At a Glance: Animal Upon Animal is the BEST children’s game I have ever played. It has high production value and is fun for all ages!
Animal Upon Animal is a children’s dexterity game for 2-4 players, where the goal is to use all your animals by stacking them on each other. Gameplay is very simple. Everyone starts with 7 animals, and 1 big alligator is used as the base within reach of everyone. On your turn, roll the red die and do what it says. Sometimes it’s as simple as choosing 1 animal to place on the stack. The other actions are on the dice: placing 2 animals at once (great), Using an additional animal to widen the base (also great), giving an animal to another player to place on the stack (still a good thing), or the other players may choose what animal you must place (not so good). If the stack falls over, then you must take 2 extra animals to place as a penalty. Whoever gets rid of all their animals by either stacking them or giving them away is the winner.
Here it is. This is the BEST children’s game. It offers interesting decisions, even for the very young, the gameplay is quick and not repetitive, and it can be enjoyed by those of all ages. Games like Candyland have their place, and are attractive to kids, and that’s fine. But we underestimate what kids are capable of. We don’t have to limit selections to games that present children with NO choices. It is just not as fun, which is the main thing. The animals are weirdly shaped and not entirely compatible with each other, so it makes it really fun to figure out how to stack them well. The whole thing is definitely simple, but the whole game just feels right, like one of those classics that will never go away. I said on my #71 game, Rhino Hero, that it would not be the last HABA game on my list, and it just worked out that they were right next to each other. HABA is a great German company that makes the best children’s games out there. It is what they’re known for, and they always produce quality games, both in design and components.
Speaking of component quality…WOW this game shines. The colorful animal pieces are solid wood. They look and feel incredible. Even the youngest children will just want to play with the cool pieces. I know, because this was probably the very first game that my son played with when he was a 1 year old. If you have children, heck, if you KNOW children, get this game. I cannot recommend it enough.
Great price, especially for what you get: https://amzn.to/2PO1xrG
Now that we have a son, I keep my eye out for children’s games more often. Here are some other good games geared for kids that just missed out on my Top 100:
Fast Flip – Small, quick, speed game where each card has a bunch of fruits on it, and you have to grab either a fruit token or a number token. Great reflex activity for adults too.
Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? – Really fun geography/history trivia game for kids where you move around the map answering questions and looking for a secret matching set of Warrant, Loot, and Crook. It has a big memory element, and is very educational.
Sleeping Queens – This is a simple, good-looking card game where players play Kings to wake sleeping queens that are worth a certain amount of points. Several cards that can be played against your opponent also have a particular card that blocks them. Easy, quick, and fun.
A Fistful of Penguins – Dice game that involves a lot of mathematics. Different combinations of animals score differently. Takes a few plays to get comfortable with.
Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur – Classic game that is easy enough for small children. Roll dice, move your cavemen, wind up the Dinosaur and let him loose. The Dinosaur is of course the best part, as he spins around unexpectedly and knocks over the cavemen, sending them back to the Start.
Loopin’ Chewie – This Star Wars-themed remake of Loopin’ Louie is an electronic game where the Millenium Falcon flies around in a circle and players try to knock him up in the air in order to protect their little plastic disks. Last person standing wins. Really fun, even for adults.