Ok, so this week’s mini expansion review will focus once again on Zooloretto. The Petting Zoo is a simple expansion that comes as part of the Polar Bear or Rio Grande Expansion #1 (they’re both the same but have different names on each side of the pond.) however it can also be downloaded completely free here.
In fact it is easy enough to play this expansion without using additional components at all, but they do look nice.
More and more children are coming to you zoo to see your fabulous animals, but what they like best of all are the babies. So, the zoo board commissions a new enclosure, aimed specifically at housing your baby animals, thus generating more money for the zoo!
5 x Petting Zoo Boards
Playing the Game
The game is played exactly like standard Zooloretto with the following exception:
- Whenever one of your animals has a baby you may choose to immediately place the baby in the petting zoo.
- Animals in the petting zoo score no points. Animals cannot be moved into or out of the Petting Zoo except as stated above.
- For the first baby in the Petting Zoo you score 1 coin, for the second you score 2 coins.
The petting zoo is a pretty neat expansion, although it seems simplistic it adds some more strategy to the game. Will you use your babies to score additional coins (which could be used to help reorganise your zoo, or buy fresh animals from other players barns.) and hope that you will draw enough other animals to fill up your enclosure later, or do you play it safe and keep the baby in the enclosure.
An early baby means you will be able to expand your zoo without “wasting” a space on a truck with a coin. Where as later in the game the Petting Zoo can act as a safety net, somewhere you can safely store that baby that would have otherwise ended up in your barn, costing your victory points.
Obviously this expansion increases the potential of gendered animals and makes them even more sought after. The fact that each player has access to upto 3 more coins than usual means that the scores will likely be higher as remodelling the zoo or buying animals will be a little easier.
One warning I will give is do not play this expansion with the 3 Extra Stalls expansion. The Gift Shop, which is given to the first player to have a baby makes this expansion way too powerful. For a start the Gift Shop is free and scores you 2 points (as well as acting exactly like any other stall), then it also gives you 1 point per baby at the end of the game. If you are also scoring an additional coin for each baby this leads to a very one sided game. I have never seen a player with the Gifts Shop and Petting Zoo combo lose.
Other than that, this a fun, free expansion. If you don’t want to go to the effort of printing out the expansion you can just place the babies to one side of your board, scoring 1 coin for the first and 2 coins for the second. I would definitely recommend combining this expansion with at least one more, for a list of compatible expansions check out Michael Schacht’s site. Almost all the mini expansions are up on the site and free to download and play!