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Zooloretto

Designed by Michael Schacht and published by ABACUSSPIELE, Zoololoretto isn't a new game. It was first published back in 2007, when it won the coveted Spiel des Jahres award. This tho' is a new edition from ABACUSSPIELE.


Zooloretto is itself something of a reworking of Coloretto (ABACUSSPIELE): Michael Schacht's card game that was first published in 2003. Zooloretto takes the core mechanic of Coloretto and transposes it into a board game. Play is deceptively simple: you draw a tile and place it in one of 3D 'trucks' that can each hold up to three tiles. The tiles will mostly show animals but some will depict refreshment stands or coins. As an alternative to drawing and placing a tile, you can take any one of the trucks - full or otherwise - and add the animals and any refreshment stands to your individual zoo. When you take a truck, you are passing for the rest of the round.



Your zoo will be made up of a number of enclosures. Each enclosure can only accommodate one species of animal. At the end of the game, they will score only when complete or almost complete (ie: have all but one spot filled). Refreshment stands score and they allow you to collect some points for animals in incomplete enclosures. You'll inevitably collect animals that you can't fit into your enclosures and these go into your barn where they will score negative points.


There are a couple more elements to take account of. Some of the animals have a blue or red heart icon designating them as male or female. If you have a mating pair in an enclosure they reproduce. More often than not this will be good news but if there's no room in your enclosure for the offspring, they too will go to your barn where they may result in end-game penalties. There are also coins in Zooloretto that can be used to transfer animals out of your barn, to buy animals from other players' barns and to build an extension to your zoo to give you an additional enclosure.



That is the game in a nutshell. It's easy to learn, not least because it's thematically sound (the actions you take all make thematic sense). It's a set collection and tile placement game that confronts players with push-your-luck choices: do you immediately take an incomplete truck with tiles with which you can make productive use or do you hold on until the truck is further filled, albeit with the risk that it'll get an unhelpful tile added or that an opponent will nab it ahead of your next turn?


If you don't already have Zooloretto, then you should definitely hunt down this new edition. And as a bonus, this edition also incorporates optional balloon vendor and picnic tiles, and tiles that are designed for use when playing Zooloretto with just two players. If you're collecting all the mini-expansions that have been added to Zooloretto over the years (>30 on our last count) then you'll of course want these too.


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