Mondo is a super-simple tile-laying game where you set a timer, and each player simultaenously grabs tiles from the centre of the table and ‘builds’ an island with them.
The tiles show a number of different landscapes – forests, grasslands, deserts – some of which have animals on them, and some have volcanoes. Many tiles also have water – and any water tile must face outwardly, away from your island. You have only a few minutes to construct your island, and then points are scored. Every complete landscape type (i.e. the tile sides match, and the landscape is enclosed) scores you two points, and every animal scores you one point. The first player to finish their island gets a bonus of 4 points, and the player with the most volcanoes on their island gets a minus point for each volcano!
Play continues for three rounds, and the player with the most points after the third round is the winner.
Note: our pictures show a small-box set of Mondo where your island is a 3×3 grid. The bigger box comes with player boards that challenge you to build a bigger island.
Mondo is a great one for introducing kids to competitive gaming – they can lose, of course (and if this is a thorny issue, try looking through co-operative games) but the game is pretty gentle and as well as letting them build their own island with no outside interference, it also introduces a few different things: tactics, pattern-forming, and of course the pressure of only having a short amount of time! You can of course make the time limit shorter or longer depending on your crowd…
None from the other players, though with more there may be some tile-scrabbling.
None. Everyone plays at the same time, and the timer stops the game from being a drawn-out thinkfest.
Low - you're just matching tile sides as best you can.
If you like Mondo, it's very easy to teach and play, and literally only lasts a few minutes.