zombie homer
msg tools
designer
My second entry to the 2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design ContestComponents Available

Players: 2
Game Time: 15 mins
Ages: 8+

Overview
Strange creatures started emerging in parts from a different dimension! As the 2 best zoologists, you were tasked to assemble these creatures and care for them in your sanctuary. The world is watching, curious to see the different creatures you will gather...

Zany Zoo is a 2-player card drafting game in which you select a total of 12 multi-use cards over 3 rounds. The cards can be used to
build your creatures, feed them, or clean up their wastes. Build creatures with compatible parts, anticipate your opponent’s strategy,
and manage your sanctuary well to win and be recognized as the ‘best zoologist of the third dimension’!


Components
34 cards (basic game)
8 cards (full game)
3 quick reference cards

Categories
As per contest’s automatically entered categories.

Downloads
Game Rules - draft v0.1
Cards - draft v0.1

Thanks for dropping by and if you helped print and play test the game, I will be most grateful if you can share your experience
and areas for improvement with me here.

Edit 01: Artwork completed! Update the download links to the new cards and refreshed the rules, with help from Just Knecht to clarify some sections of the rules. Thanks!
Edit 02: Updated photo - printed cards with new artwork
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Iffix Y Santaph
msg tools
designer
badge
If you can't beat the heat... You're not Jack Sly.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oh my goodness. Kids are going to love this. The assemble any 3 parts to create a creature is super cool. (I imagine the 💩 part will appeal more to boys.) Very well done again. I look forward to seeing more of your designs in the future.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well this is adorable. And I love it when card games have multi-use cards!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Arif Nezih Savi

Ankara
msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I printed this out today, will give it a spin this week and feedback

My wife went over the rulebook, reading for like... half an hour, in the end she got frustrated and told me to tell you she needs a gameplay video
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just Knecht
msg tools
Very nice game, and great fun to play.

We got up and running very quickly for an initial game, and subsequent games were easily less than 15 minutes each once we'd got used to it, and were able to play more strategically (e.g. I hadn't noticed at first that there was a bonus card which might penalise me for not feeding my animals).

You have a nice house style in the way you set out rules so clearly, just as you did in Grand Sumo, presenting the objectives and overview up front, with a visual explanation of the card anatomy.

The mechanism you call 'drafting' (dealing at random, selecting a card and passing the hand to the other player) is interesting. Is it commonly used in other games?

We had a few minor uncertainties which emerged during gameplay:
- Is the maximum 10VP for clearing 4+ waste per creature or per player?
- What does 'score 2VP for each creature with 5+ cards' mean? Aren't all creatures made up from 3 cards?
- Do discarded cards go back into the pack at any point (e.g. when repeating the drafting) or do they remain out of play permanently once discarded?
- Do you score for food/clearing waste from a creature even if it is incomplete, e.g. even just a head with food?
- I get that once you play, say, a tail it cannot be rotated and used as food, but can you swap it onto another creature later on, still as a tail, to get a better match with the symbols?

One tiny stylistic detail on the instructions: the scoring guide on the rules sheet is in a different order from on the summary card in the pack. Also, shouldn't the bonuses be scored first?

Anyway, really excellent fun overall, and we'll definitely be playing again!
1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
JustKnecht wrote:
Very nice game, and great fun to play.

We got up and running very quickly for an initial game, and subsequent games were easily less than 15 minutes each once we'd got used to it, and were able to play more strategically (e.g. I hadn't noticed at first that there was a bonus card which might penalise me for not feeding my animals).
Hi JK, thank you so much for trying both of my games. I really appreciate your time to build the game, play it and posting your comments here. And I'm very glad to hear that you were able to enjoy the strategic part of the game.

JustKnecht wrote:
You have a nice house style in the way you set out rules so clearly, just as you did in Grand Sumo, presenting the objectives and overview up front, with a visual explanation of the card anatomy.
Thanks for your kind words. It's good to know the rules are clear in general.

JustKnecht wrote:
The mechanism you call 'drafting' (dealing at random, selecting a card and passing the hand to the other player) is interesting. Is it commonly used in other games?
Yes, there's a category for them on BGG under 'Card Drafting'. I think it was made popular by 7 Wonders. Another light and fun drafting game that is very popular is Sushi Go!, which I think younger players will enjoy too.

JustKnecht wrote:
We had a few minor uncertainties which emerged during gameplay:
- Is the maximum 10VP for clearing 4+ waste per creature or per player?
It's per creature.

