take the place of the wild, the player does so and can then place the wild card in a different location.

Too Many MonkeysIf the player flips over/plays all their cards and shows 1-6 then she wins the round. On the next round she is dealt 5 cards and all other players are dealt 6. Now the sixth card is useless to that player. If they win again then they are dealt 4 cards et cetera. Whomever has one card in front of them and plays a 1 on it is the winner.

Natalya really likes all games from Gamewright; it’s pretty much a no-brainer when you need a game for a kid. This game is a little whacky to explain in words to a kid. I found it easier to just play and show her. Natalya picked it up in one game. There is not a whole lot of strategy here as it is mainly luck driven by what card you pull from the deck or you have hidden in front of you. There is a little “take that” when Natalya pulls a “do not disturb” card and gets to flip a card back to face down in front of me. But other than that…total luck. And that’s ok.

Too Many Monkeys Box

Too Many Monkeys Box

It’s a fast game and plays in about 20 minutes or so. The game is for 2-6 players, ages 6 and up. The art is cute and the component quality is good which is pretty standard from the folks at Gamewright. I recommend it as I do for most games from these folks.

Viel Spaß!

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Best of Lists Bunk

This post originally appeared on my old blog: PinkMeeple

Best Children’s Games

Now there’s a topic I have an issue with. Just because Gulo Gulo or Loopin’ Louie are excellent children’s games doesn’t mean either of them are best for all children. I know this sounds like a “no-brainer” but it irks me just the same.

I made it clear when I started this blog that my gaming choices for my 5 year old daughter Natalya would be age appropriate. As she ages those choices will mature and change as well. My daughter loves Animal Upon Animal which is marked as 4-99. [You can read another of my blog posts about it: here] Now, would my 16 year old son like it? I suppose if he was playing with his little sister but it won’t be his “go-to game.” We’re looking at the start year here folks. I know it all sounds obvious but making a Best Children’s Game video, or podcast or geeklist is ultimately flawed.

Best Children’s Games need to be broken down into sub categories of Best lists. They should be broken down more like this:

Ages: < 3, 3-5, 5-8, 8+, 10+, 12+, 16+

Part of the problem is the gaming industry itself. Hobby games for the 8 and under crowd are hard to find and get even harder as the child gets younger. We all know Parker Brothers has an answer to this with their caucophny of children’s game like Loopin’ Louie, Cooties, Ants in my Pants, Candyland et cetera. Not that these are bad games (well they might be), they are not the usual choice for hobbyists like ourselves, the parents. However, there are two companies that come to mind that can come to our rescue. Haba and Gamewright. Haba has a huge line of beautiful, wonderful and cute little games for the young ones. Haba is hard to find in this country. There are a few on Amazon, but the majority of them are not available in the United States, at least not easily. Your best bet would be to seek out a specialty toy shop or maybe your FLGS can score one. Gamewright games on the other hand are much easier to score. Many of their games are small card-based games. (Granted I am a little partial to them as their headquarters is about 30 minutes from my house.) Go to their web site and check out some of the great offerings.

I think it’s ok to have lists broken down into genres like Best Party Game, Best Area Control Game, Best Worker Placement game, et cetera. But dumping all children’s game into one big box is not going to work. Now considering I am only starting at the low end of the curve here, I am sure a few years from now I will say this entire age-based break down is junk. But for now I think it works. Ask me again a few years from now.

Viel Spaß!

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