Hungry monkey – How to play it

28Hungry Monkey was the bestseller at Spiel22 and is becoming increasingly popular. The card game is by Erik A. Sundén and, along with Animal Poker, Fish & Katz, Sweet & Spicy and Tails on Fire, is one of this year’s new products from HeidelBÄR Games. Hungry Monkey impresses with simple rules and a large portion of fun. You don’t know Hungry Monkey yet? No problem, here we introduce you to the game and its rules.


Shuffle all the cards and deal three cards to each person’s hand. In addition, each person gets four cards, which are placed face down in front of them. These may not be looked at – unless later actions allow it. The remaining cards form the draw pile.



Place the Bad Kitty card next to the draw pile and look at the height of the number that corresponds to your number of people. At about that height, slide the card into the pile. If there are 5 or 6 people, the card goes under the pile. The Bad Kitty card represents the end of the draw pile and heralds the final phase of the game.

Game idea

To win the game, you must get rid of both your hand cards and the four face-down cards. The problem is, the face-down cards can’t be played until you run out of hand cards and the draw pile is empty. As long as there is a draw pile, you must draw down to 3 hand cards at the end of your turn. But don’t worry, some cards have effects that help you in the game. Some cards also let you take a look at the face-down cards or replace them. Play these cards wisely, and you’ll be well-prepared for the final phase of the game.


You play in turn, and each turn consists of three actions:

  • Place one or more of the same cards on the animal pile.
  • Perform effects or a gang of four (if possible).
  • Draw on 3 cards in your hand (if possible and necessary).

When it’s your turn, you can place one or more cards of the same type from your hand onto the animal pile. The cards must have the same or a higher number than the top card of the animal pile.
Alternatively (if you can’t or don’t want to play any cards) you may place the top card of the draw pile face up on the animal pile. If the cards do not meet the conditions (equal or greater), you must take the entire animal pile into your hand, and it is the next person’s turn.

If the top card on the animal pile shows an effect, the person who placed it will perform it directly. The effects are presented in detail below.

When there are four or more of the same card on top of the animal pile, it is a Gang of Four. The person who triggered it immediately (without performing an effect, if any) puts all the cards in the animal pile into the discard pile. These cards are completely out of the game. Then the person moves up to 3 cards in hand and makes an extra move.

At the end of your turn, you always draw up to 3 cards in your hand. If you already have more than 3 cards in your hand, you don’t have to draw again. The same is true when the Bad Kitty card is revealed. From now on, the draw pile is empty, and you don’t draw any more cards. If you have no more cards in your hand, you may play one of the face-down cards. Here, too, the laying rule applies; if the card does not fit, you must take the entire animal pile into your hand.

End of the game

As soon as one person has played all his hand cards and face-down cards, he wins the game. The remaining people continue to play until there is only one person left, who then loses the game.


Cards 4,5,6 and 9 have no effects. They are pure number cards.

The Tiny Ant is always valid (even if there is a higher number on the deck). Whoever plays an ant must take all cards of the animal pile, except the ant card, into his hand. If an ant is played on top of an ant, nothing happens.

If you play the Swift Sparrow, you may exchange a card from your hand with a face-down card. If you have no cards in your hand, the effect does not apply.


With the Sneaky Snake, you may look at one of the face-down cards. This can be one of your cards, so that you know it at the end of the game. But it can also be a card of another person. This way, you know which cards the other person can’t use.

The Slender Mongoose gives you an extra turn. After you have filled up your hand cards to 3, it’s your turn again,


If you play the Strong Buffalo, the next person must play a number that is equal or smaller. This only applies to the next person, after that the cards must be equal or greater again.

The King Tiger has the highest number. If he is played, you put the complete animal pile on the discard pile. Then it is the next person’s turn.


The Hungry Monkey is always valid and copies other animals. If there is a card on the monkey, it copies this card. If there is no card on the monkey, it copies the card below it and triggers its effect as well. You can also play the monkey in combination with other cards and use it to trigger a Gang of Four.