Who doesn’t love animals? The use of animals is widely used in the board game industry as board game designers are not blind to the fact that people love animals. We decided to search our board game shelf for the best animal board games. These are games that feature a strong animal presence, whether players are controlling animal meeples or the whole theme of the board game is based on animals.
For this list, our main focus was on games that focused on doing something with or for animals. In the board game industry, there are many games that have animals involved in them. We decided to choose our favorites and generate a list of the 10 best animal board games.
Animal board games are part of other exciting board game themes! Some of our favorites include Everdell and The Isle of Cats.
Best Animal Board Games
Here is our list of the best animal board games at a glance. Don’t worry, we will go into more detail about each one below!
Number of Players: 2-6 | Playing Time: 60 minutes
Evolution is a board game that simulates the process of natural selection. Players take on the role of animals competing for survival in an ever-changing environment. The goal of the game is to evolve your species so that it is best adapted to its surroundings.
To play Evolution, each player starts with a hand of cards representing different traits. These traits can be things like fur, claws, wings, etc. During each round of the game, players will use these cards to modify their animals. For example, if you want your animal to have fur, you would play the fur card from your hand.
As the game progresses, the environment will change, and new challenges will arise. It is up to players to adapt their animals to these new conditions in order to survive. The first player to evolve their species wins the game!
Number of Players: 1-4 | Playing Time: 40-80 minutes
Everdell is a board game in which players take on the role of animals building their own city. The game is won by accumulating the most Victory Points by the end of the game. There are three ways to gain Victory Points: by playing cards, by constructing Buildings, and by attracting Critters to your city.
The game is played over four rounds, with each round consisting of three phases: Spring, Summer, and Fall. In each phase, players take turns taking one action. The available actions are: gathering Resources, playing a card, or constructing a Building.
Resources are gathered by placing meeples in different locations on the board. There are four types of resources in the game: Twigs, Pebbles, Berries, and Resin. These resources are used to play cards and construct buildings or purchase critters for your city.
Critters are attracted to the player’s city by playing certain cards. Each Critter has a unique effect that can be used to benefit the player. The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the game wins!
Number of Players: 2-4 | Playing Time: 60-90 minutes
Root is an asymmetrical board game set in a wooded area where various factions and animals are struggling for control. Players take on the roles of these animals, each with their own unique abilities, and attempt to outmaneuver their opponents.
In Root, each player controls a faction that sets up differently on the game board and contains mechanisms unique to their faction to help them through gameplay. Actions are driven mostly through a deck of cards and come in four different suits. The suits include unique animals like the fox, mouse, rabbit, and bird. Players will use their animal suits in order to attack a clearing on the board.
The game can be won through military might, political maneuvering, or a combination of both. While Root is a complex game, it is also accessible and enjoyable for players of all experience levels. With its unique setting and mechanics, Root offers an immersive and engaging experience that is sure to please any board game fan.
4. Trekking the National Parks
Number of Players: 2-6 | Playing Time: 30-60 minutes
Trekking the National Parks is a board game that allows players to explore some of America’s most beautiful landscapes. Players take turns collecting colored trek cards in order to move through the various park spaces on the board and claim valuable park cards.
Along the way, they will encounter different challenges, such as finding the best camping spot or avoiding a raging river. Whether you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon or you are wanting to learn more about America’s national parks, Trekking the National Parks is the perfect game for you!
Number of Players: 1-5 | Playing Time: 40-70 minutes
Wingspan is a an engine building board game that simulates the life of a bird enthusiast, seeking to discover and attract the most diverse collection of birds to their bird sanctuary. The game is played over four rounds, and each round consists of three phases: gathering food, laying eggs, and drawing cards.
During the gathering food phase, players collect insects and berries to feed their birds. During the laying eggs phase, players place eggs in their bird nests. And during the drawing cards phase, players draw and play cards that represent different bird abilities.
