(Part of a series, reviewing games I played in September 2013 at That Board Gaming Thing.)
The first game we tried to play Saturday morning was Dungeon Lords, by Vlaata Chvátil. Needless to say, a game that has a set of tutorials for combat, followed by an “easy play” first game, is not the sort of thing to start up first thing in the morning. So we skipped that and moved on to a much simpler game to warm up the old noggins.
(image courtesy of dr.mrow@BoardGameGeek)
Animal Upon Animal (or if you prefer, Tier Auf Tier) is a stacking and dexterity game. Each player is given a collection of animals in various shapes and sizes, and then takes turns trying to stack them up on the back of a very patient crocodile.
However, before you start stacking, you must roll a die. If you roll a one or a two, then you must place that many animals on the stack. If you roll a question mark, then another player gets to choose which animal you must place. Contrarywise, if you roll a hand, you get to give an animal to another player to place. And finally, if you roll the crocodile, you place an animal up to its nose or tail, to create a new base to build on.
Of course, with stacking games, the fun is what happens when the stack collapses. If one or two pieces fall off (not likely) then the person who just placed keeps them. If more fall off (more likely), then that person keeps two and the rest go back in the box. The winner of the game is the person who gets rid of all of their pieces.
The strategy of the game is rather minimal: Try to place pieces so that it screws the next person in line. And it was clearly designed for little kids (the box says ages 4-99). But the game is fast enough (about 15 minutes) and the pieces are charming enough, that it’s just a fun little filler — good to play with your kids, or just while you’re waiting for the next big game to start.
Final verdict: Buy It.