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Zooligans Card Game: You build the zoo!'s video poster

Zooligans is quick and casual yet strategic. Buy animals, create exhibits, read amazing facts. And try to build the best zoo possible. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on June 16, 2013.

Zooligans is quick and casual yet strategic. Buy animals, create exhibits, read amazing facts. And try to build the best zoo possible.

About this project

THANK YOU! To everyone for making an amazing campaign. We've matched our greatest dreams. Zooligans will receive a full print run.

IF YOU MISSED IT: You can still get in on the fun. If the campaign ended recently, you can still pledge for the Deluxe version by clicking here. Otherwise, check out the Zooligans web site.

There's also still time to add on a play mat. If you want one, or you have any other questions or concerns, message me here on Kickstarter, go to our Facebook page, or use the contact form on the Zooligans web site.

PLAY MAT ($22 add-on) is the easiest way to set up your game of Zooligans. It's a sturdy cloth-covered 12x18" mat. Think of a large mouse pad custom printed with Zooligans artwork and the layout of the center of the game. To get this great accessory, keep the pledge level you currently have selected but add $22 to the total pledge. (For additional mats, add just $15 each). 

  • "I like the detail of the animal cards & how that plays into mechanics"
  • Overall 4/5 -Ryan Metzler of the Dice Tower network
  • "Zooligans is a wonderful game.... every session left me feeling like I played a game that was worth my time." -Father Geek review
  • "Short, simple, fun. Good game" -Andrea D
  • "Wow this game is amazing! Each animal photo and fact is so interesting to look at and read." -Ann M, English professor
  • "WAY better than any similarly themed animal game I've seen at science teaching conventions" -Tom F
  • "The game is very well balanced, the easy to see symbols make it simple and exciting." -Justin T, high school teacher

You and your friends take on the role of zookeepers in this fast-paced, exciting strategy card game. Which will be the best exhibits? Who will find the most endangered animals? Can you complete your park before the other players? 

In Zooligans one to six players all try to create the best zoo possible. To do so, they must find or buy the right animal cards to match the exhibit goal cards. Completed exhibits attract a number of visitors. At the end of the game the player with the most visitors wins!

The game currently includes 121 cards as follows: 84 animal cards in the main deck, 12 cards in the auction deck, 12 exhibit goals, 7 zoo bonus cards (including one exclusive to this Kickstarter), and 6 continental theme cards. More cards will be unlocked when stretch goals are met, and they will be added to all games, so help spread the word.

Each turn of a Zooligans game consists of four phases. During the animal auction, players bid on worldwide animals to add to their hand. Next, the main phase is when players play a card, adding an animal to their zoo. Also, exhibits that have been filled can be completed and zoo bonuses assigned. Then, during the trade phase, zookeepers are free to exchange animals with each other. Finally, in the discard and draw phase players return their hands back up to three cards.

For complete rules, please see this document.

You can watch this great game play video by our friends at All Us Geeks.

PARENTS AND TEACHERS can feel good about playing and having fun knowing that Zooligans teaches while it entertains. Players use strategic thinking and basic math skills, learn animal classifications, and read fascinating animal facts. That's why "Parent Geeks found Zooligans to be a very worthwhile and educational family game that provided entertainment and knowledge." -Father Geek

Here are additional details about a few of the reward levels.

In small print runs like ours, nearly half the cost of the game is the box and rule booklet. Therefore, in order to keep prices down for you and offer the best options, we have two pledge levels that entitle you to the game.

VISITOR ($18 level) will receive a Basic copy of the game—all of the cards of the regular Zooligans game–including stretch goals, but they will come in a simple, plain white tuck box. Rather than a fancy, full color rule booklet, you will receive a summary printout sheet. The full version of the rule booklet will be available for you to download.

VIP ($24 level) is the DELUXE version of Zooligans with a beautiful, full color tuck box and saddle-stitched instruction manual. Add $21 for additional decks shipped to the same address.

