By Rodger Moss
In 1998 a small game company named Placebo Press released a small game named Ebola Monkey Hunt and my life was changed. The back story to this game was simple Ebola infected monkeys have escaped and are hidden in a office complex, you job is to get them back. There is a catch though the boss of the CDC has offered a giant promotion to the one who brings them back the fastest. Sounds simple enough grab the monkeys, get to the cool zone, and get that job. One problem Steve from accounting wants that job as well and he has more tranquilizer darts than you.
Ebola monkey hunt was a game for 3-6 players the object is to collect one monkey from each of the four monkey spots on the board and get them back to the cool zone. This game took a page out of Cheap-Ass games and used paper and index card stock to manufacturer. Counters, tokens, and figures were up to you to provide, but hey this game cost five American dollars back in the day. Most games lasted around 30-45 min depending on how aggressive the players are.
Movement was done with a die roll and a 1-2 got you a special card, the map was a grid and littered around the map is special squares such as health and oxygen. Attacking a fellow player was something you did before or after movement and you counted the spaces between you and them roll a higher number. Boom a knocked out CDC agent with a punctured suit no less. Certain monkeys have powers and hindrances like the dreaded Reese's pieces monkey which you had four turns to get him back to the cool zone, if not there is not enough monkey left. This is one of the highlights of what would other wise be a simple boring game, using the monkey powers as a weapon will keep you entertained for hours. Another shining piece of this game is the action cards you get after a bad movement roll. With the cards you can make the virus airborne, or just make your opponent miss a sure shot.
After you collect a monkey from each spot you win! This game was a staple for Sunday gaming growing up. An expansion Power Monkeys was released the following year and another game E3 a few years later this one had a D&D feel to the game. This is a beer and pretzel game done at it's finest not to hard but just the right amount of options. I recently had a chance to play this game after 12 years, I was worried that I was looking at this game from the memories I have and not the game. I was wrong Ebola Monkey Hunt still holds strong, if you can find a copy of this game and Power Monkeys it's well worth the investment.