Wu Chen Recommends...Animal Upon Animal

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I’m a gamer. I’ve played all manner of games - electronic and tabletop - most of my life, with varying degrees of competitive seriousness. It is still my primary social activity, and Kristin and I play a lot of games together.

Our kids have recently started to express interest in board games, so we’ve been exploring options as to how we best play with them in an engaging, fun, and positive manner. It’s been really wonderful: they’re learning how to take turns, how to deal with adversity, how to be competitive in a positive way, and it has really improved their focus and attention span. We’re learning how to talk positively about conflict, competition and adversity, as well as how to trash talk in a positive way.

One of the pieces of the puzzle has been figuring out which games to play when, and how. Haba Games’ Animal Upon Animal has been a wonderful game for Teng Jin. It’s a fun game in which each player has a selection of animal-shaped pieces to stack, with additional handicaps randomly provided through dice rolls. The pieces are easy to handle and also plenty of fun as make-believe toys to kill time between turns.

The game concept is simple to grasp (even for a toddler), and they are able to do quite well yet the game is genuinely engaging and competitive for an adult with the variety of shapes making for interesting tactical and strategic decisions. We often play this game with just adults and have a terrific time doing it.

If you’re looking for a fun game that really does work with all ages, this is a great candidate.

Haba Games’ Animal Upon Animal on Boardgamegeek.

Haba Games’ Animal Upon Animal for sale.

P.s. we play that the “skip turn” die result means “use your less dominant hand” as having your turn skipped is just plain no fun for a toddler.