The old adage ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is one I’m generally aware of and thankful for – but in the case of ‘Monki’, I had a serious case of this, thanks to its lovely graphic design and appealing packaging. That’s partly because the Monki box does its best to show off the great pair of cartoony plastic orangutan playing pieces it comes with.

The game itself is a push-your-luck set collecting game, which sees two players competing to be head of the Monki tribe of orangutans. To do this, players must carefully position themselves in the fruit-laden temple and uncover the hidden treats within; they can uncover fruit tiles one at a time, ‘banking’ them if they choose at which point their turn ends.

Or they can keep turning tiles over, but as soon as they uncover a piece of fruit that matches one they’ve already revealed, their turn ends and they collect nothing.

Golden fruit can also be uncovered, which is offered to the temple statues when revealed. Players can use their ruby fruit tokens to claim specific types of fruit from the temples and may pass so as to refresh their rubies.

With the end of the game arriving when a player collects all four types of green AND blue fruit or just all four varieties of golden fruit, it’s a fast-paced and compelling race to the top of the Monki tribe’s pecking order!

The game itself is a brilliantly straightforward experience, which takes a few minutes to learn and is helped by some very useful examples of play in the nicely laid out, clearly written rulebook. It’s truly elevated by the wonderful components though – the two orangutan pieces really are beautiful, appealing and very distinctive; one of them being a hairier, chunkier design and the other being a more slender, whimsically styled creation.

The temple and fruit tiles give the game a feel not unlike a gem-matching video game, with lovely details that truly make the illustrations – by Camille Chaussy – pop off the nicely thick cardboard. It’s a game that’s likely to see a lot of table time and should withstand plenty of play; especially as games usually come in at around the 10-15 minute mark. It’s incredibly addictive and the temptation for just one more game is always there.

Designers Antoni Guillen and Jean Pineau have created a wonderful title with Monki; it’s a game that can be played and understood by the whole family, though do be warned that it’s strictly a two player experience only. The components and general visual design do a lot to add an extra layer of appeal to the already excellent gameplay – its pick-up-and-play near-immediacy and compelling push-your-luck elements are genuinely addictive, making this a great addition to the collection of any gamer, regardless of their age or experience level.

You can purchase Monki from Amazon at this link. Disclaimer: if you do, I may earn a small commission, which helps to keep my site up and running!

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