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Monkeys on the Moon
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Monkeys on the Moon

2nd edition

List Price: $19.95
Your Price: $15.95
(20% savings!)
(Worth 1,595 Funagain Points!)

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 45-60 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Jim Doherty

Manufacturer(s): Eight Foot Llama

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Product Description

Monkeys on the Moon is the absolutely silly game of players attempting to curry favor from different tribes of monkeys who are technologically improving to the point where they will rocket off the moon. As humorous and silly as the game sounds, this auction game is actually clever and unique, as players first bid on monkeys of different factions then attempt to increase the rating of the different tribes. Different monkey factions are at odds with each other, and helping one tribe will incur the wrath of another; so a player must watch who they throw their lot in with. To win, players must wheedle their way through the fragile alliances of the monkeys and have the most monkeys off the moon of the farthest advanced of the tribes. A lot of fun and humor is packaged in this small box.

Product Information


  • 42 Monkey Cards
  • 36 Civilization Cards
  • 6 Tribe Cards
  • 6 Scorn Cards
  • 18 Ship Cards
  • 1 Tribe Track
  • 6 Wooden Tribe Stones
  • 42 Wooden Favor Coins
  • Rules Sheet
  • 2 Rules Reminder Cards

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.7 in 6 reviews

Hilarious theme and a great game!
December 08, 2003

Occasionally there are games that Im interested in playing, based solely on their names. This is definitely the case with the games that come from the strangely named company Eight Foot Llama. Monkeys on the Moon (Eight Foot Llama, 2002 Jim Doherty) had such an odd, interesting name that we were anxious to see how it played.

And the verdict? Monkeys on the Moon has one of the silliest themes I have ever seen, yet it has some very good mechanics that warrant additional plays. This is a very fun game , especially with three or four players, and I think it will hit our table many, many times. Let me explain more about the game to you.

Six monkey faction cards (each denoted by a color) are shuffled, and placed in a circle face up. This circle shows basic monkey faction relations: Each monkey faction is allies with the two cards adjacent to them, and bitter enemies with the card that is opposite them in the circle. A stack of Civilization cards (after removing some from the game) is shuffled and placed in the middle of this circle, after having dealt two cards to each player. A Tribe track is laid on the table, with twenty-six spaces on it, and a wooden cube for each color tribe is placed on it at the start position. A pile of tribe favor coins (wooden discs) of each color is formed in the middle of the table, after giving each player one of every color coin. Six monkey Scorn cards, one for each tribe, are placed in the center, as well as two shuffled decks the monkey deck and ship deck. Each deck has a pool of face up cards, with two cards in the ship pool, and one more than players in the game in the monkey pool. Each player receives one ship face up in front of them, and the game is ready to begin. The player with longest hair goes first, and takes a glass stone, indicating this fact.

Each turn is made up of three parts. The first part is the Civilization turn. Beginning with the start player, each player plays one Civilization card, and draws one card. Each Civilization card played moves the monkey tribes cube on the track the amount of spaces on the card. For example, the card Purple tribe can use an Egg Beater moves the purple cube forward two spaces on the track, or one of the purple tribes allies cubes two spaces. The player then receives two favor coins from the color tribe that he helped, but must then pay one favor coin to the bank of the tribe who is the rival of that tribe. If the player does not have a coin of that tribe, they then must take that tribes Monkey Scorn card. If the player already has the monkey scorn card, then he must pay one coin of one of their allies colors. This sounds a bit confusing, but works rather well in game play. If a player advances a tribe of which he holds the monkey scorn card, he loses the card (they like him again.)

After this phase, the Bidding phase occurs. Each monkey in the monkey pool is from one of the tribes, and is worth from three to five points. In turn order, each player picks a monkey from the monkey pool to bid on. Players can only bid coins from that monkeys tribes color, or from its allies. Allied coins are worth 2 points, while the monkeys tribes coins are worth three points. Bidding goes around the table, until all players but one pass. The winning bidder pays those coins to the bank and loads the monkey on his ship.

Each ship has room for a certain amount of monkeys (2 to 4), and is associated with a color. When a player fills their ship with that amount of monkeys, the full ship launches. Every monkey on the ship is placed to the side they will count towards that player at the end of the game, and the ship is also placed aside it is worth a certain amount of victory points (1 to 3). Monkeys from rival tribes refuse to ride in the same ship. If a player boards a monkey that is a rival to a monkey already on the ship, then the ship launches, unfull. The player still keeps the monkey, but must discard the ship, getting no victory points. In both cases, the player takes a new ship from the victory pool, and receives one coin of the color of the ship (that monkey tribe is awed at the shiny thing flying in the sky).

In the final phase of a turn, the start stone is passed to the players left, the monkey pool is refilled, and another round is started. This continues until the last Civilization card is played. At this point, the monkey tribe that is farthest on the track is placed in the first scoring position, and the second in the second position, and so on. If a monkey cube finishes the track before the game is over, it was to be automatically placed on the highest available spot. Each player then totals the amount of points they have of the monkeys of each color. Whichever player has the most points gets the first number on victory points on the scoring position, and the second most points gets the second number, and everybody else gets squat. Each player also gets bonus points for any full ships they launched, and loses points for each Monkey Scorn they have. Whichever player has the most points is the winner!

