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Subject: How did I get here? A meandering review rss

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Julie Taylor
Canada
Waterloo
ON
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When I first met my husband we were in a play together and hit it off quite well. A friend asked me if I'd ever date him. I wrinkled my nose in response, "I don't think so, he's a gamer. I don't think I could date a gamer." A year later I had succumbed to his charms and we fell in love. As you may well guess shortly after that, I had my first game of Settlers of Catan. (Incidentally I won that game. I was playing against three serious gamers who were so intent on slamming each other that nobody noticed that they were all making trades with the nice, unassuming girl who didn't know what she was doing.) That game was a huge surprise to me. After years of playing crappy roll and move games with my brother and being bored to tears it was a total shock to me that you could benefit on a turn that wasn't your own. It was a shock that you could be interested while you waited. That you could plan and hope and be involved for a whole hour.

Since then I have become a casual gamer. Husband and I now have 2 kids (4 and 2) and I have started collecting games for them in the hopes that we'll spend many happy family hours together. The 4 year old is loving it, the 2 year old loves it too, but is fairly limited in what he can do. But they both LOVE Monkey Madness. I was disappointed then when I read some of the comments criticising it, and I wanted to just point out why (after MANY plays) my children love it and how I think it must feel similar to them as that first experience of Settlers was for me.

PULLING MONKEYS OUT OF THE BAG
So simple that a two year old can understand it. And love it. And gets outrageously excited when it's his turn. And if you think pulling stuff from a bag is mundane, you need to consider Seafarers of Catan. We have found in Seafarers that in the exploration game (where you reach into a bag to pull out a tile of either water or land) that the player who stays on the mainland and never explores wins 90% of the time. Yet, most people we play with can't stop that urge to go exploring and see what they get. Drawing from the bag is just plain fun. Tense, thrilling, fun.

RECEIVING MONKEYS WHEN IT'S NOT YOUR TURN
But wait, the kids aren't just excited on their own turn, they eagerly watch during the turns of the other players. This is because their colour could get pulled, and given to them, next. It's that same feeling that I first had in Settlers; something great can happen at any moment, wheeeeee.

PUTTING MONKEYS ON YOUR CARD
Children often have a sense of wanting to put things in their place, like lining up toy cars or pencils end to end. Putting your monkey in the perfect spot can be very satisfying for young children.

So if you think that Monkey Madness sounds simple, it is. But dull? Not for a small child, it's not. While I won't be pulling it out after bed time, I'd strongly recommend it for anyone with very small children. In my opinion, it is the best first game you can get. There are very few games on the market that work at a pre-numeracy level. My son is too young to understand numbers (or even colours) on a die roll, but drawing monkeys from a bag, he gets. And loves. For those of you who have criticised Knizia saying that Monkey Madness is beneath him, I'd say that he is brilliant for understanding the limitations of small children and catering a game to them that can be fully understood and enjoyed.

So here I find myself, 12 years after saying that I'd never date a gamer, raising two little geeks, looking forward to my next games night and defending a silly, simple little game for kids. I never could have predicted this life, but I love it, and hope to foster that same enjoyment in the wee bambinos. And as such, I'm thankful for a game that warmly welcomes a 2 year old into the hobby.
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rupert rompecabezas
United States
Jonesboro
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Excellent points. I've found Monkey Madness can appeal to children as old as 8. With them, more trash talk and "no whammies" come out, and they particularly like to rub it in when someone else pulls a monkey for them. Plus, it plays so fast that a loss is quickly forgotten.
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skrebs
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Davis
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And don't forget that the monkeys fit perfectly on the ends of small fingers! That's good for five to ten minutes right there!
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Julie Taylor
Canada
Waterloo
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skrebs wrote:
And don't forget that the monkeys fit perfectly on the ends of small fingers! That's good for five to ten minutes right there!


I can't believe I hadn't noticed that. Fantastic. Thanks for mentioning it.
 
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