I had a chance to try this new game during Essen 2018. We had one three player game together with Carlo, one of the designers, I presume. Once again thank you very much for the chance to try out this game.
Monkey Temple is essentially a card game. Components are two decks of cards(persons and items), some tokens-markers and a small board, that is really a placeholder for the cards. The game is cooperative, so either everybody wins or everybody loses.
The theme goes around a temple which has plenty of visitors and tourists from all over the world. And it also has a problem with bunch of clever monkeys that keep stealing from the guests. The players act as security guards who try to return the stolen items to their respective owners without causing a scandal.
The game rules are pretty simple - four person cards are drawn along with four items. One of the players is chosen to be the "monkey" - he or she decides which items were stolen from which person. So let us say we have a sailor, a small girl, a man who looks like a banker and a girl looking like a pop-star. Along there come items: a zippo lighter, a basketball, a bottle of poison and a bicycle. The "monkey" decides that zippo belongs to the banker, a bicycle to the small girl, poison to the pop-star and the ball to the sailor and marks that with markers. The other players do not know what the "monkey" has decided and try to guess by making their own proposition. They are free to discuss before they decide on their own assignments. After that the players should compare the results. For each mistake, all the team scores a negative point. The goal is to go through 5 rounds of play (each time with a new "monkey") without hitting 9 negative points, which means a scandal happens! There is a small twist in the rules that we played since second round - one of the items is assigned to one of the players instead of persons from the card deck and one of the person cards does not have any item stolen. And that's the whole game.
How did we do with the game
Carlo was the first "monkey" player and assigned the items. In the first round we made two mistakes. In following round the game changed a bit and a new rule was introduced to us - now it was required to assign one of the items to one of the players instead of persons from the deck. It made the play significantly more challenging. We somehow managed to survive up to round five with seven negative points. In the fifth round we struggled heavily to get the right matches, however finally were beaten by the game by one point. Were we disappointed? Not at all. We had a lot of fun from the game anyway.
The game reminds me of Dixit. The same type of fun to guess other players' way of thinking. The sets of items might be relatively easy to assign to the persons that we have drawn or also totally crazy. And the more crazy they get, the more laughter you have with the game. Why should Clint Eastwood-like cowboy character own a small bicycle? Perhaps a megaphone is a better match and the bicycle should go to the sailor? We had a really good 15 minutes fun with the game. The biggest difference between Monkey Temple and Dixit is, that the monkey game is not language dependent. I do not mean not having text on the cards or game board, because you do not have this also in Dixit. I mean here, you really do not even need to speak the same language as the other players to enjoy the game together, assuming somebody explains the rules to everybody. Which makes it a decent party game candidate. The artwork is pretty good - cartoonish characters and many wierd items, that have a tendency to give some funny connotations with the persons or with the fellow-players (assigning a leopard-patterned underwear to the right person in the right time is a guaranteed burst of laugther).
Was there something I did not like? I would say just the size of the box was a bit too much for my liking. Being concerned about using just enough space to keep my game treasures, I value games with a reasonable "game / box size" ratio significantly higher. Still, I recommend to try this one out as a light and funny party game.
And that was my first session report / review. I apologize in case my English is hurting too much. I am looking forward to constructive criticism (just not too much at once, please. I am quite sensible )
Thanks a lot for trying Monkey Temple in Essen and for your nice review.
We are happy to read that you enjoyed the game!
Maybe the box is a bit big but future expansions will fit perfectly in it!