Animal Ailments Review
Recently, I spent some time with some beloved friends of mine and had a game night. I figured this would be the perfect time to try one of our new games that we received to review, called Animal Ailments. When I first heard about this game, I was really excited to play it. Animal Ailments is very similar to charades, but with a few twists and turns, making it a wacky, fun, and chill game to play!
About the game
Animal Ailments can be played with three or more people. Each person is playing for themselves, no teams. The game should last about 30-40 minutes and is suitable for ages 8 and up. However, you can make the game more difficult, which might affect the age range.
The game has a very interesting, fun concept: you must act out a certain animal (real or fantasy) with a certain ailment (broken foot, hungry, etc). If someone guesses it right, the “mimer” and the guesser both get points!
The game is super simple to set up. There are two decks of cards: red and green. The green cards are the animals and the red cards are the ailments, both of which the “mimer” must act out.
You will need a table for the cards and the sand timer, and some space for the “mimer” to act out the cards. The game is similar to charades in that the “mimer” must not say anything or make any noises while acting out the cards. Gestures and body movements are allowed, as well as props, but no pointing at words or letters.
When people guess the cards correctly, the mimer and guessers win cards.
There is also a bonus card called “barnslig”. This allows for the player who draws this card to chose special abilities like having an extra turn or changing the direction of play.
How to Play
Animal Ailments is pretty straight forward. Everyone plays for themselves. One person will “mime” first. They must draw a green animal card and a red ailment card. When they are ready, the one minute timer will start. The “mimer” starts by acting out the animal card first. When someone guesses the correct animal, the “mimer” moves on to the ailment card. When someone guesses the ailment, then one of the guessers must say the animal/ailment combo.
So for example, if the “mimer” has a koala and headache card, then the combo phrase would be “a koala with a headache.” Whoever guesses the correct phrase combo, wins the round.
There are points for the animal and ailment cards. The “mimer” gets to keep the animal card and the correct guesser gets to keep the ailment card.
There is also a “bonus and steal” round if there is still enough time after the combo is guessed. On the green cards, there is an extra bonus mime that is related to the animal. On the ailment card, there is a steal section that is related to the ailment. Once again, the “mimer” must act out the bonus first, and then the steal. If the green bonus is guessed, the “mimer” gets an extra red card added to their points. If the steal is guessed, then the “mimer” gets to steal an additional card from someone. The person who guessed the steal correctly is immune to any stealing for that round.
How to Win
The game ends whenever someone reaches 15 points. You win by collecting as many cards as possible. Each card has a number for points in the top left corner. The green animal cards normally score more than the ailment cards. However, there are more difficult ailment cards that can be added to the game and these cards are worth more points.
What I Liked
I love the idea for this game. The combination of guessing an animal and then having to guess the ailment along with the animal, adds a very fun and interesting twist to the game of charades. There are an impressive variety of animals and ailments, so many that I never would have thought of! This variety means the game is ever-changing and takes you down hilarious and unexpected turns.
This game is also very laid back. It is an easy game to learn, there are not a lot of rules, and you are acting goofy the whole game anyway. It’s a very chill, fun game.
In my opinion, there are two types of gamers/game nights: there are intense, serious, play by the rules gamers and then there’s fun, chill, and not so strict gamers. This game is for the latter group. This game is perfect for a party with lots of people and an especially good choice for a mixed-age party!
What Can be Improved
Animal Ailments can feel clunky at times, if that makes sense. In my personal opinion, I think that having more flexibility during the miming and guessing phase would make the game run a bit smoother. Most of the people that played this game felt that miming the two cards separately should be changed into just guessing the combo all at once. The “mimer” should still get two cards and still divide them up between “mimer” and guesser, if guessed correctly, but how the “mimer” acts out the combo should be totally up to the individual.
I feel the bonus and steal section could also be improved. Most of the people that played the game felt like they would be at a disadvantage if they tried to guess during this phase. It mostly benefits the “mimer”. If you don’t want the “mimer” to gain more points and steal from you (gaining even more points), then no one should guess. That way the “mimer” doesn’t get any points. There isn’t enough incentive for the guessers to… well, guess the answer during this phase.
Overall, this has potential. Depending on who you are playing with and what kind of games you are into, this game could be a good addition to your card and board game collection.
I would definitely say that this would be a great game for younger kids. The idea of the game is not to complicated and the game play is pretty easy to pick up. You can add more difficult cards to the deck, that specifically say “for +12 years and up”. Plus, with all the goofy charades of animals and ailments being acted out, I think younger kids would have a blast playing this game. I know I would have loved this game when I was younger.
I also think that this is more of a silly, chill, laid back kind of game. It is definitely not for that competitive, intense gaming group that takes the rules seriously and must win in order to have fun. So if you are into goofy and laid back kind of games, then you should really check out Animal Ailments! If you are into more serious, intense games, then move along… this is not the game you are looking for. But definitely a great game for kids!
What games have you played lately that you loved? What should we review next? Let us know in the comments below!
Peace and love my nerds,
Matt “Donoran” Fuhrmann