Review: Primate fear – you are never high enough not to be able to fall

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Ha! You cannot catch me, I am too high! Ha ha ha! The monkeys will eat you in a while! Shame on you,  you should not thrown pumpkins at me. Ha ha ha h- hey, hey … what are you doing, stop it. Stop sawing the table. Can´t you see I am standing on it? Do you hear me? Stop it! Now-ch! It was a peel. Ohoho! What are you going to do with that, typewriter. Are you going to throw it on me? WHAT? A monkey! For heaven´s sake, there is a MONKEY behind me!

There is never enough games, in which can you throw other players in the face of certain death and laugh together about it. And lets you to do this. It is elimination card game, that was created by Peter Hanson, witty illustrations by breathed life to it and as a whole was released by company. This is same trio as with game Spank the Monkey, which is thematically similar to today reviewed piece. And both games can even be combined into one. So Primate Fear could be called stand-alone expansion for Spank the Monkey. This time, the goal is not to spank the monkey standing on top of a garbage tower, but to run away from it, because it rose from the dead.

And out of the box shaped as a coffin, we will gradually reincarnate all the components. First, it is a gaming board showing a tower, which indicates how high player is. And to give players something to run from, dead monkey must first be revived. This is use of another game board, where is drawn dead monkey body. It is actually some kind of a coffin, where we are going to put pieces of monkey body (tail, legs, head, torso). And once it fills the entire game board, figure with green tail comes to play.

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It will chase players pieces on the board. And in order to escape, players must build themselves tower of garbage. Cards are used to do this. We have offensive and defensive cards, special effects, card of support, and of course red garbage cards, which state height in dots and also capacity. All are wearing funny and distinctive images and also simple and clear labeling. As far as main contents of the game go, we have nothing to criticize.

Likewise, we have no complaints about the actual gameplay. It begins with all players receiving five cards and place their pieces on tower board on space with a zero.

Randomly selected player plays his turn first. He can play a garbage card face up in front of him, and according to height of rubbish (dots), move his pawn for appropriate number on the tower board. In following turns, he will be playing more garbage (cards), piling it up on each other and thus getting higher and higher.

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And the one above is obviously safer hungry zombie monkeys. But player´s position is never unshakable. Player in his turn, in addition to already mentioned building, can also attack and thus destroy something from an opponent tower. This is usually very unpleasant for target player, because aggressive monkey wakes up after playing some cards and then mercilessly climbs one level of the tower after another. And when it arrives on floor, where a player stands.. you probably can guess, what happens. Player is eliminated.

Attack is partly driven by card and also by dice. Naturally, attacked player may try to prevent the card and firmness of contested garbage item. Sometimes, that is not enough. Furthermore, if the attack leads to trash, that is somewhere in the middle of the tower, or even underneath it, a chain reaction occurs. Now other items can be destroyed by impact on the ground or by another garbage. This way, players may fall from the top completely down.

To prevent this situation, it is necessary to have as strong garbage as possible on bottom of your tower. It is still, however, everything only about, what cards you get. Sometimes it even happens, that you even did not start to build a tower for entire game, because you simply did not receive card with red framing. Yes, this is a card game and luck belongs to it, but since there are up to five card types, only one of which is directly necessary to escape danger, influence of chance is simply too great. In addition, when you add presence of dice, luck even doubles.

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It is however also true, that in the heat of the gameplay, you somehow forget about all this and enjoy yourself. Game can really escalate tension and yet, all playing is done in fun spirit, without any hard feelings. Humor is responsible for it and it is present in every inch of the game.

Whether it is humorous illustrations on cards, which made you laugh only by looking at them, or card abilities, that are source of all sorts of funny escapades, such as throwing a mining truck into the other tower or placing some annoying cheerleader beside your valuable garbage pile as the target of the consecutive rival attacks. Situations, where players are attacked by angry tomatoes are also not bad. Game is guaranteed to entertain in this sense.

This is true only until such time, when player is eliminated in first few minutes and others play an additional half hour, while he must only watch and wait. Imbalance of this game will accompany you every time you play it. But is some balance necessary in simple party game, which is finished in a while? No. At least player elimination should be prevented.

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Since this is a party game, there is one big malady. Game is heavily language-dependent and although game can be played even without knowledge of a foreign language, it will never be good. Unfortunately, it will not be as much fun. Primate Fear left us wondering, what could have been done better.

DesignerPeter Hansson
ArtistPeter Svärd
PublisherGigantoskop, Magellan, Play & Win
Year Published
# of Players2 - 6
User Suggested # of Players Best with 6 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 5, 6 players
(2 voters)
Playing Time45
Mfg Suggested Ages0 and up
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(1 voters)
CategoryCard Game, Humor, Zombies
MechanicDice Rolling, Player Elimination, Take That
FamilyAnimals: Apes / Monkeys
Primary NamePrimate Fear
Alternate NamesPeur primate, Зомби обезьяна

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Primate fear – you are never high enough not to be able to fall
Final word
Primate Fear is a funny game, that is full of laugh and with prerequisite for thrilling and entertaining gameplay. Escaping from undead monkeys on tower of trash sounds really interesting. The game is great for a party and it makes sure you will not get bored. Its a pity, that the game is really luck dependend, imbalanced and with a language block for all, who do not speak english. Despite these negatives, you should at least try Primate Fear, when looking for some fun in the right circle of players.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
humor
fun
simple rules,
principle guarantees tension and player interaction
Cons
imbalance
luck
language dependency
3
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