So, this is the part of the review where I usually mention some fluffy nonsense to get you ready for a game, but this week, I think I’m going to skip that part and jump right into the review.
Animouv is an abstract strategy game from Martin Anderson that pits two to four players against one another to win animal cards. I don’t know much about Martin Anderson’s background in gaming, but until earlier tonight when I started doing some research for this piece, I figured he actually hated gamers. But we’ll get to that a little later in the piece.
In Animouv, twelve animal tokens are set randomly chosen and placed on specific starting spot on the board. From there, players are dealt one card that shows three of the animal faces on the card. The player must line up their three animals to win the point for the card. If, during any players turn after they have moved their piece, the three animals you have on your card are lined up, you win the card and draw a new card.
Piece movement is really simple. You can move any piece once either orthogonally one open space or you may jump (and continue jumping as long as you can without backtracking) the other pieces. After one movement, the turn rotates to your opponent. Play continues like this until a player has 13 points and is declared the winner.
I don’t have much to say about this game. First off, we’ll talk about the quality of the game. The animal tokens are kinda cute, and the board is a good quality…and that’s about all I can say was positive from my experience with this game. However, that is mostly my fault. I misread a rule when playing this game at PAX that made is less of a game and more of a luck-based activity that caused me nothing but frustration. I read that every movement, you drew a card, attempted to match the card, and then discarded the card. So, basically, if you couldn’t make the move in 1 turn, you had to move on to the next card. It made the game infuriating and horrendous to play. To the point where I dreaded having to write a review about the game because I didn’t think I’d find anything positive to say. I was ready to burn the game in effigy and figured that Martin really just wanted to see how many adult he could turn away from the board gaming world.
So, for that reason, this is the first game ever to receive an incomplete in Board @ PAX. I just don’t feel right giving it a rating when I broke a rule the so fundamentally change the game. It would be akin to playing Pandemic but shuffling the deck before drawing every round. You would just be chasing cubes around the board with no strategy or anything make the game feel cohesive. So, if you’re looking for a children’s game that can teach some strategy to your young one, maybe give this game a try. It’s possible that your experience won’t leave a bad taste in your Animouv.