Review: Hungry Monkey (HeidelBär Games) – English

One day the always hungry monkey woke up, but this time without his precious breakfast bean. Panic! How is this monkey supposed to satisfy his hunger now? His stomach began to rumble and it was time to drum up his friends. Most of the animals were willing to help the monkey on his quest. Who will earn the most beans in Hungry Monkey?


I have a lot of questions. Hungry Monkey has lost his breakfast bean, but what exactly is a breakfast bean? Is it a white bean or a brown bean? I can imagine being annoyed at the loss, because no English/Irish/Scottish breakfast is complete without some beans in a sweet
tomato sauce and a monkey does need to eat plenty of fiber and protein. Maybe it involved a coffee bean? After all, no breakfast is complete without that divine black liquid.

Why did the monkey lose its bean? Perhaps the monkey had been naughty and his favorite bean was stolen to teach him a lesson. Perhaps he was being a mean bean. Most animals, however, jumped right up to help the monkey on his quest. Even King Tiger ordered his subjects to join the search. Based on the reaction of the other animals, it does not seem like a mischievous monkey, but rather a holy bean (being?)! Eventually things work out and the monkey is reunited with his bean and he can start his breakfast.

Maybe I shouldn’t try to overanalyze the story of this fast-paced and beautifully designed card game that may seem familiar to you in terms of gameplay. Does shithead possibly mean anything to you? When we go on vacation, we take several games with us, but also always a pack of “regular” playing cards. After all, with a deck of cards you can play countless different games and also a lot of fun games like Gin Rummy but also Shithead. Hungry Monkey is an adaptation of this clasi card game with some new animal twists.


At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt a hand of three cards and four face-down cards. In the center of the table, players place the draw pile in reach of all players and depending on the amount of players, the bad kitty card is shuffled somewhere in the draw pile. Next to the pile you keep space for a (closed) discard pile and an (open) animal pile where players will place their cards.

During your turn you play one or more (the same) card(s) from your hand, a random card from the draw pile or (if the bad kitty is visible and you have no more cards in hand) one of your four closed cards on the animal pile.

When placing cards, there are some rules. When you play a card, you must play the same value or higher unless an effect of a card indicates otherwise. If there are four cards of the same value in the animal pile, the entire animal pile is discarded. When you play a card with an effect, you apply the effect. Among other things, effects allow you to influence the course of play, see closed cards or clear them with your hand, etc. If you cannot play a card, or if you play a closed card (in front of you or from the draw pile) that cannot be placed on the animal pile, you must take all those cards into your hand. Oops!

At the end of your turn, you replenish your hand to three cards (if you have less than three cards….), unless the bad kitten is visible, because then you cannot draw new cards. The player who is the first to clear his hand cards and four closed cards wins. The last player to clear the cards is the loser.

If you play multiple games, you can win or lose bean cards depending on the outcome of a round. Bean cards show 1, 2 or 3 beans and these are drawn randomly from a deck depending on how many cards you have won. The player with the most beans wins! Of course, you can also play for bacon and beans….


Shithead is one of our favorite card games. Hungry Monkey adds fun twists to this established classic such as new and unexpected effects that increase your influence on the game. This makes it slightly less dependent on luck than the original game, but luck is still present, of course.

In addition, the distribution of the number of cards is different from a regular deck of cards. In Hungry Monkey, in fact, each card appears 6 times and there are 72 animal cards in total. Because the Bad Kitty is pushed between the deck, there is also a slightly different selection of type and amount of cards in the draw pile each game. This makes it less easy for players to count cards and rely on probability distribution, which makes for some welcome randomness and variety. The artwork is really great and the mechanism whereby players can earn beans makes it easy to play multiple games in a row.