Players can also take actions that help them learn about the animals in their sanctuaries, such as taking a closer look at a bird or collecting data about a bird’s habitat. Wingspan is a delightful game that allows players to experience the joys and challenges of birding in a fun and interactive way.
Number of Players: 1-5 | Playing Time: 30-150 minutes
In Agricola, you are a farmer trying to expand your house and farm while also taking care of your spouse and children. The game has many levels of complexity that are determined by the use of different types of cards.
Agricola is a turn-based game in which players take turns to perform actions, with the aim of gathering resources to improve their farm. The goal of the game is to build a successful farm by planting crops, raising livestock, and expanding your farmhouse.
At the beginning of the game, each player is given a hand of cards that represents different types of animals. These animals can be used to plow fields, plant crops, or build fences. Each type of animal has a different function, and it is up to the player to choose how to use their animals.
Players must also be careful not to over-exploit their resources, as this will lead to problems down the road. Agricola is a challenging and rewarding game that can be enjoyed by players of all ages.
7. Dominant Species
Number of Players: 2-6 | Playing Time: 120-240 minutes
Dominant Species is a board game that simulates the struggle for survival among different animal species. The game is played on a hexagonal board, with each player representing a different animal species. The goal of the game is to score the most points by controlling the most territory on the board.
Players begin the game by choosing one of six animal types: amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles, arachnids, or insects. Each animal type has different strengths and weaknesses, which are represented by different colors on the player boards. For example, Amphibians are strong in water but weak on land, while Reptiles are strong on land but weak in water.
After each player has chosen an animal type, they take turns placing their animals on the board. Each turn, players can either place their animals on the board or move their animals around the board. When placing their animals on the board, players must pay attention to the terrain type and climate. Different animals thrive in different conditions, so it is important to place your animals in an environment where they will flourish.
The game ends when one player has scored enough points to claim victory. Dominant Species is a simple yet engaging board game that truly encompasses the ‘survival of the fittest.’
8. Battle Sheep
Number of Players: 2-4 | Playing Time: 15 minutes
In the classic animal board game Battle Sheep, players take on the role of rival sheep farmers, vying for control of a farmer’s field. The object of the game is to surround and capture as much of the field as possible, while preventing your opponent’s sheep from doing the same.
The game is played on a gridded board, with each player’s flock of sheep starting on opposite sides. Each turn, players will split a stack of their sheep and move as far as they can in a straight line to a new pasture on the game board. The player who occupies the most pastures at the end of the game wins!
Battle Sheep is a fun and strategic game that is perfect for family game night. So round up your flock and get ready to do battle!
Number of Players: 2-5 | Playing Time: 45 minutes
Zooloretto is a family-friendly board game that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. The goal of the game is to collect as many animals as possible for your zoo, while avoiding overcrowding.
Each player starts with their own zoo board, and takes turns drawing animal tiles from a shared pool. Animals can only be placed in enclosures that match their type, and players must be careful not to overcrowd their zoo or they will lose points.
Some of the types of animals you will see in this board game are kangaroos, monkey, zebras, tigers, camels, elephants, and more!
The game ends when all of the animal tiles have been drawn, and the player with the most points wins. Zooloretto is a fun and easy game to learn, making it a great choice for family game night.
10. Great Western Trail
Number of Players: 2-4 | Playing Time: 75-150 minutes
Great Western Trail is a board game that challenges players to build the longest, most efficient cattle trail from Texas to Kansas City. Along the way, players must contend with obstacles like harsh weather and dangerous outlaws. The game is played on a board that features a map of the western United States.
Players begin in Texas and then take turns moving their cattle along the trail. Each turn, players can choose to rest their cattle, purchase supplies, or travel to new locations. Traveling allows players to move their cattle closer to Kansas City, but it also exposes them to risk of stampedes and rustlers. Similarly, resting cattle increases the chance that they will be stolen, but it also allows them to recover from previous hardships.
Players must carefully balance these risks in order to succeed. The first player to reach Kansas City with their cattle intact wins the game. Great Western Trail is a challenging and exciting board game that is sure to please any fan of strategy and animal games.
