According to BoardGameGeek, the original Animal Upon Animal game from 2005 is in the top 20 of all children’s games of all time. Even though originally designed for kids, I must admit it is one of our favorite dexterity games. In it, you are stacking wooden animals of all shapes on the back of an oversized crocodile. What I never knew was the publisher, HABA, also offered a card version a few years later. That’s what we found this week at thrift.
Animal Upon Animal: The Card Game follows the same animal-carrying croc theme. This time he’s holding them above his head in card form. I would offer this version is a bit simpler than the original, even though it includes two sets of rules (one for regular play, one for “pros”).
Inside the box is a deck of cards consisting of forty animal kid cards and sixteen animal mother cards. These are sorted by player color on the backs of the cards and a full shuffled deck of fourteen are given to each participant. The wooden crocodile is set in the center of the play area.
In the simpler version of Animal Upon Animal: The Card Game, players will take turns drawing one card from the top of their deck. If it is a kid card, they will carefully place it on the growing stack on top of the croc. If any fall, up to three cards are gathered by the active player and put on the bottom of their deck. Any more than three are discarded from the game.
If the drawn card is one of the four mother cards, this card is given to another person (active player’s choice) and they must try to stack it. Any cards which fall are collected by that person. The game ends as soon as a player is left without any cards – they are the winner.
The more advanced rules change things a little bit. The starting decks must have a mother card on the bottom, so set one aside, shuffle, and then put it underneath the deck. Drawing and placing a kid card remains the same except you collect all fallen cards, not just three. When a mother card is revealed, instead of adding it to the stack, you must carefully nudge the stack trying to find a matching kid to the mother. If found, remove it from the stack without causing any others to fall. Place it and the mother card in front of you face-up.
If some do fall, take them all, including the kid you were trying to grab and the original mother card, which is placed on the bottom of your deck. If you did not find a match, the mother card is simply returned to the bottom of your pile. This version of Animal Upon Animal: The Card Game ends when one player has four animal mothers and kids face-up in front of them!
While I don’t believe this card version is still in print, you can still find new copies for sale on Amazon by third parties. When and if you find a copy at thrift, check the condition and completeness of the card deck. One bent card will add a completely new level of difficulty for a player!
Have you played the original Animal Upon Animal game?