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Author Topic: Monkey Dash mini review  (Read 4813 times)

Nod5

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Monkey Dash mini review
« on: April 05, 2010, 06:07:20 AM »
Monkey Dash mini review

App NameMonkey Dash (boardgame)
App URLhttp://monkeydash.co.uk/
Test System Specsthe brain of a moderate level board game player
Supported OSeshuman brains 8 yrs and up
Pricing Scheme20£ + shipping
Reviewer Donation LinkDonate to nod5, the Author
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product I won the game in a DC prize draw I entered after seeing the awesome Monkey Dash video


Intro:
MonkeyDash is a 2 player strategy board game. A match takes about 15 minutes. It is made by DC member Ampa, who also play tested the game here on DC: http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=12523.0

I won't follow the minireview template and will only post my own impressions and scattered thoughts from playing the game. For game overview and game details, check out the video and these two resources:

Great video tutorial from the game site: http://monkeydash.co.uk/tutorial.html
Information and other reviews: http://www.boardgame...me/33605/monkey-dash



My impressions
(I've just posted the below text as a boardgamegeek review, pending approval)

I've so far played Monkey Dash around 30 times since last fall. I really enjoyed it from the get go and still do! :) Here are some of my impressions from the "phases of playing" I've gone through.

PHASE 1 -- beginner
For the first one or two matches I had a hard time grasping a working strategy. But so had my co-player - we fumbled around to equal degree. Still, I liked the game experience from the start. Simple moves and rules yet hard to calculate a multi turn strategy. Your opponent often comes up with surprising counters. After later playing against some people who are new to the game I think my experience here generalizes. You really need a few games to get to grips with the game. Good thing that the matches are short then!

PHASE 2 -- grasping strategies
Then I got a better feel for some effective strategies. I think the outcome of a match to a large degree hangs on doing the right things on the way to the monkey. Very often the one who first gets there and starts moving the monkey home will also win (but not always). Realizing this, our matches have gotten a bit longer from preventive manouvering in the middle to (with much joy!) mess up the opponents strategy. But the games have almost never come to a standstill in the middle, which I had thought they would. Pretty soon one player gets an opening, gets through to the monkey and the game focus shifts to the race back. The action cards very often break the tie here.

On maybe two occassions we've decided to implement a chess clock style "think time limit" of 10 seconds, just to loosen up a standstill-ish situation. That worked fine and was great fun in itself. I've also played two entire matches in such "turbo mode" - intense fun!

PHASE 3 -- thoughts on improvements
The rule book suggest that when playing with children (or new players) you can balance the game by different distribution of action cards. An alternative that also works is to give the child one more action point per turn. In fact, for small children it might be better to first leave out the action cards completely and focus on the basic gameplay.

I'd like a mode or version for more players. I can imagine a 4 player version using two copies of the game like this: place the two maps next to each other, monkey nest edge touching. Position crates from both games. Monkeys start in loading bays, supervisors in nests. The goal is then to move your monkey to the diagonal loading bay on the other map. (A worry is that 4 player games would be too unpredictable thereby lack the strategy element. But still I think it could be worth a try.)

I like the game box, it really stands out and fits the theme of the game well. That said, it is a bit bulky so when I bring the game somewhere I leave the box at home and use a plastic bag.

FINALLY...
The theme of the game is great and adds to the joy of playing! That's important when there are so many good games out there that compete for our time and have some similar game architecture. A quirky detail: partly influenced by the enthusiastic video tutorial on the game site we've found ourselves starting to shout "MONKEY DAAAAASH!" with the same great gusto whenever making that move! Everyone enjoys that. :D

Congrats on making a great game Ampa!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 06:19:32 AM by Nod5 »

iphigenie

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Re: Monkey Dash mini review
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2010, 07:44:39 AM »
I remember testing it trying to get some colleagues to play it with me..

I'll have to grab it for the various birthday gifts this year :)

Ampa

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Re: Monkey Dash mini review
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 10:56:31 AM »
Nod5: Thanks for the awesome review. I am absolutely delighted that you are still enjoying the game.

I quite agree with your observations about how play style evolves as your experience of the game grows. I have been playing for two years now, and still make new discoveries!

I did spend some time trying  4 player versions, but never found one that I was happy with. However your suggestion of combining a pair of boards is very simple and I shall certainly give it a go :)

You don't mention the Better Bananas Variant... this is perhaps my favourite way to play the game - do you like this version?

iphigenie: The playtest version only contained the basic mechanics and did not include Power Cards or Bananas, both of which add a great deal to the game.

Nod5

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Re: Monkey Dash mini review
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2010, 04:22:44 AM »
Ampa: I haven't really played the banana version much so far. Tried it a few times early on but then stuck to the basic version, only because I wanted to learn that mode well first. I'm gonna give it a go again next time!  8)

Ampa

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Re: Monkey Dash mini review
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2010, 04:46:03 AM »
I'd love to hear what you think after a few games; just make sure you use the new banana rules (Better Bananas) rather than the original ones (The Advanced Game) as they are significantly better!