Monkey In The Middle®

SKU: 929
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Monkey In The Middle Board Game


Every player takes one “monkey-board” and a deck of 16 cards. 

Each deck includes:

  1. 3 Monkeys pointing right
  2. 2 Monkeys pointing both ways
  3. 3 Monkey pointing left
  4. 2 Monkeys not pointing at all
  5. 3 Bananas
  6. 3 Coconut Cards

Shuffle your deck of cards and deal yourself a hand of 5 cards. Draw a card at the end of your turn so that you always have 5 cards.



Each round, players select a card from their hand and place it face-up on their “play pile.” You may play any card in your hand: monkey, banana, or coconut. Monkey cards must always be placed facing the person who played them. (Arrows at the top.)

When you play a coconut card, who takes it is determined by the following: 

  1. Nobody is pointing at your coconut: Sad monkey, you have to keep it. 
  2. Only one player is pointing at your coconut: OOPS! They have to take it. 
  3. Two players are pointing at it: Woohoo! You pick the player that gets it.

When you take a coconut card, keep it face up in your “Coconut Pile.”  

Don’t get too excited though, coconuts  SMOOSH bananas. 


After all monkey, banana, and coconut cards have been resolved, play your next card. Continue in this manner until all cards have been played.


Once the last round has been resolved, it’s time to score. Follow the steps below, in order:


Each Coconut in your Coconut Pile “falls” onto one of your bananas. SMOOSH! Set all coconuts and smooshed bananas to the side, out of play. 

      2. RESCUE 

Every two bananas you have left unsmooshed will “rescue” one of your monkeys from the middle. Set these bananas and rescued monkeys to the side, out of play. 


At this point, the player with the fewest monkeys in the middle wins. And does their best monkey victory dance! 4. IF THERE’S A TIE Each extra banana a player has is worth +1, while each leftover coconut card is worth -1. The player with the most points wins the tie.

For example, after smooshing and rescue, Frank, Jenn, and Dan end the game each with one monkey in the middle. 

Frank has 2 bananas left, Jenn has 1 banana left, and Dan has 1 Coconut remaining.

With -1 points for the coconut, Dan would come in last. Jenn would earn 1 point for her banana. But Frank, with two bananas, and therefore 2 points, is the winner. (That’s great news cuz Frank has an awesome monkey dance!)


Whenever a player loses a monkey to the middle, if they have one, their next play MUST be a Banana or Coconut. Otherwise they can play any card. This gets everyone thinking about which card will be played, and whether they want to take a chance pointing there or not.

ATTENTION PARENTS: Rules for younger age groups 

Monkey in the Middle is completely modular! When playing with very young players, remove the Coconuts and Bananas. Don’t deal cards out and instead just draw the top card of your deck each turn. Try adding the Bananas next, and then the Coconuts, as the children get more familiar with the game.


Monkey see monkey do! If you played a monkey card, you must copy what your monkey’s action is: Pointing left, right, both directions, or not pointing at all.

If BOTH players adjacent to you are pointing at you, you’re a monkey in the middle! That means you must put the monkey card you played in “the middle”, (the space above your monkey board). Monkeys in the middle count against you at the end of the game.


All monkeys love bananas, and the more the better! So, how do you get them? Easy! If you played a banana, and…

  1. Neither adjacent opponent is pointing at it: you get to take it!
  2. Only one adjacent opponent is pointing at it: they get to take it!
  3. Both adjacent opponents are pointing at it: this triggers a free-for-all, in which ANY of your opponents may try to steal your banana. The first one to shout “banana” and slap their hand down on your banana gets to take it.

When you take a banana, place it face up in your “banana heap.” Bananas you gather are points for later in the game.


If you’ve ever been to a zoo, you’re probably aware that monkeys have been known to fling things at passersby from time to time. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of that exchange. In this jungle they toss coconuts!

There’s only so many bananas to go around and you’re a hungry monkey! Simultaneous card play allows you to snatch bananas and avoid coconuts that’ll squash your bananas. Just make sure you don’t get stuck as the Monkey in the middle!

Ages 6+   |   3 to 6 players   |   Playing time  20 minutes 

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