Coconuts Game Review

coconuts_top The Basics:

  • For ages 4 and up (publisher suggests 6+)
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • Approximately 20 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Hand/Eye Coordination & Dexterity

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Pick up a coconut and 3-point dunk it like Ray Allen.

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek rejected!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

The Mountain of the Monkey King is in chaos. Being a wise demigod, the Monkey King decides that the best way to restore order is to focus the attention of his monkey subjects. He ponders for a moment and then decides that a contest is in order. All the petty jealousies and anger will be set aside as his subjects attempt to win their demigod’s favor by throwing coconuts! To the victor, a great reward is promised! The title of “Ruler of the Mountain”!

Coconuts, designed by Walter Schneider and published by Mayday Games, is comprised of 4 Monkey launchers, 4 Player boards, 14 cups (4 red, 10 yellow), 12 Magic cards, and 36 Coconuts. The Monkey launchers are sculpted to look like little monkeys and the Coconuts are small, brown, and either look like Milk Duds or deer droppings. While the Player boards and Magic cards are colorful, they are very thin and will bend easily.

Caution! The little rubber Coconuts are going to be a very real and serious choking hazard for your littlest of child geeks and pets. They are small, round, and look like chocolate. Or poop. Either way, keep them off the floor and out of mouths.

Game Set Up

To set up the game, first give each player 1 Monkey launcher and 1 Player board. Any unclaimed Monkey launchers and Player boards should be returned to the game box.

Second, shuffle the Magic cards and deal to each player 2 Magic cards each. It’s not necessary for players to keep their Magic cards hidden from their opponents, but players are welcome to do so. All remaining Magic cards should be returned to the game box.

Third, give each player 8 Coconuts. These are placed in front of the player. Any remaining Coconuts are returned to the game box.

Fourth, organize the cups in one of two different patterns depending on the number of players. The game’s rule book provides visual examples for the different set ups for a 2, 3, or 4-player game.

Fifth, the Player boards are now positioned around the outside of the cups with the red line closest to the player. When completed, your game set up might look similar to the following example.

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Example of a 4-player game set up (image courtesy of Mayday Games)

Time to go nuts with the coconuts! Determine who should go first and begin.

Monkey Business

Coconuts is played in turns with no set number of turns per game. On a player’s turn, the player takes any available Coconut and attempts to launch it into any of the cups in the middle of the playing area, currently captured by their opponents, or their own captured cups. The player can hold their Monkey launcher in any position they like, but they must launch the Coconut behind the red line on their Player board.

  • If the player’s Coconut lands and stays in ANY yellow cup in the middle of the playing area or another player’s captured yellow cup, they take it and place it on one of the three open “stump” spaces on their Player board. The player’s turn is now over.
  • If the player’s Coconut lands and stays in ANY red cup in the middle of the playing area or another player’s captured red cup, they take it and place it on one of the three open “stump” spaces on their Player board. The player then gets to go again!
  • If the player’s Coconut misses a cup or bounces out, their Coconut is returned to them and their turn is over.

Note: Coconuts that remain in the cups STAY in the cups for the duration of the game! If a player is out of Coconuts, they can use any that are not yet in a cup.

Stacking Cups

During the game set up, yellow and red cups will be stacked together in the middle of the playing area. When a Coconut lands in a cup that is part of a stack, the top most cup is claimed by the player, not the entire stack. It’s also important to note that captured cups are never returned to the middle of the playing area, but can be captured by other players. When a player does capture a cup, they begin to build a “pyramid” using the first 3 “stump” spaces on their Player board as the base. After the first row of three cups is built, the player then stacks 2 cups on the second row, and finally 1 cup on the third row. If a player’s “pyramid” of captured cups is knocked down, the player should rebuild it before game play continues.

A complete "pyramid" (image courtesy of Mayday Games)

A completed “pyramid” (image courtesy of Mayday Games)

Magic and Mayhem

Before a player takes their turn, the player and any of their opponents can play one of their Magic cards. These cards introduce a new rule that the active player must use during their turn. Each of the effects of the Magic cards are summarized here.

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Example of some of the Magic cards (image courtesy of Mayday Games)

  • Guess Who: The player must close their eyes before they launch the Coconut.
  • Aimed Shot: The player must hit a specific cup. If they do not, their turn is over, even if their Coconut lands in another cup.
  • Freeze: The player loses their turn.
  • Far Shot: The player must attempt to launch their Coconut at least one arm’s length from their red line.
  • Call the Wind: The opponent who played the Magic card can attempt to distract the active player by blowing or using a fan when the Coconut is launched.
  • Coconut Duplication: The player can launch two Coconuts this turn.

Played Magic cards are discarded and out for the duration of the game.

Winning the Game

The game can end two different ways.

  • The first player to build a “pyramid” with 6 captured cups wins the game.
  • If all the Coconuts have been used to capture cups, but no one has a complete “pyramid”, the player who has the most Coconuts in captured cups wins the game.

To learn more about Coconuts, visit the game’s web page.

Prediction

Coconuts will easily win the Child Geek approval. The game has everything that will make them smile. I have no doubt that some of the older and more “cheekier” Child Geeks will see the Coconuts as “monkey poop”. Honestly, I thought that’s what they were, too, when I first opened the box. The Parent Geeks are going to be mixed when it comes to their approval, I think. While the game is challenging, but casual, the constant flinging of small rubber Coconuts might get old. Especially if they have to keep leaving the table to retrieve them. There is nothing about Coconuts that will appeal to the Gamer Geeks except the humor of the game.