INTERNATIONAL TOUR GROUP ($85) is the pledge level for those outside the US. Unfortunately, at our margins the cost of shipping individual decks overseas is prohibitive. Rather than ask international backers to pay around $50 for the game, we have created this bundle of three. Shipping multiple decks costs little more than shipping one deck, so if you can find two friends, you can still get Zooligans at a reasonable price.

The base version of Zooligans includes a full, playable set of gorgeous cards, BUT with a little more funding we'll be able to get more and more cards printed for the same price and pass those on to you! We also have a stretch goal for Facebook shares, as this word of mouth will encourage your friends to check out our project and hopefully back it.

150 Facebook Shares, SHARKS & RAYS: Unlocked! We added 5 new fish plus the corresponding goal card. You can still click the button below the project video to Share this page and help spread the word.

WHAT THE FOOD?!: We've partnered with this great family game to bring you bonuses for both projects! What the Food?! has ended now with over $22,000 (congratulations). We were able to unlock all six food-themed animals.

GEMSTONE ISLAND: Through another exciting partnership, we can unlock even more animals! Pledge at Zooligans and Gemstone Island and leave a comment on both pages. For every 5 people who do so, we'll unlock 1 new gem-related animal (max 6). Examples include ruby-throated hummingbird and emerald tree boa. We unlocked three gemstone animals!

WORDSMITH THE CARD GAME: Another chance to earn more animals. We unlocked 3 new metal-related animals: bronze, silver, then gold! You can still click here, check it out, and pledge.

$850, BIRDS OF PREY; $1,000, BIG CATS; $1,200 VENOMOUS ANIMALS; $1,700 EXCLUSIVE ZOO BONUS have been unlocked.

$2,500 12 BONUS ANIMALS!: Unlocked! We've added 12 extra animals to Zooligans!

If you are new to Kickstarter, you may be wondering what this is all about. In a nutshell, you may pledge money toward our project using Amazon payments, so you will need an account with them. (If you cannot set up an account, you may also pledge here using PayPal or a credit card.) You are not charged until the end of the campaign, and only if our goal is met. This ensures that we will have the funding for completing the project. In exchange for your pledge, you receive rewards listed on the right. For example, with a $24 pledge you can receive a deluxe copy of the completed game. Find out more details about Kickstarter here. Once the campaign is complete, we will send the game to the printers and you should receive your copy shortly thereafter.

Why Kickstarter? Crowdfunding, as it is being called, allows small creative projects like ours to get off the ground. In the past, publishing a game required a sizable outlay of initial capital. If the game failed to sell, the designer would be stuck with a garage full of games and a big credit card bill. Kickstarter has changed that by allowing people like us to gauge the interest in a game without risking a ton of money upfront. If there isn't adequate demand, the funding campaign fails, you are not charged, and the game is never printed. When the Kickstarter does succeed, we're able to print the right quantity of the best possible version of the game, and you are able to pre-order directly for a great price and valuable exclusives. It's a win-win for the game creator and enthusiast alike.

JUST $760? We've worked hard to get the price for Zooligans as low as possible. The purpose of our Kickstarter is to get our game to the public, not to make huge profits. Our base funding goal will allow us to print about 30 copies of the game. We have factored in all the expenses including Kickstarter fees and shipping. As mentioned above, if we get more pledges, we can get a larger print run and save money on each deck. Rather than keeping the extra money, we will add more cards to the game. (We have already designed and play-tested these, so it will not even delay production.)

We love and support FLGSs (friendly local game stores!) Any registered retailers qualify for our exclusive retail program. Simply pledge at the $30 GIFT SHOP level for great bonuses. First, you get a DELUXE edition of Zooligans to use as a demonstration copy at your store, and you will receive a special package of promotional materials to display in your shop and distribute to your customers. Plus, you will be top of our list of approved retailers who will be the first to receive Zooligans at wholesale pricing once production is complete.

Follow our progress on KickTraq. Pretty graphs and everything.

Kicking It Forward: We pledge to commit at least 5% of profits after all expenses to help fund other creative projects on Kickstarter.

