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Catan, Ticket to Ride and Pandemic makers partner with LEGO on new family-friendly board game

Primed to go ape.

Castle in a forest made of LEGO from the LEGO House exhibit
Image credit: The LEGO Group

One of the biggest names in board games recently announced a partnership with the world’s largest producer of plastic bricks to create a family-friendly board game set deep in the jungle.

LEGO and Asmodee’s upcoming Monkey Palace will combine collaborative and competitive design as players build a grand home for the ever-watchful Monkey. The title, which supports two to four players, is due to release in October of this year, but both companies remained tight-lipped on details and images in a press release from last week.

Players will construct Monkey’s palace together while individually competing for victory points and brick income. LEGO fans will be happy to know that players actually build a temple from bricks and end the game with a structure that can be displayed alongside those succulents, Batmobile model and eye-wateringly expensive Rivendell set.

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LEGO and Asmodee are touting a LEGO System in Play that results in a “totally unique and different” experience and resulting palace each time Monkey Palace hits the kitchen table. Jaume Fabregat, board games lead at LEGO Publishing, said that “the game challenges kids and adults alike to use LEGO elements to build, unbuild and rebuild their palaces, creating a fun play experience where no two games are the same.”

“We’re thrilled to take all LEGO and board game fans on this gaming journey, combining the LEGO Group’s timeless creativity with our passion and expertise in board games. Utilizing the endless possibilities of LEGO bricks was pivotal in designing this game,” said Birgitte Bülow, Asmodee’s LEGO board game creation lead. “We believe Monkey Palace offers an extraordinary gameplay experience, blending competition and collaboration for board game enthusiasts worldwide.”

Monkey Palace is a joint design from David Gordon and Tin Aung Myaing (better known online as TAM). The former is a relatively new name in the industry with several upcoming titles releasing through 2025 - including Making Monsters later this year - while the latter created Game and a Curry’s Lair in 2019. Gordon and TAM are co-designing Crafting the Cosmos, which is currently slated to be released in 2025.

Announcement image for LEGO board game Monkey Palace
Image credit: The LEGO Group/Asmodee

This isn’t the first time that the Danish company known for punishing the feet of sleepy parents has flirted with the tabletop industry. The now-defunct LEGO Games division ran from 2009 through 2013 and created a range of board games that incorporated the multicoloured bricks into their design. Cephas Howard consulted with play academic Bernie DeKoven and prolific German designer Reiner Knizia to create a total of 39 sets, some of which skewed more into RPG territory with combinable boards. All of the games used the LEGO Dice system, which deployed a signature rubber-rimmed die with interchangeable faces.

Then, there's BrikWars - the miniatures wargame will enjoy a 'definitive edition' after The LEGO Group pounded the formerly named Lego Wars into the legal dirt back in the late '90s.

Monkey Palace will be more fully revealed at the Nuremberg Toy Fair on January 30th, which is held annually in the German city whose name the convention borrows. Asmodee said copies of the game can be purchased at this year’s Spiel Essen ahead of a wider retail release on October 3rd.

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