SPIEL'16 was around three weeks ago and many board game fans have returned home with full shopping bags. One or the other player may also play the cooperative card game Endangered animal wandered into the bag from Mogel Verlag. Anyone who has not accessed the trade fair in Essen or has not yet heard the title should read the following review carefully. We went on an animal expedition around the world for you, met dangerous predators as well as supposedly sedate savannah dwellers, dived into the shallows of the oceans and watched the kings of the air. And all of this without even taking a step outside the door. Have fun reading the cooperative card game review Endangered animal from Mogel Verlag.

Conversation against a serious background

The card game Endangered animal is the third game from the still young family publisher and it can already be revealed at this point that it is also the best of the games published so far. Anyone who has never heard of Mogel Verlag before will get this one Interview from the GAME'16 an impression of the game-loving Loth family from the Emsland. Who the card games Pearl diving (Pearl diving review) and Willi Word Worm (Review of Willi Wortwurm) knows, you will immediately notice that the optics of Endangered animal differs significantly. If you follow Michael Loth's argument, it is no coincidence, but a deliberately chosen design element. The illustrations by Endangered animal appear more mature - almost as if one wanted to make the serious background of the cooperative card game clear.

Review: Animal Threatened by Mogel Verlag
Review: Animal Threatened by Mogel Verlag

Indeed, Mogel Verlag recommends an entry age of 10 years to start the game Endangered animal to experience comprehensively. However, the game mechanics itself can also be grasped by significantly younger players, so that this card game is also ideally suited as a family title. From about 6 to 8 years of age, children can join in without any problems Endangered animal keep busy, but need some adult help in the planning stages to allow the cooperative mechanics and "solo part" to mesh in the way Michael Loth envisioned when designing the game. The setting of the card game for 2 to 4 players is serious. Endangered animals are to be rescued, whereby successful attempts allow points to migrate to the joint player account, while failed rescue measures are punished with point deductions at the end of the game. Even the instructions make it clear: Animal welfare is teamwork!  

Visually attractive, playfully shallow

Is purely optical Endangered animal a delightful card game. The back of a total of 54 animal cards are printed with simple but harmonious watercolors - no comparison to the rather unspectacular images on the cards of the previous titles. The drawings of the animals are particularly successful. Since no animal appears twice, 54 animal cards mean 54 animal pictures at the same time, which players like to leaf through after unpacking. You will meet old friends such as the lion or cheetah as well as exotic representatives such as a Madagascar snake hawk or the short-crested iguana. The fact that an ordinary cod is suddenly smiling at the player with all the animal celebrities is almost surprising, but in view of the overfished waters it is frighteningly real.

Lying next to the animal cards Endangered animal* also includes 3 donation cards, 2 status cards, 1 compass card and the 8 central strategy cards. After setting up the game, which is done in a few simple steps, each player receives their hand cards, depending on the number of players, with which they carry out the rescue operations during the course of the game. Only animals of the same color can be rescued: with the green jungle cards you save land animals, with the blue cards you save water dwellers and with the yellow cards you save the threatened fliers. An animal is considered rescued when the symbols displayed by the players match at least the number of habitat and money symbols in the animal display. While the cheetah is easy to save with just one money symbol, the mission of a golf dolphin (3/3) is many times more complex, not necessarily more difficult, as the composition of the cards in hand can only be influenced to a limited extent.

The strategic component of the cooperative card game consists initially of a decision about the cards in hand available in the active round. After the endangered animals have been placed face down, the players can decide together about the use of one of the 8 strategy cards. The actions are sometimes more, sometimes less useful - in rare cases unfortunately also rather trivial and then more of a formality than an influencing game element. After using the selected strategy card, further communication is prohibited, so that each player acts cooperatively but independently. This playful trick is a success and provides some element of surprise. You can always guess what the other players are planning, but whether the plan will work and the symbols available to save all animals remains uncertain and therefore exciting. The rescue missions can also be influenced by three donation cards that grant a bonus on one of the symbols. Since the donations can only be used once, the players have to weigh up when the use is worthwhile.

Expedition without a compass

Rescued animals and creatures that the players could not save are assigned to one of the status stacks (red and blue world map) and grant points or penalties in the final scoring. The more difficult the animals are to save, i.e. the more symbols are required, the higher the score. This provides additional tactical incentives, so that players always have to use the remaining cards in their hand to weigh up whether it might be worth saving one of the "big brummers" or whether it would be better to play to be safe. The more often you Endangered animal plays, the more natural the interaction with the other animal rights activists becomes. And if you remember the animals on the status piles, you know that as the game progresses, animals that are worth points may still be waiting in the draw pile. In these cases it can be tactically sensible to align the hand of cards accordingly. The compass card always shows the player who starts the respective round. With a maximum of four players, however, the overview is seldom lost, so that passing the compass around is often avoided in order to streamline the game. However, the compass card is a nice gimmick for anyone who needs such a visualization.   

The game ends with the round in which the last strategy card was used. This mechanic is wonderful because it matters Endangered animal a scheduled card game. The game ends after eight rounds and the total number of points is evaluated using the point values ​​on the animal cards. As already from Willi Word Worm announced, the game instructions provide information about the mutual performance of the players.

Images too endangered animal


Number of players: 2 to 4 players
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 10 to 45 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: medium

Published by Mogel Verlag
Year of publication: 2016 
Authors: Michael Loth
Language: German
Cost: 10 Euro


Was at Pearl diving and Willi Word Worm The target audience is crucial for a fair assessment, so you can Endangered animal easily rated as a card game for everyone. The third game from Mogel Verlag does well. The cards are lovingly designed and as a player you can feel the work that can be hidden behind the development of a parlor game. While high scores are not easy to achieve, getting started is easy. The basic rules are easy for children to grasp, so that themselves Endangered animal joins the series of successful family games. The game mechanics of the strategy cards are both a curse and a blessing: sometimes the remaining selection creates tension, for example when a good display has to be exchanged. In other cases the effect of the strategy cards fizzles out, so that the game plot becomes a mere formality.

The basic victory condition, to hit two symbols in a certain number, provides experienced strategists only for small dances of joy. Frequent players will be at Endangered animal In the long run, the challenge is missing, even if it is definitely motivating to improve your own score in another game. Nevertheless, the cooperative card game knows how to convince due to its simplicity. The games are often exciting and entertaining, joy and annoyance alternate with the not always predictable actions of the other players. These small emotional moments are noticeably good for the course of the game, so that the simple basic structure is often forgotten.

Using the example of the card game Endangered animal shows: Games don't have to be complicated to be entertaining.