Miller Zoo Review
Miller Zoo game is a co-operative game about solving problems at the zoo and welcoming new inhabitants to the enclosures. It is a campaign style, legacy game so that as you win you get to open new content and unlock new challenges!
Based on a real zoo in Canada, we need to help our resident animals thrive! But we only have limited resources and movement. We win the game together if we can house 7 new inhabitants and clear the problems off all the animal cards before the resource deck runs out!
The rules are very straightforward and each round has 4 phases. At “dawn” we each draw resource cards that have a combination of symbols on them. In the “morning” we place problem tokens on our existing resident animals that need resources to clear In the “afternoon” phase we move zookeepers to enclosures to clear off problems with the resources they have. It’s also the time we welcome new inhabitants to spare enclosure spots. When “night” arrives, it’s crisis management time by allocating resources from the deck. However, every resource taken from the deck reduces the time we have to solve the problems coming up. Why? Because the deck also acts as the timer for the entire game! If all the new inhabitants aren’t safely bedded down and the zoo is running well by the time the deck runs out, we win. If not, we try again! If you win, your reward is to open an envelope (6 in total!) which includes new challenges, powers and resources.
Miller Zoo is a great introduction to co-operative play for groups with younger gamers. Actions are simple and the first game is basic. But it gets you used to the rhythm and flow of the game. The campaign adds more challenges that increase the competing priorities slightly but nothing that would take it out of the realm of introductory play. New zookeeper powers and animal cards with more complex needs keep games interesting. But because the basic 4 stages don’t change there will be few new rules to have to learn along the way. This might feel a little limiting for experienced players. But as every game is only around 30 mins, it makes it a great choice when you have a group with kiddos or inexperienced players. Our son is 8 years old and he was able to not only make decisions in this game, but also steer the collective actions. This is a big confidence booster for him and for that we will happily play Miller Zoo whenever he wants!