The below is a reformatted version of some very helpful recent correspondence with the Jim Doherty, designer of Monkeys on the Moon.
Q: I think there may be additional interest in this information on the part of members of boardgamegeek.com. Do you mind if I post the info below to BGG?
A: Feel free to post wherever you wish!
Q: Am I permitted to go thru my scoring pile throughout the game, or do I need to leave those cards face down at all times?
A: Yes, you may always examine your own scoring pile.
Q: Any suggestions on how to keep the favor coins private?
A: There are many ways to keep your favor coins private. Essentially, you have to hide them. Lots of people just hold their 2 Civilization Cards in one hand, and shield their coins with the other. Some people use a soda can, or use a folded piece of paper, to build a shield to hide their coins. When we run demos at conventions, we have cardstock that has the game cover on it available for shielding -- perhaps we should make this available on our website for downloading.
Q: What's the role of the players in this game? Does each player have the role of a monkey that is not affiliated with a tribe?
A: Player roles -- great question. We like to think of the players as "monkeys" who control the spaceships. That is, monkeys who know how to drive. Teams of monkey pilots. They decide who gets off the moon and who does not. If a player/team picks the right monkeys, he wins.