Review: Animals Gathering

In Animals Gathering, you're a mage trying to collect the right magical stones to bring the animals of the forest to life!




Game overview

In Animals Gathering, you're a mage trying to collect the right magical stones to bring the animals of the forest to life!

You start the game with a unique mage card that gives you permanent power during the game. In addition, you may choose 1 animal from a set of 3 magic animals as your starting card. You must start filling these animals with magic stones to bring them to life. During a turn, you have 2 options: You may take an animal from the market or you may roll dice to get stones. An animal from the market is placed with your other unrevived animals. If you want to collect stones, you roll dice equal to 6 minus the number of unrevived animals you have. So if you have 3 animals lying around, you roll 3 dice. The dice show shapes of stones that you may take and place on an animal card. If you cannot place a shape, then all other players may take this shape if they can. Each die has a different distribution of shapes so you have to think carefully about which one you want to use.

If after placing a stone (which can also be during someone else's turn) you have a completed animal, you awaken it to life. Revived animals often have a certain effect. These include permanent effects or end of game effects but also effects that trigger each time you revive an animal. 

The game ends once a player has brought 5 animals to life. After this, you add up all the points you get from your animals or from end-of-game effects. The player with the most points wins the game!

Our thoughts

Animals Gathering is a wonderful, original family game that will well entertain both the family player and the expert player. This relatively unknown game surprised us very positively and deserves more attention as far as we are concerned!

First of all, the game looks beautiful. The theme is fun and this is carried through in the artwork and in the colourful crystals you use while playing. The way you use the crystals to make the animals is also very nicely done. Just looking at the cards remains fun for that reason. In addition, we were incredibly surprised thanks to the quality of the game. The box comes with a super handy insert and the punchboards are top quality. You can tell from everything that a lot of love has been put into the game. We think it's more than fair that this game gets love back too! 

The rules are very simple. Especially if you omit the spells, you can play Animals Gathering just fine with kids. So is it boring for expert players? No, it is not! Personally, we do play with the spell cards by default as this is a nice addition. But even in its basics, Animals Gathering is a fun game with enough tactical choices to entertain the frequent player.

There is some luck involved in the game, but you can be smart about this. Your card shows exactly which symbols appear on the different coloured dice. You decide which dice to roll. So in this way you can limit the luck in the game. 

Animals Gathering proves once again that a simple game can offer an awful lot. This is genuinely a game that we love to play several times in a row. In addition it is a game that we enjoy introducing to new players. Animals Gathering certainly gets a nice place in our collection. As far as we're concerned, it deserves a place in yours, too!

Pros and cons

+ Simple rules but offers enough depth
+ Beautiful artwork and high quality production


This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by Wonderful World Board Games.