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O Zoo le Mio» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Good gateway game rss

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Donald Acker
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I received O Zoo le Mio from my non-gamer mom for Christmas. Though she is not at all a gamer, she still wanted to try it out, and ended up enjoying it.

O Zoo le Mio is an auction/tile-laying game, and a great intro to both. Players bid on domino-like tiles in order to expand their zoo and develop the best exhibits of five different kinds of animals (different colors). Contiguous regions of the same color add together to give a total score for that "exhibit". The best enclosure of a color receives two like-colored meeples, the second best one. In an interesting twist, the newest enclosure wins in a tie. There are also trees (treeples?) given to the player whose zoo has the most (or second-most) trees in it.

The tile-laying aspect also includes paths printed on the tiles. New tiles must connect to your zoo by paths; in addition, closed loops earn park benches which provide extra points.

The game is played in "years" of five tile auctions. At the end of each year, players recieve one coin for each tile in their zoo and points equal to the number of visitors, trees, and benches in their zoos multiplied by the number of the round that is ending. The progressivly increasing scores do not seem to unbalance the game, though--my games have ended with scores over 100 but only a few points apart.

Surprisingly, the game, even with its auction element, works well with two players. Though the play example in the rules implies that a player cannot have points for both first and second place enclosures, it made the two-player game more interesting to allow this. However, only one tree is needed with two players.

O Zoo le Mio plays quickly (my first game with my mom lasted 40 minutes) and is satisfying. The parts are wonderful, and the art is both cute and practical. I expect to play it many more times.

P.S.: The tiles almost fit with Carcassonne tiles, but not quite. meeple
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