Review – Go Away Monster!

Go Away Monster!

Designer: Monty Stambler & Ann Stambler (1997)
Publisher(s): Gamewright
# of Players: 2-4
Ages: 2+
Play Time: 10 minutes
BGG Rank/Rating: #1291/6.07
Category: Children’s Game

Go Away Monster! is the very first game that I was able to really play (as in, by the rules) with my older daughter.  It’s incredibly simple and most adult gamers would probably argue that it isn’t even really a game, but when played with a 2-3 year old, it truly is a lot of fun! 

Game Basics

In Go Away Monster!, you’re basically trying to get four components to complete your bedroom: a bed, a lamp, a picture of kitty cats, and a teddy bear.  You do this by taking turns pulling a tile from a small bag (which is a little hard if you have meaty hands and big sausage fingers like I do).  But the twist is that in the bag along with the stuff you want, there are also 8 monster tiles!

When you draw a monster tile, though, you don’t let it bother you too much.  Instead, you (and your kids) get to show that monster who’s boss, yelling “Go Away Monster!” really loud, and then throwing the tile back in the box or across the room or out the window or whatever you feel is appropriate.

Some of the monster tiles are even remotely shaped like the bedroom tiles, so there’s a little element of shape recognition (which, again, is tough when you can only get two or three fingers in the bag anyway).  But mostly, it’s just the blind luck of the pull that determines what you get. 

And if you pull out a tile that you already have, you’re supposed to share it with another player who still needs that tile.  I guess that you could make it a competitive game instead, but since it’s all luck anyway, the cooperative feel seems to be a lot more appropriate and fun for everyone.  When everyone’s bedroom is complete, you all win!

What I Think…

Go Away Monster! says that it’s for ages 3+, but really, children can play this as soon as you can be reasonably sure that they won’t chew on the tiles.  Samantha was 25 months old when we first played, and I’ve heard of kids playing it as young as 19 or 20 months.  I guess it’s also good if they can say “Go Away Monster!” or some reasonable approximation of that, or you’ll lose the coolest part of playing it.  And I suppose that some ability to pay attention to what’s going on for a few minutes (the game only takes 5 minutes or so to play) and be willing to take turns is also helpful.

There’s not a lot really special about the mechanics of the game.  Randomly pulling tiles from a bag isn’t exactly inspired stuff.  However, what makes this game special is how it handles the monsters.  Now, I’ve heard other people talk about how telling the monsters to go away empowers children and helps them stand up to their fears and all that kind of stuff, but I don’t know that I really buy all that.  

But I do know that yelling “Go Away Monster!” and throwing the tile across the room can definitely be a lot of fun.  And if your family is like mine, it often becomes a lot more than that, where mom or dad pretends to be all scared and the little one has to come save us by dealing with the monster, or the child pretends to hug on the monster and put it in the spot reserved for the teddy bear, or one of us pushes the monster in each other’s face and roars as loud as we can to “scare” them.

And, of course, children can certainly start to learn a lot of the social skills they will need to play more involved games later on (like taking turns).  The excitement of shouting at the monsters tends to keep even the youngest players engaged and interested, and the play time is short enough that you can quickly finish up and move on when attention spans finally run out.

And honestly, as a parent and a gamer, I really do enjoy playing this game with my little girl.  I’m fully aware that most of my fun is tied up in seeing my daughter have fun and get into it, and on top of that I also start to see visions of all the fun my family will have playing games together for years and years to come.  So if you’re a gamer with small children like me, I think that Go Away MOnster may just be a good starting place for you and your little budding gamers as well. 

The Verdict!

Of the children’s games that I’ve encountered so far, Go Away Monster! is simply the best “first game” that I’ve come across.  It’s quick and fun, teaches some of the basics of taking turns and playing cooperatively, and is a lot of fun when parents get to pretend to be scared and get rescued from the monsters by their 2-year-olds screaming “Go Away Monster!” at the top of their lungs. 

  • Rules: So easy a 2-year-old can understand them!
  • Downtime: Mere seconds…
  • Length: 5-10 minutes at most
  • Player Interaction: Cooperation to finish everyone’s bedrooms
  • GamerChris’ Rating: When played with its target audience (children ages 2-4 or so), I rate it a solid 8 (on the BGG 10-point scale).


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  2. Gwen

    Good review, Honey! What fun we have had with this game! I’m glad that you wrote this one. Love you.

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