HABA has long been known as THE place to go for great kids games. As such, I was excited when I got a copy of Monster Laundry to review. Monster Laundry is a dexterity game for kids that has them racing to hang monsters on a clothesline to dry.
Before I talk about game play and my thoughts, I wanted to preface by saying that my children are 4 and 6, and although the box says play age is 7 and up, they had no problem understanding and playing the game. In fact, for my 4 year old, it was really good fine motor practice. Anyway, enough caveats, let’s review.
In Monster Laundry, 2 to 5 players begin by choosing a color and taking the 8 clothespins of that color. Each of these colors corresponds with 8 monsters in the same color. After the colors are chosen, the clothesline is laid out in a circle. Inside the circle the monsters are mixed into a pile, and in the pile, there is a golden clothespin. That is the reward for the winner of the round. Rounds continue until a player has earned 3 golden clothespins.The final step has players pulling the clotheline up around their waist and holding it there for the duration of the game.
The goal of the round alternates between even and odd numbered rounds. In the odd numbered rounds, players are trying to be the first to hang all 8 monsters of their color. The added complexity to the process is this: 4 of the monsters are covered in stars and 4 are covered in circles. Those covered in stars must be pinned on the players’ left, and those covered in circles must be pinned on the players’ right. The first person to do this makes a declaration to end the round, and if all the monsters are where they belong they claim the reward. The even numbered rounds have players searching for one of each monster color that does not match their own. This means players are searching only for 5 monsters rather than 8, so these rounds wind up being slightly shorter, though the whole game last only 15–20 minutes, so the difference is negligible.
As an adult, it offered very little for me. As a facilitator for my children, though, Monster Laundry was a lot of fun to watch them take on the challenge. Perhaps this is what makes HABA so good. The challenge was perfectly suited for my kids at their age. I didn’t have to hedge or alter anything. I also didn’t see them getting bored because it was too easy. On the whole, it was perfect gaming experience for them. There are some concerns I have, however, regarding components. The game box and clothesline are awesome, but some irregularities in the clothespins made some of them harder to use than others. Not a lot harder, but in a speed game, any discrepancy is noticeable. The bigger issue is with the monsters. They are printed on very thin paper. Though the paper is high quality, the thinness and the manic pace of the game lends them toward bending and getting ruined very easily. I would recommend laminating them, as this would help the problem immensely.
Overall, my children loved it, but I don’t think it would be great for people over the age of 10 or so. For the target audience, it’s a solid 8.