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Subject: 2-Player Loco rss

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Tom O'K
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My girlfriend Laura and I won a copy of Wildlife Safari in the raffle at G.I.T.H.O.T. (Games In The Heart Of Texas) this past saturday. I was very interested in giving it a go, since I really enjoyed Too Many Cooks, another very light Reiner Knizia card game. We played three times over the past 2 days, and I developed some opinions of the game, at least as it runs with two players.

The game has a simple, UNO-esque look. Nothing too special, but the colors are vibrant and the cards are thick and easy to shuffle. They feel high-quality. The chips are solid and easy to handle. One complaint is that it is tough to return the game to the box, as the chips tend not to go back in like you plan them to.

The game is very easy to learn, as advertised on the box. You play a card (numbered 0 to 5), and then take a chip of any color. At the end of the game, each chip is worth an amount of points equal to the number on the top card of it's corresponding color. Two cards are randomly removed from the deck prior to the game, ensuring that you do not know exactly what your opponent is holding.

The strategizing starts early in this game, in particular, as soon as you get your hand. I imagine that the initial planning is less important in games with a greater number of players, but with two, you are more aware of what you will be up against, and therefore more responsible for combatting it.

For a game that initially appears very light, there's quite a bit to chew on each turn. You've got to be thinking about what your opponent has in hand, what they want to set up for themselves (in terms of making their chips more valuable), what nasty things they'd like to do to your chip values, and of course what you are able to do to respond to this. Of utmost importance as well (as I learned after losing twice) is keeping an eye on the end of the game as it approaches. The game is over when six of any color card has been played. Therefore, all of the choices and possibilities I mentioned earlier must be prioritized... you can only play so many cards, and it's vitally important to be prepared for the game to end.

As much as I respect the strategic depth of the game, I must admit I have some reservations about it. For one thing, in certain late game situations the victory can come down to good guessing about which cards were randomly removed at the beginning of the game. I imagine that this might be alleviated with more than two players, however. Also, the "mechanic" which requires you to say "loco" when you play a 0 value card, or else not take a chip, is out of place in a game where you may spend a fair bit of mental energy on what you are doing. I understand it is particular to this printing of the game, and I think it is unnecessary at best.

Overall, however, Wildlife Safari is surprisingly complex for a game of its simplicity. I would certainly recommend that card game fans especially give it a go.
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John Morgan
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teabo wrote:
Also, the "mechanic" which requires you to say "loco" when you play a 0 value card, or else not take a chip, is out of place in a game where you may spend a fair bit of mental energy on what you are doing. I understand it is particular to this printing of the game, and I think it is unecessary (sic) at best.


We say "Stupid Ameritrash Rule" when we play a "0" card. No just kidding, the rule is stupid and we simply ignore it.

When we play 2 player we randomly take out 4 cards. It does not break the game and helps to alleviate the guessing factor in the end game.
 
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Tom O'K
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TheGameCzar wrote:
We say "Stupid Ameritrash Rule" when we play a "0" card. No just kidding, the rule is stupid and we simply ignore it.

I'm inclined to do this as well.

TheGameCzar wrote:
When we play 2 player we randomly take out 4 cards. It does not break the game and helps to alleviate the guessing factor in the end game.

I will definitely give this a try. Thanks for the idea!





 
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Raul Catalano
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TheGameCzar wrote:

We say "Stupid Ameritrash Rule" when we play a "0" card. No just kidding, the rule is stupid and we simply ignore it.


I completely agree: after the first play, we definitely ignored that useless rule.


TheGameCzar wrote:

When we play 2 player we randomly take out 4 cards. It does not break the game and helps to alleviate the guessing factor in the end game.


mmm ... interesting.
Perhaps I an dumb, but I don't find so easy to guess the missing cards, so I never felt the need to increase their number. Moreover, this guessing element can be an intersting driver for your strategy (in my experience in a 2-player game the last turns can be VERY tense and brainburner!)
But of course I'll try your suggestion, even if I fear it could make the game more "random" and less tense (like when you play in three or four).

 
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