Being A Zookeeper Is Easier Than It Sounds

Ever wanted to collect monkeys? How about elephants or flamingos? Well here’s your chance!

In Zooloretto, each player is building their own personal zoo, and is competing to fill their pens with as many exotic animals as possible without going over (extra animals count against your score). Like in Coloretto, you can choose to put a tile (usually an animal) on a truck, or taking a truck and adding its contents to your zoo.

But what really sets Zooloretto apart are the money actions you can perform. These are critical; they not only allow you to move animals around and expand your zoo, they also buy you time if you don’t feel like taking a truck or putting a tile out. These additional actions are brilliant, and quite possibly what made this game so famous (and earned it the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award in 2007).

The Breakdown

  • Decisions: 4/5. This game feels very light, but in reality it’s always forcing you to walk a lovely tightrope between cutting your losses, shooting the moon, and messing other people up. The money actions give you additional options to consider, which means that there’s seldom a boring turn.
  • Artwork: 4/5. Admit it—you probably think the cover artwork is cheesy. I know, I do too; it makes it look like a kids game about huggable fuzzy pandas. The in-game artwork itself is much more appropriate, although there’s still plenty of cutness to be had (baby giraffe, anyone?).
  • Replayability: 4/5. Depending on the number of players, the number of animal types varies, which makes for a very different game. Also, some games you will have ridiculous stacks of cash, while others you are barely scraping by.
  • Awesomeness: 4/4. I like this game a lot. While I have to help my kids with the money actions, the core of the game is simple enough that even four-year-olds can play. Seeing the delight on my kids faces as the different animals come out of the bag is priceless!

Total Score: 16/20

Ignore the box artwork; Zooloretto is a fantastic game for adults who like a large amount of risk and chance in their games. It’s certainly the most fun you’ll ever have with pandas, giraffes, and cheetas. And the best part? Never once do you have to clean the cages!

  • Decisions 80% 80%
  • Artwork 80% 80%
  • Replayability 80% 80%
  • Awesomeness 80% 80%