Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Bruno Cathala




The small cardgame Animalia for two to six players actually started as a commercial article by the Swiss Insurance Company 'Assura' to promote their new insurance for pets, but instead of doing a pure merchandising article the company wanted to put out a real game without any reference to insurances, and they even got Bruno Cathala to co-author the game.

The rules of gameplay are rather easy to grasp. In the game, four different kinds of animals exist (Dogs, Cats, Horses, Parrots). Each deck of animals consists of seven cards, and during his turn the active player turns around the topmost card of the random deck, reveals it and decided whether he wants to keep the animal for his own collection or whether he wants to pass the cards to his left neighbour. If kept, the card is placed in front of the player, but if he rejects it is now up to his neighbour to keep the card or to give it just to the next player in the line. This continues until the card is taken by a player, or returns to the active player who then has to add an additional card to the first one from the drawing pile and then once again has to decide whether to pass or keep these cards. Following this process, up to three cards may be passed around the table and rejected, but if the collection of three cards returns to the active player he will have to keep them for good.

On which grounds does a player decide which cards he wants to keep? Easy enough, he will need to get animals of the same kind. In total, each player will collect a total of 5 animal cards, and after all players have their five cards they will score victory points according to the animals they have collected. So, a single animal does not count for any victory points, but the possession of two ore more animals of the same kind gives the player one victory point for each animal in this group. The players receive victory point markers of the colours corresponding to their animals which they keep face down in front of themselves. Handing back all their animals, another round of collecting starts in which the players once again try to get animals and score victory points once everybody has 5 animals. After the evaluation, the third and final round starts, and after the evaluation following the third round all players will reveal their victory point markers. Now the players will have to check whether they were able to collect five victory points of a colour, and for each five victory points of one colour they will receive an additional five victory points as a bonus.

However, some more spice is added by the special options connected with some of the cards. So, there are some rather beautiful star-rated animals which pass as the 'stars' of a player's collection, and the player with the most stars at the end of a round may draw 2 additional cards which he may try to improve his collection by replacing one or two of his animals to get more valuable combinations. Also included are three animals allowing actions, and these are the Thief, the Spy and the Rascal. A player needs to action cards of the same type but of different animals to use such an action, and whereas the Thief allows the player to steal a card from an opponent, the Rascal will give the player a possibility to bestow one of his animals on another player (who will probably have no need for it). The Spy on the other hand allows the player to check the top five cards of the drawing pile and to arrange them in any way he likes.

Animalia is a cute little cardgame with not too many strategic implications. Play progresses fast without the players being held up by long phases of decision making, and to my mind this light-going cardgame is just the right ending for an evening which had begun with a longer boardgame. The artwork on the cards is marvellous, picturing an impressive collection of hilarious animals, and together with the fats-paced rules the game certainly forms the high-quality to which modern cardgames can be developed.

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright © 2007 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany