Monkeys on the Moon Review
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Players: 2-4 (ages 10+)
Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

Monkeys on the Moon is another creative card game from the guys at Eight Foot Llama. They make very inventive and compelling games that have surprisingly detailed play mechanics. Monkeys on the Moon is so detailed, though, that it can be somewhat confusing for casual card game players. If you like Uno, you probably won’t like this game. It’s made for more die-hard gamers. But I’m a die-hard gamer, so I found the game to be quite interesting.

In Monkeys on the Moon, players advance monkey civilizations, acquire monkeys through bidding, and launch them back home to Earth (how they got on the moon in the first place is anyone’s guess). The path of victory lies in launching the most monkeys from the most advanced civilizations. This is best when you balance your favor between each monkey civilization and keep them as high as possible.

Each of the six monkey tribes is represented by a specific color: brown, black, green, blue, red, and purple. Tribal favor is represented by their own colored coins and is used to bid on monkeys. If you completely run out of favor for a tribe, you run the risk of receiving that tribe’s monkey scorn. Scorn by a tribe makes it harder to acquire monkeys, and it also costs more victory points if you still have it when the game ends.

Monkeys you win can be placed on spaceships and sent back to Earth for victory points. Players earn bonuses if they pay attention to the rivalries between the different monkey civilizations and can manage to fill up their ships before sending them home. At the end of the game, each tribe grants titles to certain players that they favor, and these titles translate to victory points. For example, the player who launches the most valuable red monkeys during the game would become their Supreme Leader and, as such, would earn seven victory points that count toward his or her total. Every tribe is counted this way, and the player with the most victory points—including bonuses—in the end is the winner.

As I said earlier, this is a nifty game, but it’s not the easiest to understand. There are a lot of game pieces to keep track of, and that can get confusing. The tribes are kept in a circle, which helps you remember which tribes like each other (the ones that are next to each other) and which tribes hate each other (the ones that are opposite each other), and their favor coins are placed on top of them.

That being said, the card design is ripe with fun and color. This is where Eight Foot Llama seems to shine, as none of their games look like anything I’ve ever played—and that keeps their games fresh and interesting. I would recommend this to people who like overtly goofy but smart card games. (Is that a strange mix?) I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

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