[Review] Monkey Memory
- As I've stated in other reviews, I really enjoy the "Bright Idea
Games" line from Playroom Entertainment. The games, most of them
designed by Reinhard Staupe, are tremendous games for children, simple
and easy to play, yet often entertaining for adults. Monkey Memory
(Playroom Entertainment, 2005 - Reinhard Staupe), a reissue of Wo ist
die Kokosnuss by Amigo, is my favorite of the lot.
Monkey Memory is one of the hardest memory games I've played yet is
astoundingly simple. When I teach the game to people - and I've
taught it to dozens, they initially think that the game will be
extremely simplistic and easy. They're right on the first count, but
most people guess wrong during playing. This makes the game a lot of
fun, and it's amusing to watch a four year old beat a group of adults,
when they KNOW they should win!
Each player (up to eight can play) takes a solution card, that has a
picture of ten different items on it (banana, popsicle, cell phone,
backpack, keys, shoe, travel bag, watch, coconut, and book). A pile
of 22 point cards are placed on the table (+1 on one side, +5 on the
other.) One player is chosen to go first and picks seven of the ten
objects to use. Each object has a matching pair of cards that goes
with it, and one of each card is laid in the middle of the table for
all to see. The other card in each pair is shuffled, with one of the
cards removed and set aside (no one knows what card it is).
The dealer then shows each card from the shuffled cards, one at a
time, placing each card on top of the last, and flipping the whole
stack over when they are done. Everyone then must simultaneously
point to the picture on their solution card that matches the missing
card. The set aside card is revealed, and everyone who is correct
gets a point, taking one "+1" card, flipping one of them over if they
get five. The next player becomes the dealer, and the game continues.
Once everyone has been the dealer twice, the game ends, and the
player with the most points is the winner!
Some comments on the game…
1.) Components: The game comes in a small box (illustrated by
monkeys) with a cardboard insert that holds the cards in the game
well. The cards are of extremely thick cardboard and are incredibly
durable. My set has seen heavy (15+ times) play, and I can't tell
that the cards are used at all thanks to their sturdiness and white
borders. The choice of objects are well done, and it's not possible
to mix them up, as none of them remotely look like the others. Using
double-sided point cards is a nice touch, as it helps my daughter
learn to convert numbers to five, which is very helpful.
2.) Rules: The rules, which come in several languages, take only four
pages in a little rules booklet. They are fully illustrated and
colored with some examples of how to play. The game is remarkably
easy to teach - my daughter brought some friends over to the house who
didn't speak any English; yet using simply pantomime, I was able to
teach the game, which they then played and had a blast!
3.) Memory: Some people don't like memory games, and I don't think
this one will change their minds; but it's the best memory game I've
played, because it's fast, simple, and everyone has a chance. Have
you ever played Memory Match with someone who guesses all the matches
before you have a chance to go? Here that problem is solved by having
everyone go simultaneously. Players also have a choice at how fast
they reveal the cards, which makes the game easier or harder. I
personally like to deal the cards as fast as possible, making the game
more of a challenge.
4.) Difficulty: The difficulty of the game can easily be increased or
decreased by changing the number of objects on the table. Try the
game with all ten cards - you'll be surprised at how hard it can be!
I personally like playing with eight or nine - harder than the normal
game, but not quite as hard as ten. My five year old daughter and I
are about equal in the game; I'm a little better, but she's gaining
5.) Fun Factor: Monkey Memory is one of those games where I can pull
it out and teach it (in about thirty seconds), play the game, and put
it away before anyone really knows what happens. Everyone has fun for
a bit, and then the game's gone, leaving a good taste in everyone's
minds. The game is a lot of fun because it challenges so much.
Everyone I've taught the game to always assumes they've gotten it
right on the first try; but invariably they don't, which makes them
try even harder on subsequent deals. In this way, Monkey Memory hooks
If you only get one game from the Bright Idea Games line, Monkey
Memory is the one to snag. It's a good, short, memory game that's
perfect for groups of adults, groups of adults and children, and
groups of children. Even with the twenty-three year age gap between
my daughter and me, we still had a tremendous time, and I even played
the game with a bunch of pre-schoolers and kindergarteners, and they
all had fun and did well. There are very few games that appeal to
young children and still work well with adults. Monkey Memory is one
of the best.
"Real men play board games."