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Excitement in the zoo! The animals are loose and must be brought back into the enclosures as fast as possible. If only you can remember where the animals were last! All players try at the same time to find and collect pairs of animals. For correct pairs, the player receives positive points and for wrong pairs, minus points.
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
AffenRaffen may become the game that is played more than any other game in my collection. Is that because it is the best game I own? Not really, it is rather because the game takes only 10-15 minutes to play, and therefore it can be played anytime, anywhere.
So is AffenRaffen worth playing and buying?
The short answer is yes, its an excellent filler, easily played and a lot of loud fun.
Now for the longer answer.
First, a short description of game play.
The game consists of 72 tiles. Sixty-six of these tiles have a tan back, and are shuffled and spread face down on the table. Four tiles have a red back and are shuffled and spread also at the side of the table. The last two tiles are duel sided tiles, with a 1. +3, and 2. +2 on them. The sixty-six tan tiles have several different faces. There are twenty of three colors: blue, green, and gold. Each color has four identical pictures of five different animals: penguin, zebra, lion, baboon, and flamingo. So all together, there are fifteen identical sets of animals/colors. The other six tiles have a gray background and have the following on them: A picture of a pair of zebra tiles with a -2 at the bottom, a picture of a pair of lion tiles with a -2 at the bottom, a picture of a pair of penguin tiles with a +/- 3 at the bottom, a picture of a pair of baboon tiles with a +/- 3 at the bottom, a picture of a pair of flamingo tiles with a +/- 3 at the bottom, and a picture of the 1. +3 tile with a +/- 5 at the bottom.
Game play takes place in three rounds. For each round, one player draws one of the red tiles. This tile determines how many matches and of what kind each player must draw from the tan tiles. A match is two tiles that have both the same color and same animal. One red tile shows that the players must find 5 matches, of any animal and color. The second red tile shows that the players must find 3 matches, one of each color. Another tile means they must 3 matches, of three different animals. The last tile shows that the players must find three matches, one of each color, and of three different animals.
Someone shouts Go! and the round begins. Using one hand only, the players quickly turn over tiles, looking at them, then turning them back facedown. Once they find a pair that matches their goal, they quickly grab them, one at a time, and place them in front of themselves. Once they have a match, they may not look at that match again for the remainder of the round. If they find one of the gray tiles, they have a choice of taking them or not. If they take one of the -2 tiles, they can throw it in front of another player. That player must then get a match of that animal type or lose two points during scoring. If they find a +/- 3 tile, they can put it face-up in front of themselves. If they get a match of that animal, they get an extra three points, but if not, they lose three points. If they find the +/-5 tile, they can place it in front of themselves, and if they finish first, they get +5 points. If they finish second or more, they lose five points! Once one player is finished, they grab the 1. +3 tile, and the next player to finish grabs the 2. +2 tile. Once the second player finishes, the round is immediately over.
During scoring, each player gets the points/loses the points for their bonus tiles. They also receive one point for every correct pair, and lose a point for every incorrect pair. For example, if I was supposed to get three pairs of three different colors, and I got a pair of gold lions, a pair of blue lions, and a pair of gold flamingos, I would get 2 points for having two correct pairs, and lose a point for having 2 gold pairs. After three rounds, whoever has the highest score is the winner!
Some comments on the game:
1). Components: The box is a nice, little sturdy box, and easily holds all the tiles. It would fit well on any game shelf. The tiles themselves are incredible. They are the thickest tiles I have ever seen in a game, which is good, because they take a lot abuse. We have played the game many, many times, and the tiles have held up extremely well. Also, the colors are easily distinguishable (even for a color-blind person) as well as the pictures. The game is produced in Germany, but all the components are language independent.
2). Speed: Im not talking about how fast the game plays even though it is very fast. What I mean is that people who can move their hand fast will naturally have an advantage. You will find that some kids will destroy you at this game. Its fun and very fast, and not necessarily strategic.