JustKnecht wrote:
- What does 'score 2VP for each creature with 5+ cards' mean? Aren't all creatures made up from 3 cards?
The 5 or more cards include additional cards played on the creature as food or waste clearing.

JustKnecht wrote:
- Do discarded cards go back into the pack at any point (e.g. when repeating the drafting) or do they remain out of play permanently once discarded?
They remain out of play.

JustKnecht wrote:
- Do you score for food/clearing waste from a creature even if it is incomplete, e.g. even just a head with food?
Yes. A little weird, I know. But yes.

JustKnecht wrote:
- I get that once you play, say, a tail it cannot be rotated and used as food, but can you swap it onto another creature later on, still as a tail, to get a better match with the symbols?
No. Once a card is played, it cannot be moved.

JustKnecht wrote:
One tiny stylistic detail on the instructions: the scoring guide on the rules sheet is in a different order from on the summary card in the pack. Also, shouldn't the bonuses be scored first?
Good eye, I will fix that. Will there be a difference if bonuses are scored first?

I will incorporate the points raised above to make the rules clearer. So thanks for raising them.

JustKnecht wrote:
Anyway, really excellent fun overall, and we'll definitely be playing again!
I'm very happy to hear that and I hope you enjoy more plays of the game. Thank you once again for your time and let me know of any further comments you may have.

Cheers.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
ibiliss wrote:
My wife went over the rulebook, reading for like... half an hour, in the end she got frustrated and told me to tell you she needs a gameplay video
Sorry for the late reply for I just saw your edit, and sorry too hear that the rules are a barrier to you guys playing the game.

Please let her know I appreciate the time she spent to attempt to learn my game. It'll be helpful if she can point me towards the parts that are unclear. I will need to fix the root causes before resorting to a gameplay video .

Cheers.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just Knecht
msg tools
Very good, and thanks for the clarifications.

Out of interest, why didn’t you make it so only complete creatures can score for feeding/clearing waste?

Best of luck with both great games!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
JustKnecht wrote:
Out of interest, why didn’t you make it so only complete creatures can score for feeding/clearing waste?
The idea was to make the cards useful regardless of how they are used. So, if only complete creatures score for food/ waste clearing, it will make creating complete creatures a dominant strategy, if not the only strategy.

JustKnecht wrote:
Best of luck with both great games!
Thanks! meeple

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just Knecht
msg tools
Actually I thought shovelling s*** was the dominant strategy, given the weighting in the scores, until I discovered you had to feed these beasts too. Another game about to start shortly...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just Knecht
msg tools
zombie_homer wrote:
JustKnecht wrote:
- I get that once you play, say, a tail it cannot be rotated and used as food, but can you swap it onto another creature later on, still as a tail, to get a better match with the symbols?
No. Once a card is played, it cannot be moved.

If I play a head, middle and tail separately in the first two rounds, then can I join them later? If I can, why would I join them until I know the best symbol match? If not, guess I run the risk of incomplete creatures scoring against me if that bonus card is played?

Also, a last question on scoring poop scooping. You said the max of 10 is per creature, so I assume the scoring as a whole is per creature - i.e. 2 scooped here and 2 scooped there is 3+3=6, not 10 for the 4 in total?

Was playing with an 8 and 11 yo this evening. Went down very well, but I had to act as zany zoo croupier as they couldn’t manage the different stages of play on their own. No bad thing, just an observation.

BTW it came out again on request after good reports on the last round. Good game!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
JustKnecht wrote:
If I play a head, middle and tail separately in the first two rounds, then can I join them later? If I can, why would I join them until I know the best symbol match? If not, guess I run the risk of incomplete creatures scoring against me if that bonus card is played?
You cannot move cards once they are played. So you are right - if I play a head, hoping to draft a matching body later, I run the risk of having an incomplete creature.

JustKnecht wrote:
Also, a last question on scoring poop scooping. You said the max of 10 is per creature, so I assume the scoring as a whole is per creature - i.e. 2 scooped here and 2 scooped there is 3+3=6, not 10 for the 4 in total?
You are right. It scores by per creature, so 3+3=6 is correct.

JustKnecht wrote:
Was playing with an 8 and 11 yo this evening. Went down very well, but I had to act as zany zoo croupier as they couldn’t manage the different stages of play on their own. No bad thing, just an observation.

BTW it came out again on request after good reports on the last round. Good game!
Glad to hear the kids liked the game, and I hope you enjoyed spending time with the little ones as the croupier

Thank you for your questions, and do keep 'em coming if you have any further queries. They are very helpful for me to work towards writing clear and unambiguous rules.

