Courtesy of elSchwabo of BGG

Publisher:  Rio Grande Games

Designer:  Michael Schacht

Players: 2-5

Time:  45 min.

Ages:  8+

We have just returned from a trip to our local zoo and thought what a great time to write about Zooloretto.  In Zooloretto, every one is trying to design the most effective and beautiful zoo.  Each player will gather animals, money and stalls to score points at the end of the game.  The player with the most points is the ultimate zoo keeper of Zooloretto!

Zooloretto is very simple at its core.  At the beginning of the game each player starts with a zoo, an extension and 2 coins.  Their zoo extension is flipped over and can be upgraded later in the game using money.

You play in a series of rounds.  A round is over when all the trucks are chosen for each player’s zoo.  On your turn, you can do one of three actions.  The first action is to use your money.  You can upgrade your zoo by flipping over your extension to give you more room for your animals, buy someone else’s animal in their barn or switch two different animals in your own zoo.  The second action you can take is to pick a tile from the bag at random and put it on any truck with available space.  The last action you can take is by taking a truck that is available.  Once everyone has picked a truck the round is over.

Pick an animal…any animal!

The beauty of this game is the picking tiles and putting it on a truck.  You won’t be able to collect every kind of animal because if you have no room for the animal it goes in your barn.  You get points taken away at the end of the game for each type of animal that is still in your barn.  So, when you place tiles you have to put them on trucks where it is good for you but then others will see that you want a specific truck and then they will load it with animals that you don’t need.  Or if you get an animal that doesn’t help you, you can mess with other players by putting it on a truck they might want.  Deciding what truck to choose and when to choose it becomes a game in itself.  It is not always a bad idea to just take a truck with one animal on it, but once you choose a truck you are done for the round and can’t do any more actions.  You might get the one animal that you want but you don’t get as many animals as other players.

Decisions, Decisions???

It is also fun to get mommy and daddy animals of a type.  When you do that they have a baby.  Who doesn’t like putting a baby elephant in their zoo?

That is a mighty fine zoo!

Once all the tiles are taken from the bag the game ends at the end of that round.  At the end of the game, you score points for how well you were able to fill your zoo.  You get points for each area that is full of one type of animal.  You get lesser points in an exhibit if you are missing only one animal.  You get no points if more than one space is empty in an exhibit.  If you have a stall next to an area then you score one point for each available space that is open, without an animal.

Zooloretto is a fantastic family game.  The kids love the idea of building your own zoo.  They love collecting the animals and getting babies to place in their enclosures.  They quickly learn the strategy of putting the animals you want on a truck that they want and putting animals they don’t want on other trucks meaning they will quickly make life worse for you without even knowing.  When my 3 year old gets a chance to pick a game she always picks the “game with all the animals”.  The scoring can get a bit tricky for them but they usually do pretty well.  We love Zooloretto….Thanks Grandma Vail!!

Until next time…….fill those exhibits!!

  • Tim