Some comments on the game:

1). Components: I was very pleased with the components in this game. The cards are of excellent quality, and have funny, childrenesque artwork on them. The wooden cubes and discs were really nice the wooden discs look like they came from a craft store, but they are some of the most functional coins I have ever used in a game, and I hope other companies pick this idea up. The board was a bit bland, but it was easy to see the colorful cubes on it, so no complaints there. Everything fits nicely in a small box that has very nice design elements and is very sturdy. Overall, it has very good components, and is certainly worth the price of the game.

2). Rules: The rules are printed on a four-page booklet, and are very easy to read. Many of the rules are repeated throughout the booklet something more companies should do. I hate missing an important rule because its casually mentioned in a small paragraph in the rules. When a rule is important, it should be emphasized, and these rules do that. The game is easy to teach, but knowing what monkey tribe to advance and how to bid does take a while to learn. The rules also include two advanced variants, both of which are excellent, and will probably be played often in my group.

3). Strategy: You only have two Civilization cards to pick from on your turn, but since each one gives you three choices, careful thought must be put into which monkey tribe is advanced. And how should you spend your coins? Should you spend all your coins, willy-nilly, not caring if you incur monkey wrath? Or should you be careful, always keeping coins on hand to pay off the rival tribes? How many monkeys should you bid on, and of what color? The choices are many, and its really a lot of fun deciding what to do. In my first game, I put all my energy into green and purple, and both of them did so poorly on the advancement track that I didnt get many victory points. I lost horribly, but still enjoyed the game, realizing the mistakes I made. I think its definitely a play-twice-immediately game, as people really need one game to realize their optimal strategies.

4). Time: The game plays fairly quickly. If players take a long time to bid, the game might drag, but even then, it finishes at a good clip (maybe an hour). The game is easy to set up and take down, and is one that can be played when there isnt much time. Im not sure I would classify it as a filler game, but its close.

5). Fun Factor: The game is hilariously silly. The theme of the game itself (monkeys being launched from the moon) is funny, but the advancement cards add to this humor. From the brown tribe learning to yodel, to the green tribe knowing how to ride a unicycle, to the blue tribe using deodorant a lot of laughter will occur in this game.

But of course funniness does not a good game make. There are many games that I have played (like Munchkin), that have made me laugh a great deal, but the game play itself wasnt really that good, so repeated playings were rare. This game, silly as it is, actually has some great game mechanics, and all who played it were impressed, wanting to play it again. So I highly recommend this game. I think that youll get a great deal of fun and good times for your moneys worth. And on top of that, the game has a VERY unique theme, one unlikely to ever be duplicated. So try it out a funny, interesting theme combined with excellent bidding and positioning mechanics. And dont forget to have the black tribe learn their Yoga!

Tom Vasel

Clever monkey shenanigans!
November 10, 2006

This game took some time (about 1 hour, maybe 1.5) setting up and reading the instructions, but it was well worth the time! I played this game with my boyfriend as a 2 player game, which worked out wonderfully. It is intelligently designed, and there is definitely strategy involved once you get the hang of it.

My boyfriend did not like the fact that it took so long to set up and understand at first. (Hence 4.5 stars rather than a full 5.) Now that he understands the rules and we've played it several more times, he enjoys it. I would suggest playing it with someone extremely patient at first; someone who will fully read through the rules and game set-up with you. If you know you will be playing with someone who is a bit more impatient, perhaps read the rules and set up the game ahead of time.

Echoing the review of another customer, I agree that it is not a game suitable for children, despite the attractive kiddish name.

Not a children's game...and that's fine!
January 03, 2006
Monkeys on the Moon sounded to me like it would be a great family game...and it may be, in a few years. For a family with teenagers or younger, this game must be passed it will either be too slow, or too confusing.

The strategist/planning gamer will most likely enjoy it. Once the object of the game is understood...a concept that will take a game or two to grasp, the game moves quickly. Bid on monkeys, get 'em in your ship, keep the tribes happy and diversify.

At first read thru the instructions, your head will spin as the point of the game is never clearly layed out. Even the first time or two playing will result in frustration. For those that endure, a great game will be found.

No dice, no predetermined path to follow around a board, no silly move back three spaces cards. Just your wits, your ability to manage limited funds and your wheelin' dealin' skill. A fun game for the right group of people.

Show all 6 reviews >
Jim Doherty
November 10, 2002
Monkeys on the Moon is another lightly-themed strategy game from Eight Foot Llama. It is a simple yet subtle game filled with decisions that are not always as easy as they appear.

Six monkey tribes are set up in a circle that define their rivalries and alliances. Each turn is broken into two rounds in which all players participate.

In Civilization rounds, players play cards from their hands to advance the status of one of the monkey tribes. Every card allows the player choose between three of six tribes for advancement. Advancing a tribe gets you 2 favor coins from that tribe, but forces you to pay 1 favor coin to its rival. Failure to make a payment will subject you to Monkey Scorn, which will cost you points at the end of the game if you cannot get rid of it.

In Bidding rounds, players select monkeys from a small pool and put them up for bidding. Monkeys belong to specific tribes and also carry a certain status within that tribe. Bidding is done with the favor coins. Coins that match the tribe of the monkey in question may be used, as well as coins from an allied tribes -- ally coins, however, have less purchasing power.

Monkeys won through bidding are placed on spaceships and launched home to Earth. Care must be taken not to place rival monkeys onto the same ship, or else it will launch before it reaches capacity. Players have their choice of spaceships, each of which bring victory points if they are launched home full. Larger ships bring larger rewards.

The player who launches home the most highly-regarded monkeys from the most advanced tribes will earn the most victory points. This, when combined with the ship bonuses and the scorn penalties determines the winner.

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