Nothing is more relaxing and magical than a trip to the zoo. Witnessing the gentle grace of the herons or the silliness of the monkeys is something that stays with you for years. But while visiting the zoo may be all fun and games, building a zoo is another story entirely! New York Zoo pits players against each other to see who can be the first to fill their zoo with a variety of wild animals. Players will have to balance their strategy between building new enclosures and acquiring new animals in order to fill their zoo and win the game.
Build Your Own Zoo
The goal of New York Zoo is to be the first player to completely fill your playing board and complete the construction of your very own zoo. In order to fill your board, you’ll need to build enclosures, collect animals, and manage the breeding of these beautiful creatures as they do what animals do naturally: create offspring!
The board game begins with each player taking their own playing board, which represents the zoo they’re attempting to build. There is also a board that sits in the middle of the table for all of the players to use in order to collect different tiles for their individual zoos. A little Elephant pawn is placed on the board, which each player will take turns moving around the board to collect either an Enclosure tile or an animal.
If a player collects an Enclosure tile, then they will immediately add that tile to their board wherever they like (as long as it doesn’t cover up another tile on the board). Then, they have to move one to two animals into the Enclosure. These animals can come either from one of their houses or from another Enclosure. If the player has no available animals to move, then they can’t add the tile to their board.
Breeding the Animals
If a player lands on the Animal Acquisition space, then they get to collect up to two animals that are shown randomly. Players must immediately place the animal in an Enclosure or in one of their houses. If there’s no space for the animal, then the player can’t take it. However, if the player doesn’t like the random options of animals shown, then they can select one animal of their choice from the main supply.
There’s a special way of acquiring more animals in New York Zoo called breeding. This occurs for all players whenever the Elephant crosses a breeding line on the board. One specific type of animal will then breed, and all players that have two of that animal in an Enclosure can add an additional animal to their Enclosure.
Filling the Zoo
Once you’ve filled up one of your Enclosures, then you can empty all of the animals out of your Enclosure and select an Attraction tile to add to your board. These are useful for filling in single gaps on your board in between Enclosure tiles. When you empty an Enclosure of animals, you’re allowed to store one of the animals in one of your houses to use later.
New York Zoo ends once one player has successfully filled their board with Enclosure tiles and Attraction tiles. This means that players will need to make sure they’re placing their Enclosure tiles properly in order to reduce the number of Attraction tiles they need to collect. If more than one player fills their board at the same time, then the player with the most animals wins the game.
Monkey Around with New York Zoo
New York Zoo is a board game playable by 1-5 players, so it’s well suited for families or single-player games. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, as the mechanics are relatively simple to follow. Playing time lasts around 30-60 minutes, which is good for younger players who may lose interest in games that drag on for hours.
This board game is very easy to learn, as you only have two choices each turn: build an enclosure or collect animals. However, there is plenty of fun to be had in strategizing the best way to build your zoo before the other players. Embrace your inner zookeeper and buy New York Zoo today!