Monumento, High Society

Monumento was the last game I reviewed on the old site and High Society is the first one on the new.

Monumento (or Make’n’Break) is a very simple dexterity game. The player in turn takes ten large colourful wooden blocks and a deck of cards. When the timer is started, he or she turns up a card from the deck and must then build the monument depicted in the card. The player continues building monuments until the timer runs out (it’s less than minute, I think).

It’s all very simple, except some of the monuments. There are two varities: either with colours set or free. Three levels of difficulty with varying rewards (one, two or three points per card) ensure variety within the designs. Some are very easy, some are tricky with balancing. The two-pointers are best, in my opinion: more points, less trouble.

Building the monuments is great fun. The annoying sound of the mechanical timer adds to the tension as the player in turn sweats through the cards. Watching is almost as fun as building.

The game works well thanks to its simplicity. It’s fun for families or for gamers looking for quick, physical fun. And forget the four-player limit — we had great time with five, we just dropped one round from the game to keep it shorter. More players should be fine, though downtime might be too much with more than five.

High Society is such a classic that I don’t feel great need to review it. I think it’s one of better games in it’s genre. The combination of simple, elegant auction game with few clever twists makes High Society a very interesting game that’s short, but not that light — there’s real strategic depth in the game. Few games can offer that much bang in such a small form. High Society (or Einfach Tierisch) deserves a place in most collections.

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