Cuckoo Zoo Review
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Players: 2-6
Playing Time: 15 minutes

Question: What do you get when you mix a Crazy Eights-style card game with animals and barnyard noises? Answer: You get Cuckoo Zoo, a new kids’ game from Gamewright.

Each of the 78 cards in the deck sports a picture of one of seven animals—a sheep, donkey, lion, frog, cuckoo, pig, and monkey—in assorted colors (red, blue, green, and yellow). There are also four peacock cards. Each player is dealt eight cards, and the rest of the cards are stacked face down in a draw pile. The top card is flipped to start the discard pile and begin the game.

On a player’s turn, he must choose a card from his hand that matches either the animal or the color of the card on top of the discard pile. If the player plays a blue, yellow, or green animal card, he must also make the sound that animal makes. If he forgets or makes the wrong sound, he must draw two penalty cards and add them to his hand. Red cards, on the other hand, are “silent” cards—the player cannot make a sound when he plays a red card. If he does, he must take two penalty cards. These rules apply to the sheep, lion, frog, pig, and monkey cards.

Some cards—such as the donkey and cuckoo—have special powers that can force players to skip a turn or draw extra penalty cards. The peacock cards are considered “wild cards” and can be substituted for any animal or color.

The first player to play all of his or her cards wins the game.

This game is aimed towards kids, and they would probably like the noisy aspect of it. Younger kids, though, might have a hard time grasping all of the rules. If that’s the case, the game also has special rules for younger children. Anyone over the age of 10, though, might find this game a little too silly. In that case, I’d recommend trying out UNO (which has similar rules, minus the barnyard noises), or a more age-appropriate Gamewright game such as In a Pickle.

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