11. Ark Nova
Number of Players: 1-4 | Playing Time: 90-150 minutes
In this animal board game Ark Nova, players will work to plan and design a modern, scientifically managed zoo. The goal of the game is to own the most successful establishment of animals. Some of the animals you will encounter are bears, lions, elephants, tigers, parrots, and more.
During gameplay, players will build enclosures, house animals, and support conservation projects. There are five action cards that players will use to manage their gameplay, these cards will allow you to gain new zoo animals, build enclosures, accommodate animals, make workers complete tasks, and play sponsor cards to raise money for you zoo.
The main goal is to increase scientific reputation and collect conservation points. Ark Nova is a great game for lovers of animals and board games with mechanics like drafting and hand management.
Number of Players: 2-4 | Playing Time: 30-45 minutes
Bärenpark is a board game where players work to build the best bear park. The game is played over four rounds, and each round has three phases: goal phase, construction phase, and scoring phase.
In the goal phase, each player draws a goal card, which will tell them what type of bear enclosure they need to build. In the construction phase, players take turns adding new tiles to their park. Each tile must be placed next to an existing tile, and it must match the terrain type indicated on the tile. Players can also add attractions and buildings to their park in order to score additional points. Finally, in the scoring phase, players calculate their score for the round and adjust their position on the score track.
The main animal of this board game is of course, bears! But don’t get caught off guard if you run into a panda or two, they are still bears! The player with the most points at the end of the fourth round is the winner!
13. Camel Up
Number of Players: 2-6 | Playing Time: 120-240 minutes
Camel Up is a fun and exciting animal board game where you have to bet on five racing camels, trying to figure out which will place first and last in a race around the pyramid. You must be quick about your decisions, as the earlier you place your bet, the more you can win if you guess correctly!
The best feature is that if Camels cross paths with other Camels, then they stack on top of each-other and can be carried toward the finish line by another Camel, or two, or three. There is also a pyramid dice shaker, that releases one die at a time to determine how far a Camel will go in the race.
Who doesn’t love stacking Camels? This was a fun game that we recently brought to our table for game night.
Number of Players: 1-4 | Playing Time: 30-45 minutes
Cascadia is a newer board game released in 2021, where players take on the role of explorers in the Pacific Northwest, competing to claim the most valuable land for their tribe. This is tile-laying and token-drafting board game featuring many species of wildlife.
Players will take turns building out their own terrain areas and populating them with wildlife. On each turn, players will choose habitat tiles and wildlife tokens to add to their 3 starting habitat tiles.
The goal of the game is to score the most points, as the players with the largest area of each type of habitat at the game’s end will win. To do this, players will need to carefully plan their moves, making sure to claim habitat tiles and attract wildlife.
15. The Isle of Cats
Number of Players: 1-4 | Playing Time: 60-90 minutes
The Isle of Cats is a fun and unique board game that offers players a chance to explore an island full of cats and rescue them before Lord Vesh comes to destroy them.
Each cat in the board game is represented by a unique tile and belongs to a family (depending on what color their tile is). Players will draft cards and place polyomino cat tiles on the board that contains a ship. You will need to find a way to make as many cats fit on the boat as possible, while also keeping different cat families together.
This is also a resource management board game where you will also draft cards, rescue cats, find treasures, befriend Oshax, and study ancient lessons to help earn you more points.
The game is full of beautiful artwork, and the mechanics are simple yet engaging. Players will have a blast exploring the island and helping the cats to safety. The Isle of Cats is a great game for cat lovers, and it makes an excellent addition to any board game collection.
Best Animal Board Games Conclusion
We hope you enjoyed this article on the best animal board games. Some of our favorites include Everdell and Isle of Cats. No matter which game you choose, we know that it will be a great animal board game to bring to your table.
Animal board games are perfect for any family game night. They are educational, fun, and appropriate for all ages. Whether you are a fan of classic games or new ones, there is an animal board game out there that is perfect for your family. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start playing!
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