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Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Strategy Game, 2004

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 45 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Corne van Moorsel

Manufacturer(s): Cwali

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Product Description

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.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Strategy Game, 2004

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Corne van Moorsel

  • Manufacturer(s): Cwali

  • Artist(s): Frank Czarnetzki

  • Year: 2002

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 45 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 538 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English).


  • 4 zoo entrance shields
  • 4 starting tiles
  • 35 coins
  • 35 visitors
  • flag pole tile
  • 4 flags
  • 25 zoo tiles
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.5 in 4 reviews

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by Doug G
Light bidding fun
December 01, 2002

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.

Excellent game for families or slightly lighter fare
November 23, 2002

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.

by Emory
Not perfect, but cute and teaches saving...
December 06, 2003

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.

by Dr Jay
Loop the Loop, and It's for the Birds!
October 11, 2003

The pages of rules to read always attract gamers. Cwali again scored a winner with short rules and ease of play.

After playing Titicaca several months ago, I knew Cwali is cementing a reputation for playable games. ZooSim proved a possible winner. Our group of four all liked the little houses for hiding your gray coins. Such names as Zoo World, Zoo Grande, Zoo Life, and so forth certainly added to the entertainment of the game.

Our group had to immediately distinguish the colors of the zoo: orange for Apes, Red (more pinkish)for Birds, Yellow for mammals, and Gray for reptiles. The idea was achieving adjacency.

Adjacency meant thinking like a game of dominoes. You had to play gray against gray, for example, in adjacent tiles. Adjacent tiles as we interpreted the rules did not mean adjacent road tiles. The colors had to match against each other.

One soon found that having eight gray coins at the beginning did not ensure you would have the highest bid. The flag idea caught on immediately for the ties in the bids. Each player had a colored flag that was placed randomly at the game's beginning. That flag was moved to the bottom of the flag stack once had a bid had been tied. The most prominent flag at the top of the pole won the oustanding bid for that player.

The zoo building started slowly. It was important to connect one of two roads from the initial zoo entrance or building. Then, the problem of matching colors for subsequent bids became apparent. I tended to bid too low and only achieved maybe one or two tiles for the five tiles up for bid each round.

The visitor part of the game certainly interested the players. When you achieve a loop--even a small one--you immediately receive a permanent visitor or black-blocked figure. Other visitors are acquired by the most stars on birds, reptiles, mammals, apes, and so forth. Then, your multipliers are calculated at the end of each round. For example, if you have the most black-blocked visitors at the end of the second round, you multiply that number times two for your count.

Soon one player started running away with the game. He was smart enough to match adjacencies and tile stars for the most points in certain animal categories. Others struggled along to match particular road tiles to achieve some kind of points with sea animals, for example. I still don't think I recognized many of the reptile grays, except for the red cobra.

It became evident that the bidding for final rounds was going to be extremely spirited. One receives replacement coins for the number of tiles down on your particular zoo. The far-ahead player bid seven gray coins for the last tile of the game, and I bid five. Naturally, the far-ahead player completed his zoo with the most birds, most mammals, most other mammals, and most reptiles. The final scores were: 138, 81, 68, and 50.

We discovered certain points resulted from an analysis of the game. The tiles for the different animal tiles are not completely balanced. It pays to go for broke on the final five-tile bidding. One has to be extremely careful to match the colors and remember the domino theory of adjacency. One zoo's visitors can change every turn, and it is important to save the coins for the later rounds.

Would I play the game and recommend to others? It is good beer-and-pretzel gaming with the flavor of Carcassonne and Wooly Bully thinking thrown in.

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