Reforming beautiful animals with shining crystals, dice, and magic.
Under the intrusion of dark magic, the animals have become extinct in Crystal Forest. We mages gather the Magic Stones of the forest and resist the darkness to revive magical animals.
Animals Gathering is a dice family game for 2-5 players that incorporates dice management, tile placement, set collection, and push-your-luck elements. The goal is to earn the most points by placing magic stones in Animal Index Cards to revive animals, providing powers and points as your companion.
—description from the publisher
In Animals Gathering, players take alternating turns performing one of two actions. The first possible action is selecting a new Animal Index Card from the central row and placing it in their summon area.
The other option is to roll the magic dice. Players can roll several dice based on the number of Animal Index Cards in their summon area; you subtract this number from 6. E.g., if you have 2 Animal Index Cards in your summon area, you can roll four dice (6 minus 2). Dice come in 3 colors, each with a different distribution of shapes. After rolling, you get the shapes shown on your dice. Your opponents gain shapes you can't place on your Animal Index Cards.
Once an Animal Index Cards is completely filled with the depicted shapes, the card moves to your companion area. From now on, you have a new ability or a scoring opportunity for the end of the game. Once a player has five or more Animal Index Cards in their companion area, the current turn is finished, and final scores are calculated. The player with the highest score is declared the winner!
In recent months, I'm enjoying exploring games released on the Asia market. With games like 12 Rivers and Bomb the Dragon, I've found that these games all are unique and different from games released in the US or Europe. I was thrilled when Wonderful World Board Games contacted me about Animals Gathering. I was immediately intrigued due to the artwork on the box and all the different shapes in the game.
Animals Gathering is a light family game with simple rules that involves drafting Animal Index Cards and rolling dice to complete those cards with the shown shapes. The artwork is beautiful and has a unique style not seen in many games. I like how the shapes depicted the animal; you can imagine a Chimpanzee based on the shape layout. The components are top-notch, with large cards, colorful dice, and a handy tray to store all shapes. The box cover is a work of art as well.
The gameplay is fast, competitive, And overall good fun. Chucking the dice and getting the shapes you need feels satisfying. All the different Animal Index Card abilities make for a different game each time, as the central market is different each time you play. I didn't like the luck involved in the dice rolls; you can still control some of that luck based on the shape distribution of each dice and some abilities. Some card abilities can also disrupt the plans of your competitors, so there is a little bit of take-that involved. You could opt to play without those cards. Another flaw is that it is pretty hard to catch up once you're behind, but this isn't too problematic with the quick and light nature of the game.
Each player has a unique power to utilize during the game for added replayability. The game also comes with a Spell Cards variant; each player gets two Spell Cards during set-up and chooses one. A spell can be used once to perform a powerful ability—a good addition that gives the game more to think about.
👍 Beautiful art & components
👍 Fast and competitive dice-chucking game with race element
👍 Mage abilities and Spell Cards variant
👍 Satisfying completing cards
➖ luck involved in dice rolls
➖ No catch-up once you're behind
➖ Some take-that
Animals Gathering is a light family game with simple rules that involves drafting Animal Index Cards and rolling dice to complete those cards with the shown shapes. The artwork is beautiful and has a unique style not seen in many games. The gameplay is fast, competitive, and overall good fun. There is some luck and take that involved, but if that doesn't bother you, Animals Gathering is an excellent addition to your collection.