#924 – Similo: Animals [Mini]

Base price: $10.
2 – 8 players.
Play time: 10 – 15 minutes.
BGG | Board Game Atlas
Buy on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
Logged plays: 32, in various combinations with other sets.

Full disclosure: A review copy of Similo: Animals was provided by Luma Imports.

I think this puts us over the halfway point on Similo! I do enjoy doing these deep dives into various gaming series, just because they’re fun, for me. With a game like Similo, it’s interesting how the different sets give you similar gameplay experiences, but the contexts change and how certain moving parts interact can be different. I just like that sort of thing, and I’m looking forward to doing it again when I get around to my Railroad Ink Challenge series sometime in the next year or so. Let’s see what’s new in Animals!

In Similo: Animals, you’ve got a few different animals to pick from, fairly standard ones that you’d either see domesticated or in the woods nearby. Or a peacock. They have peacock farms, so that’s not too outlandish. Ideally, you wouldn’t run into a bear, but hey, I don’t know your life. Make sure you keep your food covered when you go camping. Will you be able to help your coplayer guess the secret character, this time?

Contents

Strategy

  • These cards have a lot of information on them! I learned a lot about a bunch of animals, when I first read them, so it’s probably helpful to read the cards that are on the table, so you can establish the same foundation of information as your co-player. Plus it’s just fun to learn things while you play a board game, right?
  • You’ve got some clear distinctions between various types of animals, here, so you can likely use that to your advantage. There’s carnivores and omnivores and herbivores and all sorts of ways you can split these animals up! Birds and not-birds, livestock and not, et cetera. Try to find your own ways to divide them up, as well.
  • Unlike the other sets, there’s also a pretty big range of sizes, given that you’ve got Horse and House Mouse in this set. Most of the people in the more people-focused sets were similar sizes, whereas size is a lot more variable when it comes to animals. There’s even a bear in here! That’s a large animal, and that’s a fact that I’ll give you for free. You’re welcome.
  • You might be able to get away with animal color, here, too? That’s a bit riskier. That’s definitely not the first thing I think of, but using it to make the final determination between two cards may work out for you, if you don’t have any stronger plays available. Your mileage may vary.
  • When mixing this set with other sets, there’s also a few cards that have been assigned some human-like qualities through our various fables and culture. You can probably use that to your advantage, as well. This may not work well across cultures, but, hey, you can still try it. In Fables, there’s cards with pigs, a wolf, a fox, and a cat, so you may not even need to overload the cards with anthropomorphic implications, depending on the set. I may recommend against mixing any of the Animals sets with any of the people-focused sets specifically, just because that can get a bit problematic, though.

Pros, Mehs, and Cons

Pros

  • I appreciate that the four animals that I think are the meanest (Horse / Goose / Skunk / Crow) look the meanest here, as well. I like when people share my completely unscientific opinions on animals. I have no problems with skunks, but boy howdy, their spray smells terrible, so I unfortunately ascribe some malice to that.
  • The background work is particularly excellent, in this set, though across the board Similo has pretty great art. I really like how they made fun backgrounds for each of the animals! They’ve got a bunch going on, and they’re very colorful. I just tend towards bright, colorful games, personally, so getting to tell y’all about them is always really fun for me.
  • I think this set works really nicely with younger players, especially if they either haven’t gotten as familiar with various stories or history (or you don’t want to expose them to some mild horror elements). It’s very much the Animal Upon Animal of Similo sets. Kids will likely be familiar with most of these animals, and for the ones they’re not familiar with, you can quickly explain. Helps teach categorization and how to do a bit of logical deduction, which is fun. They can grow into the more complex sets as they read / learn more. I think this is a good introduction to Similo as a franchise.

Mehs

  • Huh, this one has a little rulebook instead of printing the rules on cards. Interesting. Probably just a quirk of when the other games were printed, maybe? I’m not really sure why this is or why it matters, but the other Similo sets I have printed the rules on cards, rather than making an entirely separate rulebook. I assumed that was to save on making another thing entirely, but then, lo and behold, a rulebook. Wonder why.

Cons

  • I think I’m, on the whole, a bit less invested in this particular set of animals, just because I don’t find them as compelling? I think the player has to project a lot of extra information on them, whereas History / Myths / Fables / Spookies have more clear stories and interleaving elements. This is a very run-of-the-mill set of animals, except for the peacock, I think is my whole problem, and that makes me less excited about this set from a variety of angles. I think this is mostly fixed by the Wild Animals set, since I’m like “oh wow, a komodo dragon” (just like real life), but I was a bit disappointed at how basic this set felt? It’s still fun to play with, though, so it’s mostly just that I’d like to see more from future sets.

Overall: 7 / 10

Overall, Similo: Animals isn’t my favorite of the Similo decks, but I still enjoy it! I think there’s a lot to be said about there being something for everyone, here, and while I generally prefer the more complex sets, I do come back to the Animals set infrequently as a fun mixer for adding complexity to the other sets. I think given the familiarity of most of these animals, this set is also a fantastic introduction to Similo for younger players. There’s a lot of pre-baked assumptions about these animals that players can just roll with, and I think that often works well since it provides a solid framework to learn the mechanics and strategy of the game without having to be like “who is that” every few turns. Plus, this is another great set, art-wise! As mentioned, I particularly like the background work on each of the animals (especially the peacock), and I think it’s a great-looking set. If you’re looking for a good starter set, you love animals, or you just want another set to mix in, Similo: Animals is pretty fun!


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