Conservation Crisis by Tunza Games – Board Game Review
[Advert] Recently we were sent the board game Conservation Crisis by Tunza Games for review purposes – perfect timing for these last rainy days of ‘summer’! My kids have the enormous privilege of travelling to South Africa every two years to visit family and having the opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat. But this doesn’t mean they know much about conservation or which species are in crisis due to poaching.
“Conservation Crisis – can you save an endangered species?”
Conservation Crisis is a clever game which highlights all the difficulties in trying to preserve wildlife while being fun to play at the same time. It is a rare game in that my kids love returning to play it again and invite their friends to play it too.
When I first read the outline of the game, my eyebrows shot up at the mention of bribes being included as part of game play. However, once I understood the game, I realised that this real problem in the wildlife industry needs to be highlighted in order to be eradicated. Tunza Games would like to make it clear that they don’t support bribery and corruption in any way.
“Conservation Crisis – a family game that helps save endangered species both on and off the board”
In my opinion, one of the best aspects of Conservation Crisis, while being thoroughly enjoyable as well as educational, is that for every game sold, £2 is donated to wildlife charities. To find out more, visit the Tunza Games website.
How to Play Conservation Crisis
At first glance, Conservation Crisis appeared to be similar to Monopoly in some ways, however, they are quite different. In this game the emphasis is not in accruing the most assets at the expense of other players, but rather in building the biggest herd of wildlife while using all your assets wisely to ensure this. You have to balance your income and expenditure on every round to ensure you receive funding for the next round.
At the beginning of each round every player has to complete a number of steps including apply for funding, pay your staff, earn income from any tourists and grow your wildlife.
There are no dice in the game but players have a number of options during the course of play as you move clockwise around the board. You can build fences, restore habitats, employ staff to work on the reserve, build lodges and hold meetings with your community. Every choice impacts the growth of your wildlife in some way and can also affect other players too if you land on a square they were hoping to land on (certain spots only allow one player at a time).
You have to be aware of various pitfalls that come up on the Events cards and make sure that you think carefully before paying a bribe!
The end of the game is determined by the drawing of a specific card from the pile – the Crisis Averted card – which is placed at random towards the bottom of the pile, and the winner is the player with the most wildlife.
What did we think about the game?
I mentioned above a few of my thoughts about Conservation Crisis including that it is both educational while being fun – two winners in this mum’s mind. Also this is a game that my kids are happy to return to. We have many different board games and after a couple of goes of some of them the appeal wears off, but this game has longevity.
Conservation Crisis is not too difficult to learn and yet has a level of complexity and unpredictability that makes it challenging to win. It requires a certain amount of planning and strategy to play well but younger players can grasp this and have regularly beaten me. In fact – I haven’t won yet!
In spite of all the resources that you have to collect – figuring out the winner is quick and easy – you simply have to see who has the highest amount of wildlife at the end of the game. This is a bonus in my mind – having to sit and count piles of stuff at the end of a game would be way too stressful and exhausting after battling poachers and saving endangered species!
I love that this game has been developed in consultation with conservation experts to inject an aspect of realism and insight into the challenges that are faced by the industry.
It is also brilliant that a portion of the sales of Conservation Crisis is donated to wild life charities.
Fia (aged 11) – “I really like it, it’s so fun. You make a plan and it all goes well and then something happens and it all goes wrong. It’s funny seeing people taking bribes and then seeing what happens to them”.
Rebecca (aged 13) gives it a big thumbs up too (she can’t speak today as she has a sore throat!)
Did you learn anything about conservation?
Fia – “Yes, I realised there is so many complicated things, you have to think about so much – like funding, and the people and all the problems that can happen.”
Contents of Conservation Crisis box:
The playing pieces of this game are all made from cardboard and wood.
- Rule booklet
- 1 Game Board
- 4 Wooden playing pieces
- 120 Black cardboard tokens
- 4 Animal playing boards including Elephant, Rhino, Gorilla and Tiger
- 10 Bribe cards
- 25 Event cards
- 15 Community and Staff Meeting cards
- 60x $5.000
- 60x $20.00
- 20x $50.00
Specs of the game:
- Suitable for players aged 7 and up but I would suggest that 7 is quite young to fully grasp the complexities.
- For 2-4 players (can also be played in teams).
- Game play on the box says 60 minutes but we have found with four players that it can last for up to 2 hours.
Where to buy your own copy of Conservation Crisis:
You can buy your own Conservation Crisis game here – remember your purchase helps support wildlife conservation!
(Please note this is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase I receive a tiny commission at no extra cost to you).
***Tunza Games have very kindly offered a copy of Conservation Crisis as a giveaway too! To enter the giveaway click HERE.***
Disclaimer: We were sent a free Conservation Crisis in exchange for a review, all opinions are my own.