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Attract the most visitors into your zoo! As a zoo manager you construct your own zoo to attract visitors into your zoo. Visitors are attracted by large zoo areas for certain types of animals. But don't forget to place the paths in your zoo so that visitors can walk loops through your zoo. Visitors like many trees in a zoo, too.
A light, blind bidding game with attractive pieces, Zoosim works well with 3-4 and plays quickly, thus acting as a good filler. I recommend following one Spielfriek's advice: get multi-sided dice in order to keep track of who has the most stars in each animal type. In our first couple of games scoring was confusing as people failed to keep track of who had earned a majority.
Zoosim is a good game with a pleasing theme. How many of us haven't wanted to build and design our own zoo at one time! The goal is to earn points by attracting the most visitors to your zoo. The games moves fairly quickly. There are 5 rounds. During each round, 5 zoo tiles are bid on by players. The tiles have various paths and animal types on theme the more stars by the animals the more attractive the exhibit. There are also trees on the tiles which invite visitors to rest in the shade at your zoo. Bid is simultaneous (closed fist style) so it moves quickly. Ties in bidding are decided by the 'flagpole.' The highest flag wins the tie but then goes to the bottom of the pole. Tiles are placed and attractions tallied and then visitors distributed. Vistors are worth x1 in the first round, x2 in the 2nd and so on. There is a first and 2nd place with visitors. Visitors may also get stuck in 'pathloops' at your zoo (I guess they just keep going around in a circle and can't find the exit to visit your opponent's zoo). You earn income by the size (number of tiles) in your zoo. this goes for 5 rounds and the game is over. Simple yet challenging.
Well, right now my wife and I earn enough such that we could pretty much afford any toy our son would want. As a result, he doesn't always have to think about saving money or spending wisely. So how do you teach being careful with money, when you have enough?
One way is Zoosim, and after a few games our 5-year-old is already learning that just because he wants a certain tile, it doesn't mean he should bid everything he has for it, because then he can't afford anything else (plus, the prices for subsequent tiles gets much cheaper once everyone starts running out of cash). The rules are simple enough that he can see that certain tiles have a lot of value, certain have little, and most are in between.
I'd give this game 4 stars, but for most gamers there are some flaws that probably prevent it from being a favorite for a long time. For instance, it can get very confusing keeping up with who has the most (or second place) of whatever. Second, in some games one player might get lucky and pretty much runaway with the game after that (though the special scoring mechanism alleviates some of this problem).
In brief it's a fun enough game that can teach the value of saving and spending under the right circumstances.
After a careful look at the O Zoo Le Mio back cover, I see trees, park benches, and that the visitors are in 5 colors, apparently 3 per color.
So it would seem that O Zoo le Mio fixes one of the major problems with ZooSim (ie, how to tell who's got what visitors and for what reason). If I ever play that game, and if this happens to be as I suspect, then I'd give it 4 stars. Too bad I bought ZooSim before the 'fixed' version came out.
You start with eight coins and a random place on the list. Five parkland tiles, illustrating pathways and zoo animals valued from 1 to 3, are revealed and auctioned in order each round. Highest place on the list wins ties, and moves to last place.
Add tiles to your array, with adjacent pathways connected. Put a Spectator on an animal whose species is higher in value in your zoo than in competitors' zoos. Your species' value is that of its highest individual animal, unless you can add the values of adjacent animals not separated by pathways. Spectators float around the zoos; their placement constantly changes the status quo. At round's end, earn one coin for each tile, plus points equal to the round's number for each Spectator. Enclosing an area with pathways earns you a permanent Spectator. Highest score wins after five rounds.
Challenge your spatial and financial abilities as you enjoy this worthy contribution to gaming from Cwali, a tiny Dutch company.
There comes a point when a company can no longer hide behind the epithet "independent", which somehow implies small and occasionally tawdry. In Cwali's case, that time is now. It should have come last year when the perplexing Titicaca was born. Whilst I love this game, I simply haven't got a clue as to what is going on.
But no such problem with Zoo Sim, which shares the outstanding component production with its predecessor, but has an entirely intelligible set of rules and an orthodox procedure.
Participants in this game are owners of a small zoo and must stock their compound with a variety of wildlife. This is achieved by bidding for land tiles which will abut previous construction and provide a visual feast of the five groups -- fish, apes, reptiles, birds and assorted mammals -- available.
Having constructed your entrance (a screen to conceal coins -- eight each to commence), the 25 zoo tiles are shuffled, and five drawn to form the first Season. The contest concludes when all 25 tiles have been distributed.
Each colour-coded tile features a pathway, plus visual reference to one or more attractions. Additionally, the animals (the term used in the rulebook to facilitate all types) are rated by a star system. What you are hoping to achieve is a grouping of like animals, with a higher concentration of stars than your opponent. Eight usually does it, but this requires dexterity, solid spatial technique and a well-judged commitment when bidding. So, count me out.
Having exposed five tiles, the first is bid for, using the simple "in the fist" method, ie select concealed coins from your stock, simultaneously reveal, with the highest total winning. Ties are resolved using a unique "flagpole mechanism", onto which your company motif is placed (random to start). The highest flag on the pole wins ties, and is then demoted to the base. This is crucial towards the end of a Season when the dosh is running low.
So, what to bid for, and for what benefit?
Apart from the intrinsic financial value of the tile, players earn "visitor" tokens for their respective animal pens. Additionally, these tokens are awarded for completed walkways (loops) and the most trees (as depicted on the tiles).
Constructing settlements looks straightforward, but only provide value when adjacent. And because the tiles feature multiple groups (eg fish and apes), the options can prove confusing (not unlike Carcassone).
Let's assume you've won the first auction (at a cost of four coins) and have placed a three star aviary (birds, you fool!) and two-star ape house. The next tile you really fancy (and the last in sequence) is two-star bird and reptile combination. You'll be strong in the feather department, whilst making a foothold with our slimy brethren. And it's vital to grab tiles, because they are your only source of additional funding (added to that you have retained).
In an ideal world, you will seek to win at least two of the auctions, thus providing a solid base for future income, but will almost certainly have come close to exhausting your initial capital in doing so.
When visitors (the scoring mechanic) are initially placed, consider their loyalty tenuous. They will switch from site to site in this competitive marketplace, only likely to stay when a player builds an overwhelming pound.
Upon the inauguration of a specific animal house, the player shows control with a single token. Once two or more entrepreneurs are competing, additional visitors join the jamboree. This boils down to two points for the most stars, and one for second place. Trees are scored in an identical manner, whilst completed walkways provide permanent victory points. A generously illustrated leaflet provides clear examples of all likely scenarios.
At the end of each season (five auctioned tiles or "game rounds"), currency is distributed (one coin per tile) and visitors counted. From the second season onwards, multipliers are introduced, starting with 2x, then 3x, etc. For example, in season two, 8 visitors would equate to 16 points.
I had a certain unease about the possibility of a player striking out and establishing an unassailable lead. This has happened, but not consistently, so should not be considered a faultline.
Although I am probably the last person in the world to proffer advice, you will need strength in at least two animal groups, and because they cannot be challenged, walkways are effective.
Oddities? None really, although empty spaces are allowed, because tiles can be placed "half on half" as long as pathways connect. Frustrations? Plenty, as you try to assimilate your new purchase to maximise established holdings. Enjoyment? Undeniably. Zoo Sim could have easily come from the Kosmos or Hans im Glck factories, and Corn van Moorsel (in the guise of Cwali) is now on the frontline.