Review: Treasure of Monkey Island

(Gifted) Treasure of Monkey Island is a board game from Tactic recommended for children age 4 plus. To play 2 to 4 players choose a monkey and aim to be the first person to steal 3 pieces of the pirate Captain’s gold and get it back to their home corner first. Sneaky players can move the Captain to get in the way of their opponents and help him get his treasure back.

A family playing Treasure of Monkey Island with one of the monkey pieces in the cave getting some treasure
Reviewing Treasure of Monkey Island Family Game

Treasure of Monkey Island Children's Board Game Review

Getting Ready To Play Treasure of Monkey Island

When you open the box there is a bit of assembly required before playing. Follow the instructions and you will quickly assemble a cave where the Captain can hide all his treasure. You also push out the cardboard treasure pieces, Captain and monkey game pieces. The game pieces need to be carefully pushed into coloured plastic bases so they stand up. There are also stickers which need to be placed onto the dice which comes blank on all sides. All of this set up only needs to be done once though and you can get everything back in the box with the cave still assembled.

Before playing you also need to put the game board together around the outside of the box by matching the shells. There are only 4 pieces and this is easy to do. Then the coins and Captain need to go in the middle of the cave.

Finally each player picks a monkey (they all have different colour bandanas and bases) and puts it in the corner of the game board with the matching colour.

The contents of Treasure of Monkey Island including instructions and cardboard pieces
There is a small amount of assembly before you can play the game for the first time

Playing Treasure of Monkey Island

The aim of the game is to go to the cave and steal 3 pieces of gold and make it home before any other player. When you have made it to the cave (which you can only enter if the Captain isn’t in there or blocking you) you can put a piece of gold on your monkey's back ready to take with you.  This is complicated because you can only take one piece of gold at a time and if the Captain catches you you need to return your treasure. 

The aim of the game isn’t difficult, but it will take a few minutes to get your head round the game play.  You move by throwing the dice and moving to the next shell (in any direction) that matches the dice. 4 of the sides of the dice have a shell on and a 5th side has a symbol which allows the player to choose the shell they want to move to. The 6th side of the dice has a pirate hat. If you role that you can move the Captain in a tactical attempt to slow down other players.

Treasure of Monkey Island with the Captain blocking entry to the cave
If the Captain is blocking your way you have to find another way to the treasure

Close up of the inside of the treasure cave and a monkey with a coin on it's bacl
The monkeys can carry a coin on their back and take it back to their home corner

What We Thought Of Treasure of Monkey Island

The tactical nature of moving the Captain is a little confusing for younger players and how the game goes massively depends on the luck of who rolls what. While children will absolutely love moving the Captain to catch other players' monkeys and making them return home without any gold, they are likely to complain if they are the person affected. Unlike a game of snakes and ladders where moving backwards in the game is just down to luck in this game it’s caused by other players. With one player it is easy to decide who to target if you get to move the Captain, but with 3 or 4 players it can become more challenging unless one player is a long way ahead. I think it is good for children to experience losing and set backs in games, but depending on your child's personality there might be some loud frustration. 

The game is recommended for age 4 years plus and some children on the younger end of the age range might struggle with strategy. They might take a little while to remember the rules about where they can move on each go and they will need to take care not to damage the cardboard pieces. I do like that the nearly all the game, box and packaging is cardboard though so you can throw it away (or recycle it) when it’s no longer useable without worrying about it being dug up intact in 100s of years time. 

I like that the box is used as part of the game board. It’s also great that once set up you can keep the cave assembled and everything goes back in the box nicely.  Other than when the game is new on subsequent plays it is quick to get it all ready to play. 

With children who are happy to not always win this is an entertaining game to play. The monkeys are cute and it’s a fun, original concept. 

You can buy Treasure of Monkey Island here.

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