Monsters in the Elevator: Cooperative Math Card Game
Even monsters need to get to work! But do the Monsters in the Elevator ascend to the top floor of educational gameplay: both educational and fun?
Monsters in the Elevator is a math-based card game from Yaya Play. Players work together to keep the elevator from overloading as monsters enter and exit. Reach the 20th floor without crashing to win!
Monsters has two decks: the Draw deck, where players draw new Monster and/or Action cards, and the Floor deck. The Floor deck is arranged in numerical order, representing which floor the elevator is currently on. Each player starts with three cards from the Draw deck, then calculate the elevator capacity for this game (50 x number of players).
Each round begins with flipping the top card of the Floor deck. Next, players check to see which (if any) monsters exit on this floor. Each monster card has at least 2 floors where they must exit. Many floors also have exit conditions (“Largest Monster Exits” or “Exactly 40 worth of monsters exit”).
After monsters exit, new monsters enter the elevator. Every player chooses a (monster or action) card from their hand, then all play simultaneously. Actions played at this point may allow more monsters to exit, or change the floor.
After all cards have been played, add up the monster weights. If the combined weight is at or below the capacity, the game continues! Draw a new card and go up another floor.
Win the game by reaching the 20th floor without ever overloading the elevator. The goal is simple, but various floor cards may thwart your attempts. For example, the 12th floor causes you to immediately add the top monster from the draw pile, while only allowing the factorial monsters (those who exit on multiples of 2, 3, 4) to exit. Action cards also need to be played judiciously – you wouldn’t want to play a “Go Down 2 Floors” card if it would make you pass the 12th floor and add more monsters again!
Monsters in the Elevator teaches counting by 10s and comparison (greater than/less than). It also touches on factoring (some monsters will get off at any floor divisible by 3, others at any floor divisible by 4). For younger children, the cooperative factor is great – the whole group wins or loses and no one has to feel left out. Simultaneous play also keeps everyone invested.
Monsters in the Elevator sticks pretty close to its theme, both in gameplay and in the art choices. The monsters are drawn to be cute and cuddly, and each type of card (monster, action, floor) is color-coded, making it easier for struggling readers to identify. As a parent, I appreciate how simple it is to adjust the difficulty. (More challenging: Shuffle the floor deck and remove the 20th floor. Less challenging: Keep the floor deck face-up so you can see what’s coming next, and/or have everyone show their hands so you can decide together which monsters to play next.)
Monsters in the Elevator has an Indiegogo campaign that runs through February 12. A single copy of the game currently goes for $15, with discounts for greater quantities. It’s a finalist in the 2017 Hasbro Game Lab competition, and winner of “Best Family Game” at 2016 Boston FIG. In our opinion, Monsters is a great pick; it is educational while also being genuinely fun to play.
The Family Gamers were provided a complimentary copy of Monsters in the Elevator for review.
Monsters In The Elevator
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age Range: 7-11 years old