Risks and challenges

While we have been designing games for decades, this is the first of our projects being fully produced for the public. As such, there will be some learning curve involved. We have taken worst-case-scenario estimates for production and shipping times and added on a month. In this way, we expect to under promise and over deliver.

Although this project is a small scale, we have an advantage in having two partners geographically separated. If anything horrible should happen to either Gregory or Dusty, the other will be able to step in and complete the project.

As far as the game itself, it is fully designed and has undergone rigorous play-testing. We have continually tweaked Zooligans to make it the best game possible, and we think you will love it. You won't have to wait for any development time. It will be in your hands as soon as it can be printed and shipped.

Working with third party suppliers, printers in particular, means relying on others to do their part in a timely and high-quality fashion. To mitigate these concerns, we are using a well-respected printing company, either The Game Crafter if we meet minimal funding or Liberty Cards or GotPrints if we reach stretch goals. All of these businesses have earned a reputation for their quality work.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • The play mat is an add-on. To get it, simply pledge the amount of the reward you want plus $22 for the play mat (& $15 for subsequent mats.)

    For example: If you want the VIP level ($24) reward and 1 play mat ($22), set your pledge at $46 and choose VIP for your reward.

    If you want the INTERNATIONAL TOUR GROUP ($85) plus 3 play mats ($22+$15+15), pledge $85+$22+$15+$15= $137. Choose the $85 reward.

    If you've already pledged and want to add the play mat, click "Manage my pledge" and just change the dollar amount.

    A survey will be sent out at the end of the campaign wherein you can tell us what the extra money is for.

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  • Every card is unique. There is only one of each animal.

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  • It's possible if we get a lot of queries that we will change the international shipping. For now, if you're interested in Zooligans but don't have two friends who might want it, please contact us so we can try to make arrangements.

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  • Unfortunately the cheapest shipping option to Canada that we have found is $20 (USPS international flat rate box). That would make a single game cost over $40, which seems unreasonable. If you would like to buy internationally but don't have 2 other people who want the game, please contact me with your location, and I will try to match you up with others nearby.

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  • To use PayPal, simply pledge at our FundAnything campaign for the amount of the pledge level you wish, and send me a note about it.

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  • Yes, the visitor level includes all the same cards as the VIP, just without the fancy box and rules.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    17 backers

    PHILANTHROPIST: Your support is greatly appreciated! Sign on to comment and get project updates.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    17 backers

    TOURIST: You and backers at higher levels will receive a print and play version of the complete Zooligans game via downloadable PDF.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $18 or more

    4 backers Limited (21 left of 25)

    VISITOR: For those who want Zooligans without the bells and whistles. Includes all the game cards in a plain tuck box with quick reference rule sheet (full rules available by download.) Free shipping in the US.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $24 or more

    101 backers

    VIP: Receive a full DELUXE version of Zooligans with full color printed box and rule booklet. Free shipping in the US. Add $21 for additional copies of the game.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    GIFT SHOP: For registered Retailers only. Join the select group of exclusive retailers for Zooligans card game. You'll get a DELUXE copy of the game to use for demonstration in your store. This level also includes special advertising and promotional materials to display, plus promotion on our website and Kickstarter and Facebook pages. US only.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)

    COLLECTOR: A prototype version of Zooligans will be sent to you immediately. This preview includes a fully playable deck of Zooligans cards with preliminary rules. It was used for play-testing and/or reviews. Plus the DELUXE version will be shipped to you when it is complete. US shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $85 or more

    1 backer

    INTERNATIONAL TOUR GROUP: For people overseas, get a great deal on Zooligans by joining up with a couple of friends. This package includes 3 copies of the full DELUXE game and FREE shipping anywhere in the world!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $99 or more

    3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)

    ZOOKEEPER: Help decide the final version of the game. You will get to choose an animal to be included in Zooligans, plus decide between various options for its photo and informational text. Your name will be listed in the rule booklet as a contributor. Also includes the DELUXE version of the game. Free shipping in the US. Worldwide shipping add $15.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (32 days)