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Subject: Monkey Madness - THE Toddler's Gateway Game? rss

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Nick Pitman
Scotland
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Probably the Best First Children's Game (Age 18 months and up)

I almost did not post a review of this game as the review by Julie (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/296557) covers pretty much everything I would say. But then I decided the more good press this game gets the better. So I will keep it short.

Components
7 little plastic Monkeys in each of 4 different colours, 4 little gameboards in matching colours, rules and a kind of low quality plastic draw bag.

Gameplay
Each player chooses one of the four coloured gameboards (with two players you can have two each). The first player delves into the bag and draws a monkey - if it is their colour they place it on their board and pass the bag to the next player. If the monkey is another player's colour they the pass it to that player and draw again. Repeat until one player has filled their board.

Reasons to Love It
- Top of the list has to be how very young children can play this. All they need to be able to do is enjoy putting their hand in a bag and pulling out plastic monkeys. You can help them place them and tell them when to pass the bag. My daughter has been playing since about 18 months and is now just over two. It shares the bag drawing mechanic with Go Away Monster! but she only really started to enjoy this once she got the concept whereas coloured monkeys from a bag was always intrinsically fun. Even now Monkey Madness is still her favourite game.
- Did I mention that pulling stuff from a bag is just plain fun?
- Win-win : you get a monkey of your colour. WIN. You get a monkey of someone else's colour, go again. WIN.
- Everyone is involved all the time. When it is not your turn you never know when someone will draw one of YOUR monkeys and give it to you. The suspense!
- Almost no setup time and plays very quickly.
- Can be manipulated. It is important to teach children to be good losers, but occasionally it is important to engineer a win (against the grown-up). You could hide one of your monkeys in the box so you cannot win. Or when they are not looking palm one of your monkeys to drop back in the bag later.
- It teaches turn taking and colour matching.
- As Julie brought home to me in her review: children love laying things out and lining them up. Putting each monkey in it's place on the board appeals to this nature.

Anything Bad?
- There is not a strict take one turn then pass it on mechanic which I suppose could get confusing. Maybe.
- No decisions involved. But do any games at this age level really have that?
- The plastic drawbag is a bit rubbish. A cloth one would be nice.

Bottom Line
Looking for a First Game for a very young child? Buy it. End of story. I am aware of no other contender.

 
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W M Shubert
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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Hooray!

I agree, this is the best game there is for the under-2 set. My daughter enjoyed it up until age 3, then she lost interest, but until then you could just say "Monkey Game!" to her and she would jump up and down with joy!
 
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Don
Canada
Ontario
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Just to add to anyone reading this: Make sure you get the right Monkey Madness Game! A few months ago William recommended Monkey Madness to me.

William recommended this game: Monkey Madness . This is a great game for toddlers.

I mistakenly picked up this game: Monkey Madness . It was crap.
 
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W M Shubert
United States
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Lockridge wrote:
Just to add to anyone reading this: Make sure you get the right Monkey Madness Game! A few months ago William recommended Monkey Madness to me.

William recommended this game: Monkey Madness

I mistakenly picked up this game: Monkey Madness . It was crap.
This one is a great game for toddlers.
GAAHHHH!!! I never knew about the other Monkey Madness.

It's not like Ravensburger is a small publisher in the games industry, so I would expect Milton Bradley to avoid releasing a game with the same name just two years later. Somebody must have been asleep at the wheel when that happened.
 
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Behrooz Shahriari
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Nick,

My niece is now 26 months but can still barely speak... (She is kinda trilinguial so it's not the fault of her intelligence.) Of course I understand that the figure of '18' months is relative but I have a serious question:

Do you think that introducing this game (or, indeed, any game) 'too early' to a child would fill them with confusion and resentment for that game?

Or, worse, maybe she'd have a more generalised resentment. Maybe forever hating bags or something...

This seems like a great gift but I'm deciding between possibly taking it to her this August or maybe later. Of course, this assumes that I can get the game, since amazon only sells the MB version.

Edit: My maths isn't good enough to calculate the exact probabilities but having 6 or your own monkeys and 7 of the child's should mean that you win 1/3 of the time, I think. Essentially, I approve heartily of being able to put in an extra monkey for the child. It'd be even better if there were more of a discrepancy. Maybe for 2 players, each has 2 colours (you put in 6 monkeys of each of your colours vs 7 of each of theirs). That would definitely swing it more in their favour. Maybe someone would be helpful enough to explain the exact probabilities?

I don't like the idea of fixing games so that toddlers never lose though I definitely like the idea of severe handicaps. I don't want to take the thread off-topic (if this is off-topic) but actually forcing a win (for them) seems like a step too far, somehow.
 
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W M Shubert
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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26 months is not too early for Monkey Madness. My daughter played this game well before she could speak in complete sentence.

And I've never noticed children developing resentment over a game. If it's too early for them, they just won't like it, so you put it on the shelf for another few months then try again.
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Behrooz Shahriari
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This game has proven very, very difficult to obtain. In its place, I purchased hungry hippos. I think that the frantic nature of hitting the hippos is confusing and when combined with the concept of obeying rules, sharing etc. can be a bit much.

I hypothesise that the slower-paced nature of Monkey Madness would be more conducive to pleasant demeanours that are willing to follow such niceties. No doubt, Knizia realised that turn-based games are better for this age than real-time stuff. When timing is removed from the equation, guidance seems far more possible.

Anyway, I now have TWO reasons to buy this game (!) and buying this game is very high on my list of priorities.

IT IS A MISSION!
 
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Pamela Tan
Singapore
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yeah, I've been looking out for this game to buy for at least 4 years now, and it's impossible to come by it. If you can find it, you can consider Haba's Muh & Mäh - I dun have it, but from what I read it's like an improved version of Monkey Madness.
 
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