Hey, wait a minute, that game title doesn’t make sense! Well, that’s because this week’s review is of a little gem that’s imported from Germany. Tier auf Tier is German and translates into “Animal upon Animal.” It’s a fun little dexterity game that is always good for a little tension, a little uncertainty, and a lot of laughs.
In Tier auf Tier, 2-4 players are trying to get rid of their adorable wooden animals by stacking them on a precarious animal pyramid. The game plays quickly — 5-10 minutes — and you’ll find yourself saying, “Just one more time” more than once! The game is targeted at children (age 4+) but I think it’s just as much fun for adults who are looking for a dexterity game that’s not Jenga.
In a nutshell: When you open the box for Tier auf Tier, you’ll find instructions (don’t worry, you don’t need to know German — there’s an English translation included), a 6-sided die, and 29 wooden animals (which are rather cute — just click the back of the box below for a glimpse). The animals consist of: one crocodile, which serves as the pyramid base, and 4 sets of seven other animals (toucan, lizard, penguin, monkey, hedgehog, snake, and sheep).
Each player takes a set of animals, and the crocodile is placed in the middle of the playing area as the base of the pyramid. Play begins. On your turn, you simply roll the die and follow its instructions. The general idea is that you’re building an animal pyramid and you will need to stack your animals on it without causing a collapse! Depending on what you roll, you’ll have to take one of the following actions:
- Place one of your animals (carefully!) on the animal pyramid.
- Place two of your animals (even more carefully!) on the animal pyramid.
- Place one of your animals next to the mouth or tail of the crocodile. This animal becomes part of the pyramid base, expanding the building surface.
- Give one of your animals to another player, who then has to place it on the pyramid.
- Allow other players to determine which of your animals you have to put on the pyramid.
If you cause a collapse or partial collapse of the pyramid, stop what you’re doing! You’ll have to take up to two animals back into your supply and hope that others cause collapses too, so that you can catch up!
The first person to get rid of all their animals wins the game.
We’ve really had some fun with this game. It’s always nerve-wracking to me to try to figure out where and how I’ll place my animal(s) and I always find my hand shaking as I try to carefully place it on the pyramid. C. also told me to be sure to point out that not only is it a fun game to play, but the animal pieces are fun for kids to play with — little ones can make up imaginary scenarios and older kids can see how big a pyramid they can make on their own.
It’s a bit pricey for a little game, but if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for your nieces or nephews, or if you just want a clever dexterity game to add to your game shelf, keep this one in mind.
Tier auf Tier
Number of Players: 2-4
Time required: 5-10 minutes
Ages: 4 and up
Where to buy: Since this game is an import, it can sometimes be hard to track down, but I’ve seen it recently at Time Well Spent. It also shows up at FunAgain Games and GamesSurplus at times.
Callapidder recommends it: When you’re looking for a quick, fun game that kids have just as good a chance of winning as the adults — maybe even a better chance, with their little fingers!
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