3). Memory: Many, many mistakes are made during game play because some players just cant remember what tiles they have already gotten. Its especially hard when you have to get three different colors, and three different animals. Did I already get a blue match? Did I already get a flamingo match? It sounds easier than it is, and I have seen most people playing the game make a mistake at least once. (to the joy of the other players)
4). Nastiness and Gambling: The gray tiles add a lot of fun to the game. You can always throw down a -2 tile in front of the leader, and hope they dont get a match of that animal. If you need a lot of points, you can grab one of the +/- 3 tiles, but it is a sad day for you if you dont get that animal match, especially if another player finishes before you. Sometimes you can get a lot of points in a round, other times you can lose a lot of points. Points arent hard to keep track of, since the final totals are almost always 20 points or less.
5). Rules: Since it is a German game, you have to get a copy of the rules in English if you cannot read German (as I cannot). However, the translation of rules provided on the net is only two pages long and are very clear.
6). Fun Factor: The game does not require much brainpower at all to play. There are very few strategic decisions, and those with a good memory, keen eye, and quick hand are going to do better. That being said, everyone I have played the game with enjoys it tremendously. Its not our favorite game, and it grows tiresome after two or three repeated plays, but it is an excellent filler. Its a tremendous game to play with mixed groups of children and adults. One must watch for cheaters, people who use both hands, or who look at the tiles they have already gathered, but gentle reminders usually help stop this problem.
Overall, I highly recommend this game. It would never be the centerpiece game of my game night, but it often is a game we play when we only have a short time between games. A fantastic filler!
Memory and matching come together in this cute filler for both kids and adults. The game is very simple and works well, with tiles showing five different animals in any of three colors making up most of the components. In the fast-paced and simultaneous play, players try to collect pairs of these animals, with a pair being always defined as the same animal on the same color background.
The animal tiles all begin face down in the center of the table. The method of collecting pairs is well defined -- with one hand on your lap and the other doing the work, you can look at any one tile and place it back in the same position. Once you find a pair, you take each tile separately and put it face down in front of you. Since everyone is doing this at the same time, and racing against one another in the process, it is not as simple as it sounds to remember where the pairs are.
Everyone is playing to reach a specific goal. There are four goal tiles in the game, which outline both how many pairs can be collected and what features must appear in the pairs. For example, one goal is to collect three pairs with three different animals, but the colors can be the same for the pairs. A different goal is to collect pairs with different colors, but the animals can be the same. The goal tile is revealed at the start of the round, and as soon as a player takes the number of pairs on the goal card (three or five), they grab the "first out" tile. The next player to finish gets the "second out" tile and the round ends. Scoring is simple: one point for each proper pair, minus one point for each improper pair, and bonus points if you got the "first or second out" tiles and actually made the goal. In addition, anyone who takes one of the "out" tiles but does not meet the goal requirement scores minus two points.
It gets a bit more frantic, because in addition to the animal tiles there are six special goal tiles in the mix. If you draw one of these tiles, you choose whether to keep it or not. If you keep it and meet its condition, you score bonus points. If you don't meet the conditions, you lose those points. The best feature of the game is the "-2" special goal tile. If you draw this one, you place it in front of another player who must make the condition on the tile or lose two points. This player doesn't score positive if he makes that goal. The special goal tiles do let you take extra pairs; you can only take as many pairs as the primary goal dictates, thus it can be difficult to fill the main goal and possibly several special goals all at once.
The game plays through three rounds, so one of the four primary goals isn't used each game. Affen Raffen plays very fast and should be a hit with kids, since not only do they grasp it quickly but they are also often better than the adults. The fast pace and simultaneous play creates a sense of urgency to each round. The tiles are made of thick cardboard so should stand up well over multiple plays.
Affen Raffen is a good game to have on the shelf. It has little strategy yet is still fun, and it is not as easy as it may sound. The title is curious -- I think that Affen Raffen means "Monkey's Pile", a fine enough name, but why have a game about collecting pairs of animals and not relate it to Noah's Ark?