Animix: Taming the Grid

  • Designer: Mathieu Bossu
  • Artist: Simon Douchy
  • Publisher: Blue Orange Games
  • Release Date: June 2020

Disclaimer: This game was provided to us for review by Blue Orange Games.

Luke: If I was to point to why the Blue Orange line of small box games is so appealing, its that they often take the best bits from larger titles in the industry and condense them into quick filler titles.

Phil: Not just filler titles, but ones that stick in your craw and make you remember them days, if not weeks, later.

Luke: Animix is another one of these titles, borrowing liberally from Arboretum and Capital Lux to create a stylish experience all its own.

Phil: Depending on the player count, a grid of animals is laid out at the start of the game, establishing the jungle through which players must navigate. How many animals are in play also depends on player counts, determining the ways players can score (similar to Ethnos).

Luke: On their turn, a player will either:

  • Swap a card with one from the grid. The newly taken card is placed in that player’s personal pool face-down.
  • Play a card directly to their personal pool face-down.

Once a card is swapped into the grid, a token is placed on it, preventing other from swapping for it at a later date.

Phil: After 6 rounds, ie when all players have played all cards from their hands, players will compare the cards in their personal pools. Whoever has the most of a given animal will be the only person to score for that animal.

Luke: How they score can vary dramatically; elephants and monkeys care about the other animals in the row/column, wolves want to be along the edges of the grid, and chameleons want unique cards adjacent to themselves.

Phil: Most of the variety of this title comes from the 10 animals you can mix-and-match, especially at 2-players, which only includes 3 animals in every game. That being said, this limits how robust the 2-player mode can be.

Luke: Compared to other player counts, the grid is fairly small and your options limited. Due to ties being friendly, many games have ended with a flat tie, with both players vying for the same animals or with scoring ending up being very uniform.

Phil: The unfortunate fact of the matter is, for a game like this to truly sing, you’ll need a group of 4 or more players. The grid becomes expansive, the bluffing funnier, and your actions more meaningful.

Luke: This is a smart game for sure, and I’d happily recommend it to those looking to play in big groups, but as it stands, we can’t recommend this for a group of 2.

Verdict: Animix does a lot with a little, pushing players to make tough decisions in about 10 minutes. At 2-players, however, there’s little of the chaotic fun to engage it, making games feel dull. Don’t pick this up unless you’re going to playing with a larger crew.

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