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Animania is a short small-box animal-themed combat card game from Play With Us Design. Tho' it's notionally a 3-5 player game, you really need the full complement of five players to make the most of it, but even with five players Animania plays in a lively filler-length 5-10 minutes.

Designed by Ke-Chen Hsu, with art by Toro Chen, Animania is all about being the last player left. Everyone starts with six health and an animal card that shows their asymmetric ability. Players also have similar decks of action cards to attack other players and to heal. Players all start with a hand of three cards and, simultaneously, they all draw another card and play a card face down so that others don't know what they've played. The cards are all then revealed and you work out how much damage has been dished out to each player and apply any heal effects, all subject to your animals' asymmetric abilities and modifiers. When an animal's health is reduced to zero, that player is eliminated. However, the twist in this game is that when a player is eliminated, so too is the player that attacked that player but who contributed the least damage...

It's this latter condition that turns Animania into an entertaining party game. Obviously players need to attack each other but no-one wants to risk being the player making the lowest powered attack when a rival is eliminated. This opens up opportunity for bluff and 'Prisoners' Dilemma' considerations... Our only gripe is that one or two of the animals' special powers aren't immediately obvious from the card iconography.

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This blog post is a must-read for anyone interested in the topic. It is informative, thought-provoking, and engaging.

moto x3m

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