In a mad dash, you and the other players race to rescue as many monkeys from the lab as you can before the alarm sounds! Unfortunately, the tests the monkeys have endured have left many different lasting effects to them. They may help or hinder your movement and not only that, the other players are effected by the beaker of experimental cologne that was knocked over and causing a player to think they are in competition with each other. This leads everyone to trying to slow you down or take your monkeys. With bananas and pooh being flung at you in all directions, you must get them out fast and avoid getting knocked out by your fellow opponents!
Publisher: Topwise Games, LLC
Game Designer: Will Statesczny
Artwork: Rick Menard
Players: 2 – 6 players
Playing Time: 15 – 60 minutes
Game Mechanics: Battle Card Hand Management, Campaign
Contents: 182 playing cards, 2 six-sided dice, game instructions
Suggested Retail Price: Currently on Kickstarter
Parental Advisory: Safe for kids
Monkeys Need Love Too is the first game to come from Topwise Games, LLC. It’s a fast paced, card game that is based on lots of action. Players compete to get as many monkeys free as possible from the lab and the genetic testing being done on them before the alarm sounds and the authorities arrive. Players attempt to steal monkeys from each other, feed their monkeys with bananas and attempt to knock each other out to be the player with the most monkeys rescued by the end of the game.
The game comes with three separate decks of cards. The Flinging Poo Deck (dark blue back,) The To The Trees Deck (red back) and the extra Banana cards (light blue back) that form a separate deck to make changes when feeding your monkeys bananas.
The game is divided into two phases. The Flinging Poo Phase and To The Trees.
The Flinging Poo Phase – Draw till you have 5 cards in you hand. Put any bananas you draw in your backpack and draw again. Then you may play one Monkey card and one Action card. Finally, you feed your monkeys with the bananas in your back pack according the amount of bananas required by the icon in the top right corner of any monkey card played out in front of the players. In this phase, players at any time may eat 2 bananas and throw the peels at an opponent. Then the targeted players rolls dice to determine if they slip on the peel and get knocked causing them to lose a turn. A player may not eat more than 12 bananas in one turn.
The To The Trees Phase – This phase is simply each player drawing one card from the To The Trees Deck (red back) and reading the card and following the text.
Monkeys Need Love Too is a kind of “take that” card game. Players try to play their hand to the best of their ability to free monkeys and not all of these monkeys are advantageous to have played down in front of you. Some require more bananas than others to feed or have negative effects. Players also play action cards against each other in an attempt to slow them down or steal monkeys to their play area. When the No Coco, No!!! card is drawn from the draw deck, the game then moves into the To The Trees phase, unless a player has an action card that negates the No Coco, No!!! card. The To The Trees cards are completely random text cards that determine how many monkeys you escape with.
The copy of the game I received was a prototype so I can’t speak to the final quality of the game but the artwork included is “cute” and fits the game itself. The text is somewhat funny and is a decent attempt at providing theme and atmosphere.
Unfortunately, this game just want a hit with anyone I played it with. Not even my 11-year-old daughter. Not only is strategy very limited in this game, it can easily be altered by other players cards or even the To The Tree Card you receive at the end of the game, but the game it’s self is complete chaos. So if that is an issue for you, this game does not fit your gaming style at all. I have brought this game to my gaming group on three different occasions and no one was attracted to it or even had an interest in playing it. Now to be fair, this was right after GenCon and a few people had their “haul” of games they just had to play, so that should be factored into the equation.
Monkeys Need Love Too left me feeling a bit flat. I didn’t really like the fact that after all the time of building up my number of monkeys to free, that the one random red card could kill half of them and someone who was nowhere near as effective as I was in the first phase of play, could now win the game based on a very lucky 1 card draw. Also, it is very tough to keep your monkeys fed every round let alone eat bananas to try to knock out other opponents. Plus the end of the game is completely random base on the shuffle of the deck. There is no mechanism in the game to put the No Coco, No!!! cards say somewhere in the last ten cards so you know how much time left to play. This game could be over in 5 minutes.
I also found the action cards to be very repetitive and that bothers me in a card game. I believe that more play testing and different action cards would have helped the feel of the game. That being said, the monkeys may have text that makes them immune to certain action cards, so having a few of the same makes that monkey more useful, but still. I would have liked at least 3 or 4 more action cards to give it more variety.
The rules sheet needs a bit of work as well. For such a simple game it should be quite this hard to pick it up. Also there was absolutely no rules for a tie-breaker which I found quite a bit odd.
Thematically, it falls a bit short for me too. I know it’s a quick card game and I know that Topwise Games, LLC did an admirable job of creating a cute theme for the game, but it just didn’t really pull through for me. Does that mean it doesn’t exist? Not at all, it just didn’t draw me into the theme. It really just feels like a “take that” game to me.
When playing Monkeys Need Love Too, it should be considered that this is a very light game. For my group, it just didn’t have anything new to really add that would either draw them away from card games they already love or from the prospect of playing other new games that are already blinged out and look much more interesting to play.
So in my final conclusion my feelings are this. Monkeys Need Love Too isn’t a bad game. It’s just an okay game. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table that makes me want to spend money on it. With a monkey theme, this would have been a great game to really market for kids but it falls a bit flat in my opinion. That being said, for people who love quick, random games, you may love this one! There is a bit of strategy, there is a cute theme and for people not as picky as I, it may be just the ticket for a good opener or filler game. If someone collects monkeys though, this should probably be in their collection.
Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):
Rules Book: 6
Component Quality: N/A
Club Fantasci Overall Score: 6
I am giving 6 out 10 stars because it while it wasn’t a bad game, it wasn’t a great game. It is a serviceable game, meaning it plays okay, it might be fun now and then but in reality, it would only be pulled out once in a great while. There are many other games that do what this game is trying to do much better.
Kickstarter Page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/topwisegames/monkeys-need-love-too
Board Game Geek Page: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/164600/monkeys-need-love-too
Company Website: http://www.topwisegames.com/
Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TopwiseGames
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/TopwiseGames
Company Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106824057567065600210/posts
Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.
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