Cheers.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Allan
United States
Provo
Utah
flag msg tools
Great game! We love the artwork and think the cards are brilliant! My wife and I have played it twice now.

I'd like to play it more to get a better sense of balancing. I wonder if the multiple uses for cards give the players too much control. It's hard to block an opponent because the cards are so flexible. A little more ability to block will take the pressure off the game designer of having to have the cards perfectly balanced.

Again great game!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
akallan wrote:
Great game! We love the artwork and think the cards are brilliant! My wife and I have played it twice now.
Thank you for trying my game and your compliments. I will be updating the artwork of the cards soon for a more consistent look. I can't believe March has crept up on us already and we have less than a month to the contest deadline!

akallan wrote:
I wonder if the multiple uses for cards give the players too much control. It's hard to block an opponent because the cards are so flexible. A little more ability to block will take the pressure off the game designer of having to have the cards perfectly balanced.
I was aiming for the 'no cards are useless' effect when designing this game, and hoping that with multiple means to score, players can decide how best to use each card. The interaction comes from watching what your opponent is going for (and maybe score a big Bonus from that).

If you wish to try a tighter game with more 'blocking', you can try dealing 4 cards instead of 5 each round, i.e. you'll have no choice but to accept the last card your opponent hands you each round.

Thanks again and I'll be keen to hear of any further comments you may have.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
I've started working on the artwork for the cards, and this is how they'll look:

I'll upload the revised rules incorporating the comments received here, along with the new cards by next weekend.


1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
Update: I've completed artwork for the cards and clarified the rules with help from Just Knecht's questions.

Downloads
Game Rules - draft v0.1
Cards - draft v0.1

I've also created art for the card back:


Cheers.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Bruner
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I had the opportunity to teach my wife and kids this game this weekend. I enjoyed learning this game and teaching it to my family. The gameplay is quick and we quickly got in several rounds when we played. We loved it so much that we just kept playing round after round.

Overall, I really enjoy the concept of the game. I loved creating the various creatures, feeding them and cleaning up their waste. It was fun for all ages and super easy to understand and easy to learn and remember.

A few items I wanted you to think about. (And as a reference point - I played this game 2 times with my wife and 3 times with my 7 year old daughter. The market variant was not used in any of the games.)

1 - The matching of the symbols seemed off to me from a thematic point. I loved matching the body parts to each other but I didn't love (from a thematic point) the idea of matching the hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades. I think it would be awesome to continue the objective - but have it stick with your "zany zoo" theme. Perhaps you line up clouds in the background. Or different types of birds/bugs that are flying next to the main creature you created. That would help stick to your theme and allow you to continue with the mission to have some type of matching symbols on the card. Hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades don't have much to do with zany zoo creatures.

2 - Cleaning up the waste seemed overly powerful. If I create a complete creature with 4 matching symbols I get 8 VP for that (can be done with 3 cards). If I clear 4 waste on a creature then I get 10 points (also can be done with 3 cards). The game then becomes very focused on cleaning up the waste rather than creating fun creatures and feeding them. I don't mind the extra points for cleaning up multiple piles of waste - I just think the scoring was a bit much for 3 and 4 waste. And how come cleaning up 4 waste is more valuable than giving the creature 4 of the correct food? Seems like the scale for cleaning up the waste should be the same as feeding it. Just a thought.

Also, in one of our games we had a creature with 6 waste and 5 shovels. It wasn't clear what clearing 5 waste would be worth - so you may need to expand the scoring scale on that - or include in the rulebook that the maximum waste that a creature can have is 4.

3. Rule wording - step 6 states: "Round 2 - once all cards from round 1 are played, repeat steps 1-7". I believe the end should say, "repeat steps 1-5.

4. Rule wording - step 7 wording sounds a bit confusing. My first couple times reading it I thought it referred to the 4 cards that were unused after dealing the third and final time. But the 4 cards referenced in your rulebook are referring to the 4 cards drafted it that round. Round three is essentially a normal round of dealing 5 cards and drafting 4 of them, right? The only difference is playing the bonus cards first, right? Is it necessary to make this an exception in the game? To me - I think it didn't make much of a difference whether you played bonus cards before or after playing the other cards. (I get that you can now see everyone else's creatures - but changing the process for round 3 compared to rounds 1 and 2 felt weird). I also think that most kids/people playing this game aren't going to strategically calculate whether to play a head as a bonus card compared to another head they already have. By the time that I got to this point when we played it always made more sense to play the head as a bonus card rather than creating a partial creature with it.

