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Animal upon Animal, after two years and with the Crow!
Animal upon Animal was one of my first reviews here on bgg and one of the most successful games I introduced to my kids. It has seen a lot of plays while there were 3, but then it was played less and less. It's definitely not the issue of the game being to easy - building a large stack of animals can be though even for adults. I'd say, it's more about playing it too much combines with the cult of the new (yes, apparently even kids have it and they just jump on any novelty, quickly forgetting about the old stuff). Anyhow, let's take another look at this game and the new promo piece from Haba.
To get a detailed overview of the game, please go to my previous review; here let me just quickly summarize it. Animal upon animal is a classic stacking game, where the players themselves determine the next object to be stacked. Each player (2 to 4) starts with a set of six wooden animals (each of different shape) and the goal is to get rid of all of them. In most cases it means simply adding them to the stack, but sometimes (depending on the dice roll) you may also give your animals to another player.
This sounds simple and it really is, you (and your kids) should grasp the rules in no time. This also sounds easy, but it's not always the case. First, the animals have very different shapes and while stacking some of the is a piece of cake (snake, penguin), others are more difficult. The most difficult one is definitely the sheep which has a lot of round surfaces and is hard to hook to any other piece. The game can get easier (and in turn less frustrating to smaller kids) if the crocodile is rolled, since then you can put an animal next to the mouth or tail of the crocodile base, thus enlarging the piling surface used for piling animals. Unfortunately you can often see games where the crocodile is not rolled for a longer time and keeping the stack intact gets really hard.
The crow is the Essen 2011 promo figure released by Haba, that can be added to the base game (or to any other game from this family). I'm not usually into promos but since it for my kids I decided to get it and thanks to one awesome bgg'er from Germany I got 4 copies of it. It's pictured above (among other Essen 2011 goodies).
So how does it play? Well, I decided to just add it to the starting set for each player, so now everyone has 7 pieces and the game gets a bit longer and harder. The crow itself looks to be in a slightly different scale than the other animals and is the largest piece of all (not counting the croc). It is also a piece with a lot of round surfaces, which makes it a difficult piece to stack - based on a few games I would say it's as difficult as the sheep and the higher the stack goes, the more difficult it is to place. It's definitely not an indispensable piece and Animal upon Animal works just fine with it, but may be a welcomed addition for 2-player adult games, if you want to push the difficulty level up a notch.
So, to summarize it - Animal upon Animal still rocks after two years and is a perfect kids game which you can introduce at a very early age.
Move along, move along...
I recognize this crow from My first Orchard, another HABA game...
I see the recommended gae for this game is 3 years, do you feel that the shapes are easy enough to be stacked by a 2 year old? I am keen to introduce my son to this game, but wonder if it might still be too difficult at his age...