Too Many Monkeys is probably the game we play most after Dobble. It’s fast paced, easy for kids to play straightaway, and although it’s a chance based game, which makes it great for mixed aged play, it never becomes dull or frustrating. Its secret is in its fast rhythm and the possibility that everything could change in an instant.
How to play:
The rules are simple. Everyone starts with six cards face down. Players take turns to draw a card from the central deck and replace it face up with any of their starting cards in numerical order. So if you draw number one you swap it with your first face down card, if you draw number three you swap it with your third card and so on. If the swapped card’s number corresponds to the position of another of your face down cards you swap it again and so on until you can’t swap anymore and have to discard the card in your hand. Play then moves to the next player and keeps going round until someone has turned over all their cards. The winner then starts the next round with one less face down card. As a result it’s not uncommon at the start of a round for someone to have only two cards face down and another to still have six.
What we love about this game:
The beauty of this game is that being so far behind or in front doesn’t necessarily guarantee you will win or lose. As the winner reduces his/her face down cards the chance of drawing useable cards also reduces. While the leader is desperately trying to draw a one or a two, another player could hit a winning steak and turn over all their cards consecutively and soon start catching up. The fact that everything can suddenly change makes the game exciting. It ramps up the tension for the full length of the game and is especially good for kids who get despondent if they think they’re losing early on. Add to this the wild cards, cards that make others miss a go or have to turn their cards face down again, and you have the making of a simple but thoroughly enjoyable family friendly game. Can you tell it’s one of my favourites?!
It’s for 2-6 players and officially ages 6 plus, but as long as kids know their number line from 1-6, younger ages would be fine. We played with N from 4 years and you could always write out the number line for the youngest children to place their cards next to if needed. Too Many Monkeys is one of those games we are always searching for: genuinely fun competitive game play between adults and kids. It’s another classic from Gamewright!