Again, overall we very much enjoyed playing the game. After I got done playing my daughter then she played several times with her brothers. It was a fun game that I very much would be happy to support. I loved the theme, the simplicity and the duration of the game. I also really enjoyed the art of the creatures and the back of the cards. Very fun!
Thanks for sharing your work on this project!

1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
mbruner1984 wrote:
I had the opportunity to teach my wife and kids this game this weekend. I enjoyed learning this game and teaching it to my family. The gameplay is quick and we quickly got in several rounds when we played. We loved it so much that we just kept playing round after round.

Overall, I really enjoy the concept of the game. I loved creating the various creatures, feeding them and cleaning up their waste. It was fun for all ages and super easy to understand and easy to learn and remember.
Hi Mike. Firstly, thanks for taking time to craft and try my game, and for posting your detailed feedback here. I really appreciate it, and I'm really glad to hear you and your family loved it!

mbruner1984 wrote:
1 - The matching of the symbols seemed off to me from a thematic point. I loved matching the body parts to each other but I didn't love (from a thematic point) the idea of matching the hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades. I think it would be awesome to continue the objective - but have it stick with your "zany zoo" theme. Perhaps you line up clouds in the background. Or different types of birds/bugs that are flying next to the main creature you created. That would help stick to your theme and allow you to continue with the mission to have some type of matching symbols on the card. Hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades don't have much to do with zany zoo creatures.
When the game was conceptualized, the symbols were actually a more thematic temperature (hot/ cold) and humidity (wet/ dry). After initial play testing, we found it easier to process the usual card suits symbols at a glance than the thematic ones. So I chose to forego theme for smoother gameplay. That being said, I gave it some thought after your suggestions and may have an idea to fix it. So thanks!

mbruner1984 wrote:
2 - Cleaning up the waste seemed overly powerful. If I create a complete creature with 4 matching symbols I get 8 VP for that (can be done with 3 cards). If I clear 4 waste on a creature then I get 10 points (also can be done with 3 cards). The game then becomes very focused on cleaning up the waste rather than creating fun creatures and feeding them. I don't mind the extra points for cleaning up multiple piles of waste - I just think the scoring was a bit much for 3 and 4 waste.

Thank you for raising this as I was hoping to receive feedback on balancing strategies to help fine-tune the game. JustKnecht who helped play tested Zany Zoo made a similar observation. Can I ask if clearing waste stood out as a dominant strategy in the games you played?

I understand you did not play with the Market Variant, but the coin value will give you an indication of the better cards (i.e. the 2 coins cards). While you can use 3 cards to score 8VP for a complete creature, or 3 cards to score 10VP clearing waste, the value of the cards differ - 8VP for a complete creature can be scored with 3 x 1 coin cards, whereas 10VP for clearing waste requires at least 1 x 2 coin card, usually 2. Thus, this is the part where you need to watch what your opponent is going for, and try to prevent them from getting all the s**t they need

mbruner1984 wrote:
And how come cleaning up 4 waste is more valuable than giving the creature 4 of the correct food? Seems like the scale for cleaning up the waste should be the same as feeding it. Just a thought.
Feeding may seem like the weaker strategy when compared to clearing waste. However, I was hoping it will be compensated by:
a) food cards are 'plug and play', especially late in the game, when food cards can definitely score (up to 3VP for an omnivorous head!), while shovel cards can only score if you've set up some uncleared wastes in play; and
b) unlimited number of food cards can be played on a head, whereas clearing waste is limited to 4.

On top of that, I was also hoping that Bonus cards can chip in for balancing the game as well: e.g. if you see your opponent going for an obvious strategy, draft and play a Bonus card that can score well based on that to counter it.

mbruner1984 wrote:
Also, in one of our games we had a creature with 6 waste and 5 shovels. It wasn't clear what clearing 5 waste would be worth - so you may need to expand the scoring scale on that - or include in the rulebook that the maximum waste that a creature can have is 4.
Yes, the maximum waste a creature can score is 4. I will clarify that in the rules.

mbruner1984 wrote:
3. Rule wording - step 6 states: "Round 2 - once all cards from round 1 are played, repeat steps 1-7". I believe the end should say, "repeat steps 1-5.
Oops, I will fix that. Thanks.

