Designed by: Friedemann Friese

Number of Players: 2 to 6

Grade Levels: Middle School and Up

Length: 45 Minutes

Curricular Connections: Animal Science, Geography, Metrics and Measurement

Investment: Low
Return: High

I recently had the chance to see one of this year’s Spiel des Jahres nominees  being played at a gathering of gaming friends and was enraptured by the simplicity and curricular strength of this game. Designed by Friedemann Friese, whose game Power Grid I also featured here a while back, Fauna is a game of animal knowledge and educated guesses. Each turn, players have the chance to bet on various characteristics of an animal; this could be weight, body length, height, tail length, or geographic location.

The game board is a map of the world with several scales of measurement for each of the varying characteristics of the animals. None of the placements are exact but are instead larger areas or ranges. Players take turns placing their guessing cubes on the board and will score points both for placing correctly and for placing in proximity to the correct guess. This is where educated guessing becomes a factor because students will be placing based on their general knowledge and experience in the game. As they find answers to animals they know, they can begin to use that knowledge as a reference point for determining the statistics of other animals. Students are not only building up their knowledge base of animals, geography and measurements, they are also developing important test taking skills for making educated guesses.

With over 300 animals to play with, Fauna proves a novel way to approach a handful of curricular and life skills in a fun and exciting way and would make a welcome addition to any program supporting math and science programs.