Animal Rescuers - Prototype A


Here's an update on that ultra-minimal, deduction game idea I've been discussing lately. I decided to go with a more family-friendly theme:


2-4 Players, Ages 8+

An animal has fallen in a hole and is calling for help! The other animals answer the call and together they pull up their friend. After being rescued, one special animal will get thanked. Your goal is to deduce which animal is in the well so you can figure out how you can get thanked.

The game is comprised of 13 numbered cards; 1-6 appear twice in the deck and 0 appears once. Each card depicts animals of increasing size, from an ant (0) to an elephant (6).  Each animal will thank one or more animals depending on that animal’s personality. The reference chart lists all the animals in the game and who they thank.

There is a new dealer each round. The dealer shuffles the cards and places one face-down on the table. That is the animal to be rescued. No one may peek at this card during play. The dealer then deals the rest of the deck to the other players’s hands evenly. Players must keep their hands secret.

Starting from the dealer’s left, each player takes turns. On your turn, you may do one of two things:
  • Play: Choose one card from your hand and play it face-up in front of you, visible to everyone.
  • Pass: Decline to play a card.
The player to your left takes the next turn, and so on. Keep all the cards you have in play visible. As cards come out you can start deducing which animal is the one who fell in the hole and adjust your choice accordingly.

The round ends when all players have passed once OR when the sum of all card numbers in play is a certain amount or higher. This number varies based on the number of players.
  • 2 Players: 15
  • 3 Players: 20
  • 4 Players: 25
The dealer reveals the hidden animal. Check the text at the bottom of the card to know who gets thanked this round.

After that, all cards are reshuffled. The next player to the left gets to be the dealer and a new rounds begins.

The game is over when each player has had a chance to be the dealer. The player with the most thanks at the end of the game wins.

Each animal thanks the highest or lowest card in play or in hand, sometimes a specifically a circle or triangle. When two players have a tie for highest or lowest, compare their next highest or lowest card.

For your deduction reference: Six animals thank the highest card, six animals thank the lowest card, six animals thank cards in play, six animals thank cards in hand, four animals thank circle cards, and four animals thank triangle cards.


  1. I'm glad to see the scalable threshold, but i'd rather go for the wake up monster theme. However you are much more a marketing guy than me.
    The play or pass adds a lot to strategy and player interaction. I'll try to test it.

  2. In a two player game, I won a round and she won a round. Have you thought of a tiebreaker condition? (Not that it's needed, because the game is so quick.)

  3. Tiebreaker, as in if two people have the high card? If so, there's a note in the rules about how to resolve that tie.


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