mbruner1984 wrote:
4. Rule wording - step 7 wording sounds a bit confusing. My first couple times reading it I thought it referred to the 4 cards that were unused after dealing the third and final time. But the 4 cards referenced in your rulebook are referring to the 4 cards drafted it that round. Round three is essentially a normal round of dealing 5 cards and drafting 4 of them, right? The only difference is playing the bonus cards first, right? Is it necessary to make this an exception in the game? To me - I think it didn't make much of a difference whether you played bonus cards before or after playing the other cards. (I get that you can now see everyone else's creatures - but changing the process for round 3 compared to rounds 1 and 2 felt weird). I also think that most kids/people playing this game aren't going to strategically calculate whether to play a head as a bonus card compared to another head they already have. By the time that I got to this point when we played it always made more sense to play the head as a bonus card rather than creating a partial creature with it.
I agree that if both players are enjoying it as a light, friendly game, it wouldn't make much of a difference like you said.

I had hoped that this exception would allow players to introduce an element of bluffing with the cards hidden on hand if they wish, and create opportunities to cause your opponent to waste a Bonus card (e.g. thinking that you will not be feeding your creatures, and then watching you feed them all with your remaining cards!). I also wanted to avoid a scenario where both players want the other player to play their cards first, before deciding whether or not to play a head as a bonus.

mbruner1984 wrote:
Again, overall we very much enjoyed playing the game. After I got done playing my daughter then she played several times with her brothers. It was a fun game that I very much would be happy to support. I loved the theme, the simplicity and the duration of the game. I also really enjoyed the art of the creatures and the back of the cards. Very fun!
Thanks for sharing your work on this project!
Hearing that your daughter continued playing the game with her brothers just made my day! And I am delighted to know that you guys had fun and enjoyed the art work.

Thank you once again for your time and effort, and for sharing your experience with me.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Bruner
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
zombie_homer wrote:
mbruner1984 wrote:
2 - Cleaning up the waste seemed overly powerful. If I create a complete creature with 4 matching symbols I get 8 VP for that (can be done with 3 cards). If I clear 4 waste on a creature then I get 10 points (also can be done with 3 cards). The game then becomes very focused on cleaning up the waste rather than creating fun creatures and feeding them. I don't mind the extra points for cleaning up multiple piles of waste - I just think the scoring was a bit much for 3 and 4 waste.

Thank you for raising this as I was hoping to receive feedback on balancing strategies to help fine-tune the game. JustKnecht who helped play tested Zany Zoo made a similar observation. Can I ask if clearing waste stood out as a dominant strategy in the games you played?

Clearing waste did become a dominant strategy (at least when I played my wife. I don't think my daughter had a strategy. ) My wife and I were both looking for tails with the most waste piles and the shovels with the extra piles. I like the waste clean-up component of the game but it felt like it took away from the other areas of the game. We fed the animals when it was convenient or had an extra card - but it wasn't typically something we sought after like the shovels and waste.

Again - great game! We truly enjoyed it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
mbruner1984 wrote:
Clearing waste did become a dominant strategy (at least when I played my wife. I don't think my daughter had a strategy. ) My wife and I were both looking for tails with the most waste piles and the shovels with the extra piles. I like the waste clean-up component of the game but it felt like it took away from the other areas of the game. We fed the animals when it was convenient or had an extra card - but it wasn't typically something we sought after like the shovels and waste.

Again - great game! We truly enjoyed it.

Ok, I'll take a look at balancing this again. Thanks again Mike!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Bruner
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
FYI - my kids are working on the full color edition of your game.

They thought it would make good coloring pages. I don't disagree.
5 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
mbruner1984 wrote:
FYI - my kids are working on the full color edition of your game.

They thought it would make good coloring pages. I don't disagree.
Great stuff! I’m glad they found another way to enjoy the game
Thanks for sharing their creation.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
A quick update on game balancing: I’ve played a few more games with 3 other players over the Easter break. In our games, we did not find clearing wastes to be a dominant strategy.

There is a somewhat dominant strategy (which I will leave it to you to discover ) but it can be countered by watching your opponent and drafting the cards they need.

I will be tweaking a couple of cards in the final version to give feeding a slight boost though. I will share the tweaked cards here so you do not have to search or print the entire deck again.

Cheers.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
zombie homer
msg tools
designer
Thank you all who dropped by, especially those who took time to build and help play test the game, and leaving your comments here.

I would like to invite you to visit the game's own BGG page: Zany Zoo


I have uploaded the latest version of the file on the game's page.
If you have already printed a set of the WIP cards, all you have to do is to print these 3 cards with minor tweaks: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1koK2oB8pqLPkWq16CED_pmkJeJO...

Cheers

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls