As a kid, if I ever got a toy armed with spring-loaded missiles, those missiles would soon be lost in target practice against cups and other action figures. It was so cool to knock something over from a distance, even if it took fifty tries to make it happen. The flying projectile and the clatter of plastic brought lots of joy to what would otherwise be boring afternoons. But then I grew up. I bought a suitcase and suit to match. I put away “childish” things. Then Coconuts Duo burst through my wall like Kool-Aid Man and said, “Let’s throw rubber balls into cups for half an hour.” Yes, please.
Coconuts Duo is the younger brother of Coconuts, both involving mischievous monkeys tossing coconuts over their shoulders into cups in a race to build a six cup tower. Gameplay is identical, but Coconuts Duo is a more intimate affair, with only two players battling head-to-head rather than three to four. It comes in a smaller box with two monkeys, nine plastic cups, player mats and power cards. Everything you need to play one of the simplest and funniest games I own.
This is the part where I would dive into explaining gameplay, but there isn’t much more to say than try to get coconuts into cups. Red cups let you take another turn, possibly letting you chain into another red cup for a huge turn. Each player gets two power cards which can disrupt opponents in goofy ways or are temporary benefits like shields or sunglasses. If you land a coconut in your opponent’s cup, you steal it, effectively putting you ahead by two cups in one move. The first player to stack six cups in front of their monkey is crowned top banana. Spare me. You would’ve made the same joke if you wrote this review.
Coconuts is incredibly easy to set up and teach and I use it keep players occupied while waiting for other games to finish at game nights. The monkeys and cups are so hilarious that every other player at game night hears cheers and wants to be playing Coconuts instead. Coconuts Duo can combine with Coconuts to create giant five or six player games full of monkey madness, so you can buy any number of boxes to fit your player group.
I love dexterity games like Coconuts because of the natural drama of action. It’s exciting to see a rubber coconut bounce off a monkey’s head into a red cup. It’s heartbreaking for a coconut to roll out of a cup needed to win the game. One power card makes your opponent use their elbow make a shot. When was the last time you used your elbow to do ANYTHING? Many games take themselves very seriously, but Coconuts throws on a pair of sunglasses and TPs those games’ houses. “COCONUTS!”, shouts Twilight Struggle as shakes its fists in the air. Coconuts couldn’t care less.
There are a couple things to dislike about Coconuts, like referee cards invalidating a successful shot or games running longer due to poor shooting or picking up coconuts that roll away, but there is so much more to love. The bad stuff gets pushed aside by bright cups and spring-loaded monkeys. Switch off your brain and throw some coconuts. It’s better than something else monkeys throw.