Teaching the game is very simple, but do give your players an opportunity to take some practice launches. Encourage the players to hold or set the Monkey launchers however they please. Just make certain they understand that they must remain behind their red line.

After explaining how the game was played, I asked my three little geeks what they thought of Coconuts so far.

“Reminds me a little bit of Ants in the Pants or PongCano. Looks like silly fun.” ~ Liam (age 9)

“I really like these monkey’s, Daddy.” ~ Nyhus (age 6)

“Look! It’s poop!” ~ Ronan (age 4)

Yes, expect to be reminded often that the rubber Coconuts look like poop. It won’t be long until you see them as small balls of feces, I promise you. Let’s play Coconuts and see if this nutty game is barrels of laughs or a handful of sh- … well, you know.

Final Word

The Child Geeks really enjoyed Coconuts and had no problem playing it. Our youngest Child Geek at age 4 did an outstanding job, even though he wasn’t as accurate with the Monkey launcher as his older peers. Laughter only ceased when a player took their turn to launch a coconut. The laughter then came rushing back like a crashing wave. According to on Child Geek, “I had no idea that throwing little coconuts could be so fun!” Another Child Geek said, “This game can be hard, but I’m always laughing, so it doesn’t matter.” I am also happy to report that the Child Geeks used their Magic cards like champs. Note that there is no writing on the Magic cards. The owner of the game should expect to refer to the rule book to read what each of the Magic cards do until all the players are familiar with them. When the last Coconut was found (it rolled under a cabinet) and the Monkey launchers were put away, all the Child Geeks voted to approve Coconuts.

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Coconuts! Coconuts everywhere!

The Parent Geeks enjoyed their time playing the game with their family, but not so much the game itself. They found it to be a bit too long and repetitive. According to one Parent Geek, “I like playing this game, but I got tired of attempting to find the little coconuts.” Not all the Parent Geeks felt that strongly about the constant need to retrieve the little brown rubber tropical seeds, but enough of the Parent Geeks voted the game down for it to be rejected. I should also note that the game was not enjoyed when it was played with just Parent Geeks. This is most definitely a “family game”.

The Gamer Geeks played Coconuts a few times, laughed a bit, and then suggested it was a great game for kids. Not for Gamer Geeks. They were very impressed with the game’s production value, as far as the Monkey launchers and rubber Coconuts were concerned, and all agreed is was “one very odd game”. According to one Gamer Geek, “I’m sure I’ll remember this game for years to come, but that’s not enough for me to say it’s a game fit for the gaming elitists’ table.” Coconuts couldn’t crack the Gamer Geeks and was rejected unanimously.

Unlike other Action/Dexterity games we have played in the past, Coconuts is a game that does not require the player to be quick. This is great as it allows Child Geeks much younger than the suggested minimum age range to sit at the gaming table and participate. Not too young, mind you, as those little rubber Coconuts can look very appetizing. The game can also feel a little long at times, especially when the players cannot seem to claim a cup. The estimated time to complete the game is what I would consider “average”. I’ve played games as short as 10 minutes and as long as 40 minutes. The game designer attempted to address the game’s overall play time by making sure Coconuts do not return to play once they are in the cups. This is excellent, but if the players are lousy shots, the game can feel like it drags on way too long.

The range and accuracy of the Monkey launcher is insane, but there is a learning curve. After playing the game several times, I am still a horrible shot. My Child Geeks are like little coconut snipers. Not sure how they are doing it, but it’s fun to watch. The first time we played the game, my 4-year-old captured a red and yellow cup on this first try, much to the chagrin of his older siblings.

It has been said by others and it bears repeating: keep track of the Coconuts. I have already lost several and I have no doubt I won’t find them again until I move. The game comes with extras, which is a very good thing, but it will help if you remind players to actively watch where Coconuts land and then quickly retrieve them.

This is my second Korean game. The first was Click Clack Lumberjack, that found much more love from our playing groups. I rather enjoyed the game and was one of those Parent Geeks who had no problem chasing after the bouncing rubber CoconutsThe game is challenging and will force a player to carefully think how best to launch their Coconut. Or maybe not. Coconuts is a pretty mindless game, to be honest, but you MUST think things through if you want to be competitive. For example, if the game looks to be a draw, you can simply attempt to launch your Coconuts into your own cups to win the game or grab an opponent’s cup to skunk them. Those Parent Geeks who just saw the game as a “toss the ball” experience, didn’t put much effort into it. Lack of effort on your part is going to make this game feel like nonsense, which it is, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Like all games, regardless of its complexity, narrative, or component quality, a game’s real value is determined by a player’s level of enjoyment. For the Child Geeks, Coconuts was a huge hit. For most adults, not so much. Regardless, give this quirky game a try and see if it makes you smile. If it does, it might be a fun addition to your family game collection.

And for what it’s worth, here is the original commercial for the game. Good luck trying to get the song out of your head.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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3 Responses to Coconuts Game Review

  1. Jeff Myers says:

    I haven’t played this with my kids yet, but it’s been a big hit with my gamer friends. We put it into the same category as Loopin’ Louie. Sometimes it’s nice to just play something silly, especially a dexterity game like this one. I do prefer to not use the cards, though. I think it’s better without them. Nice review!

    • Cyrus says:

      Yes, the cards can make an already difficult game somewhat unbearable at times. The cards are seldom used as a result.

  2. Thanks for another thorough review, Cyrus. This one makes me feel a little less bad about missing the Kickstarter campaign.

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