So, you know how Zooloretto is waaaay too complicated? (Just as a point of note, I've never had anyone actually agree with that.) Well, lucky for you, they came out with Zooloretto Mini! (And, just to be clear, this is a review of Zooloretto Mini, not a mini review of Zooloretto.) Since I haven't gotten around to reviewing Zooloretto yet, I will not assume any knowledge of that game on your part, dear reader. However, I will put in a quick section detailing the differences between the two games, for in case that is something you're looking for.
In Zooloretto Mini, your goal is to build a sweet little zoo that small children will want to come see. However, you have a cramped space, and so you can only hold a few animals. What's more, everyone knows that children don't like their animals to be mixed in different areas (when you're in the mood to see giraffes, you want to see giraffes! Not zebras!), so you are not allowed to have animals share a single area. To setup the game, you will have one truck per player. These trucks bring new animals to your zoo. Each turn, you have the option of drawing a random animal tile from the bag and putting it on the truck of your choice, or you can take one of the trucks. Once you take one of the trucks, you must immediately place all of the animals (and landscaping items) in your zoo - and, since animals can't share areas, if you have a type of animal that you cannot place, then they must go in your barn. At this point you check a couple of different things. First, you check to see if your animals have made a baby - because, you know, they actually do that... and we need to teach this to our children... have fun with that. The other thing that you check is to see if you have filled an area. If you have filled an area, then you immediately get a bonus - you may either discard an animal tile from your barn, or you may take an animal tile from an opponent's barn. Then (after taking a truck), you are done for the round. Once everyone has selected a truck, the round is over, so you set all the trucks back and start over. The game is played until the bag is empty (you pull some out at the beginning so that you don't use all the tiles each game). At this point, you score points based on the number of animals you have in each area, and for each kind of landscape you have - then you lose points for everything that you have in your barn.
So, as promised, here are the main differences between Zooloretto and Zooloretto Mini:
|The new enclosures|
- Zooloretto Mini does not have money actions of any kind. Instead, you get a small bonus action when you fill an enclosure.
- In Zooloretto Mini, you have three enclosures (since there's no money action, you can't gain a fourth), and they are all the same size (they also are not actually on the board; the board consists of three interconnecting pieces, and then you put the animals next to them.)
- It is obviously smaller and more portable
- The animals are different (and can be intermixed with Zooloretto's animals so that you can use whichever ones you prefer in either game)
- You have "landscape tiles" instead of lemonade stands ("vending stalls")
- The scoring is tweaked to work with the new style of enclosures
- Zooloretto Mini is suited for a slightly younger audience than Zooloretto - they could probably handle this a year or two earlier than normal Zooloretto due to the simpler rules
|The (kung fu) panda protects the end of game tiles|
Honestly, no real cons jump to mind about Zooloretto Mini. Yes, you may have to play it hundreds of times if your child falls in love with it, and yes, I think that you will hate it by the end of that, but does that count as a con? I'm going with no. Therefore, I have nothing to list in this section - feel free to add a con in the comments if you feel that there are some I've missed, because I'm sure it's not perfect.
Overall, I give Zooloretto Mini a 9.0/10 as a children's game. I was going to give it a lower score (around 8), but then when I couldn't think of any cons, it made me realize that I was shortchanging it. Sure, I'm not going to take it and play it repeatedly with my gaming group, but I think that it is a wonderful game to play with kids.
If you're looking for more kid's games, you might also check out Fastrack, Gubs, and duck! duck! Go!.
I would like to thank AbacusSpiele for providing me with a review copy of Zooloreto Mini via Eagle Games.