Zooloretto review

16 December 2015
zooloretto-49160.jpg Zooloretto
Create the world's great zoo but don't overcrowd the cages with camels

Abacus Spiele | Tile placement | £37.99 | 2-5 players | 45 minutes | www.zooloretto.com 

Running a zoo isn’t easy. You’ve only got so much room before the animals presumably start eating each other. You’ve got to get a load of vending machines near the animal closures and stuff them full of cuddly pandas. Oh, and then there’s looking after the animals themselves, which costs a heap of money even when they’re hidden away in a barn eating food and causing a mess.

You start with three pens to pack with cute captives and you can buy an extra pen later in the game. The pens hold differing numbers of animals and then beside each cage there’s a plot of land for a money-spinning kiosk. Animals are represented by square tiles that are drawn from a bag at the beginning of each turn. The bag also contains kiosks and occasionally money – why the animals don’t just eat the food from the kiosks while in the bag is anyone’s guess.

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Anyway, after being hauled from the safety of the bag, tiles are added to trucks around the board. During your turn instead of pulling more tiles from the bag you can jump into the driver’s seat of the lorry and kidnap the animals for your zoo. Once they’ve arrived all dizzy from the tranquiliser darts, you can pop them into enclosures – ensuring that only animals of the same type are kept together. If you don’t want all the animals you must send them to the barn – which is where all the unloved animals go to wither away, desperate to be seen and loved.

When it comes to the lorries you can play it tactically by blocking other players by filling the trucks with animals no one wants – such as the camel, which nobody likes. Filthy things. At the end of the game your score depends on the amount of animals you’ve got in each enclosure and the more full they are, the more points you’ll get. As such, the final turns are generally spent prodding and goading the animals from the lonely barn (any animals in the barn take away from your final total) to larger enclosures so you can get a maximum bonus.

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