Ark of Animals is a game by Adam Kwapinski, published by Historical Games Factory. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be filling up Noah’s ark with animals. They will be trying to put as many different types of animals as they can but also maintaining balance between the predators and herbivores. The player that can best accomplish this will be declared the winner.
To begin, each player takes a player board that depicts the ark and places it in front of them. The animal tiles are placed face down in the middle of the play area and are mixed up. The hourglass is placed where everyone can reach it. Play now begins.
The game is played over 3 rounds with scoring at the end of each round. There are 5 different levels of play to this game from novice to grand master. In this review I will mainly be discussing the second level which is the normal level of play. One player says go or you can use the sand timer to tell you all when to go. Players play simultaneously as they pick up an animal token as fast as they can and either place it on the leftmost column of their ark or they can leave it face up on the table. The tokens that are placed on the player’s board must be placed face down. Players then continue taking tokens either those that are face up from other players or from the face down ones on the table. They can not start filling the next column until they have completed filling up the leftmost one. They can then move on to the next column and so on and so on until one player has completely filled up their entire ark. That player announces that they have finished and turns the hourglass over. This allows the remaining players 30 seconds to finish filling their ark. When the sand runs out the round is over. Players may place an animal that was in their hand on the board but no more animals may be added after that. Scoring then takes place.
Once the round is over, players turn over all the animals on their ark face up. In the normal level, players check to see if there are any predators adjacent to herbivores of equal or lesser size. If so, the herbivores are eaten and removed from the ark. Players also remove any animals that there are doubles of. Players then receive 1 point for every animal left. Bonus points are then given out. The first person to fill up their ark receives 2 points. The player with the most mammals gets 2 points. Players receive 2 points for each complete set of amphibians, reptiles or birds. The points are tallied up and a new round of play begins. After 3 rounds of play, the player with the most points is the winner.
On higher levels of play, players can lose points as well as gain them. If a player has a herbivore next to a grain marker, they can lose points. They can also lose points for having an unbalanced ark. That is to say that one side is heavier than the other. Once again, after the points are added up for 3 rounds of play, the winner is the player with the most points.
The game has some really nice looking pieces. The player boards are nice and thick and have some really nice artwork of the ark on them. The spaces are big enough to place the circular animal tokens on. The animal tokens are thick cardboard. They have some really beautiful looking animal designs on them. They have a really nice satin finish on them. There are some green cubes that are used as grain markers. These are made of wood and are painted bright green. The hourglass is made of plastic and works really well. There’s also a scoring pad for keeping track of the different points scored for each round. Everything looks really nice. I really like the player boards and animal tiles. They look really pretty and my daughter really enjoys them. I also like the score pad. It’s a nice addition so that I don’t have to chase down a piece of paper to keep track of everything with. All in all, I really like the components of this game.
9 out of 10
The rulebook isn’t that large. It’s only 4 pages long. The front cover is nothing but a picture and the back cover only has examples of play on it. The rules only take up 1 actual page, but the remaining page explains how to raise or lower the difficulty level. There’s a couple of nice pieces of artwork in the book along with a few pictures alongside the examples. I really like the book and feel like everything is covered really well. There’s nothing difficult to understand at all. It looks really nice and is super simple to read. I like the addition of the examples, just in case you need to see exactly how the higher levels play. All in all, it’s really well put together and looks nice in full color.
9 out of 10
The game is actually quite fun. My daughter really likes it. We played the novice level together and she immediately wanted to play it again…and again…and again. She enjoyed placing the different animals but certain ones she simply would not place on her ark. Can you guess which ones? If you said the snakes or alligators, you guessed right. Of course, she wanted to find the bunny and the dove every time. She really enjoyed the game as did I. It was fairly easy, once she had the basic concept down, to step her up to the next level. We never got to the grand master level but I think she could learn how to play it with a little bit more practice. The game is really simple as you can tell and it plays fairly quickly. Most games are usually done in about 30 minutes. It has some really nice strategy in the more difficult levels but it is simple enough at the lower levels for younger kids to learn. It’s very simple to teach, as you can tell. We really enjoyed this one.
9 out of 10
Ark of Animals is a light to medium weight game of animal collecting that has many different levels of play. It’s really simple and easy to teach and play. It is great for any age from younger players to older more strategic minded ones. It plays relatively quickly with most games lasting no more than 30 minutes. The artwork is really nice especially on the player boards and animal tokens. The theme isn’t really that much a part of the game. Even so, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment that we had playing it. Fans of set collecting games or fast paced games should really enjoy this one. My daughter and I both really enjoy playing it. It’s really great. You don’t want to miss the boat on this one.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other games, please check out Historical Games Factory at their site.