I was lucky enough to get a chance to try out Animal Kingdoms from Galactic Raptor games using Tabletop Simulator. Animal Kingdoms isn’t out just yet, so consider this your chance to learn about the game before everyone else.
Animal Kingdoms is an area control card game with some of the most gorgeous art I’ve seen. I honestly hope they sell prints of the owl because I’d love to see it on my wall.
The best way I can describe it is what happens when Red7 and Ethnos have a baby. Ethnos is one of my favorite gateway games. It’s easy to learn and supports a good number of people, but also has just enough tactical play to make it worth the experience.
But Ethnos doesn’t play well with lower player counts. Animal Kingdom fills that role just fine, giving a similar card based area control experience without a deep set of rules. Players need to know when to hold back their cards, when to push on certain areas, when to plan ahead, and when to fold everything for a turn and dig for new cards. Single turn plays won’t work for the victory, you need to have a goal.
The decisions are quick but lasting and the rules are simple but involved. Players have agency but are restricted just enough to limit their turn to only a few options. This is essential for a low-weight game and makes AK great as a gateway experience for newer players.
Oh, and if you’re worried about the player interaction being mean, don’t be. While AK is an area control game, the interaction isn’t based on kicking over sandcastles. Players can “steal” your spots, but never outright remove them. That always counts for bonus points when I play.
If you’re looking for a light game of area control, with player interaction that isn’t mean, that plays well at lower player counts, Animal Kingdoms will be a good fit. It does everything you want from a game of this weight, and it’s gorgeous to boot.
Keep your ears open for news on Animal Kingdoms’ final release date and check it out for yourself.
Thanks again to Galactic Raptor for the opportunity to play!