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Bryce Journey
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Cheeky Monkey Session Report - Spielbound Board Game Cafe, Omaha NE (Friday, July 22nd 2016)

(demo time)

When Omaha's Spielbound Board Game Cafe opened up a couple of years ago, Cheeky Monkey was one of the first games I tried out with my then-five-year-old Luke. It was the title of the game that attracted me to it and I found the Splendor-esque components nice as well. But underneath the fun title and theme and quality components I found one of the few press-your-luck style games that I actually enjoy. It's not a genre that I'm particularly fond of, but there's something about Cheeky Monkey that keeps drawing me back. Maybe it's the unabashed ruthlessness of the game or the genuine feelings of triumph and dejection that one experiences while playing. But mostly I love how much Luke gets into it. Recently, on the eve of his seventh birthday, we decided to take a break from preparing for his birthday party and host a demo at Spielbound of the game. It turned out to be a slow Friday evening at the board game cafe with no one to play with, but that didn't stop us from having a great time.

(not much to set up in this game - just put the chips in the draw bag and lay out the animal tiles and we're good to go)

Luke got off to a slow start. He had some back luck drawing the same animal back to back and then tried to make up for it by attempting to draw four different animals in a row. But that's the trap of any press your luck game. If you try to overcompensate for bad luck, you're liable to get burned. And that's what happened to Luke in the early going.

(Luke knows this tile he's about to draw is going to be one he already has this draw)

Meanwhile, I tend to be conservative in my approach to press your luck games. Usually, I'm too careful and play it too safe and fall behind as a result. But with Luke struggling early, my conservative approach led to me accumulating a nice little early pile of animal chips.

(Yep, that was a bad draw. He's taking his disappointment well, though. Later in the game, he will react much more dramatically.)

Luke started to come back some in the mid-game. He stole some of my chips and managed to run a streak of successful pulls without duplication. The sweet spot for this game seems to be three chips. You're really pressing your luck after that and Luke realized that after his early game disasters.

(There's a lucky four-chip draw for Luke)

But I kept drawing well and growing my own stack of animal chips. Still, Luke knew from our previous games not to get discouraged at this. The size of the stack can be misleading depending on the quantity of any specific animal in the stack and depending on if the short stack player has a majority in the more valuable animals.

(chip stack sizes as the game draws to a close)

As the draw bag began to grow noticeably lighter, things started to swing my way again. Luke continued drawing consistently enough to keep growing his stack, but I had better luck stealing some of his chips and protecting my own. I had the good fortune of getting the last available chip of some of the smaller value animals and was able to protect my stack by putting them on top.

(Luke's points at the end of the game. That's a sad, lonely elephant.)

Not too much later, Luke managed to claim the last couple of chips from the bag and the game was over. My stack was noticeably larger than his, but as we compared quantity of chips for each animal, I kept winning the points for each one by narrowly edging Luke out in tallies. I consistently had just one more chip than him for many of the animals I won. In the end, he won just one animal, I won six, and there was one tie that wasn't awarded to either of us. The final score: Luke 3 and 43 for me. I guess it's okay for us parents to dominate and destroy our children in games every now and then. It proves we're not letting them win and makes their victories all the sweeter when they do come.

(My points at the end of the game. Actually, this is my first victory over Luke at Cheeky Monkey, so I won't feel too bad about slaughtering him.)
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Black Bart
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Nice report but note that according to the rules you should not only award points for the bonus tiles; every animal token collected is also worth 1 point. So your scores should have been 23 to 75 (would it make your son feel better ?).

With this scoring it can still be cruel for a player who loses or ties for several majorities but they'll have some points at least. The bonus tiles can still swing a game.
 
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Bryce Journey
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urbanus wrote:
Nice report but note that according to the rules you should not only award points for the bonus tiles; every animal token collected is also worth 1 point. So your scores should have been 23 to 75 (would it make your son feel better ?).

With this scoring it can still be cruel for a player who loses or ties for several majorities but they'll have some points at least. The bonus tiles can still swing a game.


Thanks for the info! I must have glossed over that scoring instruction somehow.
 
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