Despite being a very popular setting for video games, the strategy sub genre that Zoo Tycoon fits into hasn’t been hugely capitalised on when it comes to tabletop games.
So it’s great to see Zoo Tycoon making the journey from screen to tabletop – and in a way that looks to truly do justice to the original games.
What is Zoo Tycoon: The Board Game?
Zoo Tycoon: The Board Game sees 2-4 players competing to build the most successful zoo. Players have the freedom to develop their zoo in a number of exciting ways – with over 34 species of animals, shops and food stalls, for example. Wannabe zoo managers will also need to ensure that their animals are properly cared for, with each species having its own specific requirements.
How do I take care of animals in Zoo Tycoon: The Board Game?
Players will need to take care in balancing the group and enclosure sizes, along with the location and composition of the species in each enclosure. Not only do your guests need to be happy to keep them visiting your zoo, but your animals need to be happy too – after all, happiness plays a big role in animals wanting to breed, which will add new options and attractions to your zoo!
How do I win a game of Zoo Tycoon: The Board Game?
Players will need to balance the popularity and conservation levels of their zoo over the course of the game, as the lower value between those two measurements will count as a player’s final score!
What components can I expect to find in Zoo Tycoon: The Board Game?
Zoo Tycoon: The Board Game looks to have seriously impressive production values. It includes 230 wooden animals – to represent most of the game’s 34 species – along with beautifully designed boards and cards. Everything has the same appealing design aesthetic; it’s wonderfully illustrated with clear iconography, along with wooden and high quality cardboard components.
How can I get my hands on Zoo Tycoon: The Board Game?
Though set for release in 2023, the creator of Zoo Tycoon: The Board Game is shortly launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, so you’ll be able to pledge for a copy there.
If you’re interested in registering to be notified when the game’s campaign launches, you can do so at this link. Should it reach its funding goal, you’ll be one of the first players to get their hands on the game!
What other zoo management tabletop games are available?
Though there are others, these are just a few suggestions of games which handle the animal breeding and collection aspects of Zoo Tycoon really well.
2007’s Zooloretto is one of the few games that takes the setting of a zoo and makes a fantastic experience of it, though it’s very ‘Euro-game’ in its mechanics.
It does what it sets out to do extremely well, without trying to delve into the strategic or managerial side of the business – instead focusing on filling enclosures and only expanding the zoo in a light and simple way.
2017’s Dinosaur Island (and its 2-player counterpart, Duelosaur Island, plus its roll-and-write sister title, Dinosaur Island: Rawr ‘n Write) are all games that do a better job at managing the needs and placement of different animals and attractions in a zoo-like setting, though of course this is of course against the backdrop of recreating dinosaurs to populate a Jurassic Park-esque zoo with.
We’ve featured board games a number of times before on Retro Dodo – check out our best retro board games and best Star Wars board games of all time lists for more!
This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase an item we may earn a commission. Thank you for your support.
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.