Monkey Face Time

Players must work together to evolve three distinct monkey species, each with a unique facial pattern all its own.



Monkey Face-Time is a three player cooperative card game about monkeys living together, looking at each other, and how that changes their appearance over the course of time.

Players communicate using visual clues and indirect information to help one another evolve distinct species of monkeys, each with its own unique facial pattern. The fewer shared facial pattern components, the healthier the community and the better the outcome for everyone.

Advance all three monkey markers to the outer ring of the character displacement scale before the cards run out and you’ve aced the evolution game.

Guenon 101


Guenons (genus Cercopithecus) are a group of approximately 30 closely related species of Old World monkeys living predominantly in Central and Western Africa. They are the most colorful and visually diverse monkeys in the world with complex facial patterns that help them avoid breeding between species.

Guenons are famous for their spectacular, extraordinarily diverse facial patterns that play a fundamental role in reproductive health and genetic viability. These complex facial patterns are a form of non-vocal communication called visual signaling that helps guenons to discriminate between who they should and should not breed with.

Communities of guenon species living together in the same niche habitat are described as living in sympatry. Sympatric guenon species form communities that eat together, play together, and help each other keep an eye out for predators and yet despite living together in close-knit communities they rarely, if ever, mate outside their own species.


Unlike guenon species that live in isolation, species that live in sympatry evolve increasingly diverse facial patterns over time, an evolutionary progression known as character displacement. Scientists who study evolution are still undecided whether character displacement is an observable pattern of evolutionary outcomes, an evolutionary process in and of itself, or some combination of the two.


Monkey Face-Time was inspired by guenon monkey facial pattern and character displacement research conducted by the Primate Reproductive Ecology and Evolution Group at NYU’s Center for the Study of Human Origins (CSHO). The game is designed to help foster mental models of complex evolutionary concepts through playful interaction.