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This game has been published by dV Giochi as a reward for winning the 2015/2016 edition of the Gioco Inedito – Best Unpublished game contest. Powered by Lucca comics & Games and dV Giochi, the contest aims to identify the best new card game design from all prototypes received and to reward it by publishing the game in a fully professional and high-quality format, overseen directly by dV Giochi. All prototypes submitted must conform to the technical and style requirements, fixed components and a given theme which changes every year. Everybody can join the contest and this is a great opportunity for emerging game designers to see their idea published.
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dvGiochi put a lot of time and effort into producing previously unpublished games and giving new designers a chance to bring their ideas to the masses and their solid production qualities shine through in this simple card game designed for families with children aged between 7 and 10. The mechanic is supposed to bring an element of bluff to the game play but instead it opens the game up to completely random play.

Each player is given a small deck of colour coded cards, each set having the same numbers, 1 through 5, and for the Crime theme of ZOO POLICE these player decks are regarded as the suspects. The Crimes for which they are suspected are illustrated on the Crime deck cards and valued for VPs by a number of small brown based Spy Glasses (Magnifying Glasses).The Crime deck is shuffled and the top four cards are laid out end to end in a column, then one at a time the players lay out their "suspects" face down, one only per column, each player creating their own column alongside the Crime column. Once all players have laid four of their five cards they take turns, again one at a time, to try to guess the numbers on the other player's cards.

So Player One points (or taps) to one of the other player's cards and guesses a number, 1 to 5. That card is turned over and if Player One guessed correctly they score One Point (there are mini cards valued 1 and 3) and the chosen card is returned to its owner. If the guess was incorrect then the card remains in the column but now it's face up. Then the next player has a guess and so on until all cards are face up. Once they are each Crime is "solved" separately, the player whose card has the highest value winning and taking the associate Crime card.If two or more cards have the same value then the next highest card wins as same numbers cancel each other out.

If a Crime is solved the Zoo Police person who solved it wins the card. If a Crime are not solved (everyone played the same number) then the Crime stays where it is so that when the next series of Crime cards are flipped over to form a new column there will be two (or possibly more) Crime cards to win next round.

At the end of the game each player can only hold onto 3 types of Crime cards, player's choice which they keep, and then they score points according to the small Spy Glasses and possibly gaining bonuses for having Crimes with the same colour symbol as their player colour.


There is an optional variant that introduces the five (marked 1 to 5) "Innocent" cards - each player being randomly dealt one of these, which they keep secret to themselves, at least at the beginning. Then when they make a correct guess that is the same number as their Innocent Animal the Innocent card is added to their score pile. If you use the optional Infiltrator rule players who do not collect any Crime cards but have scored points from identifying other player's cards correctly they score only those points but with a multiplier of four.

For young players this is a fun game of guessing, no skill is required. For adults it's fun to play with kids but in truth there isn't enough to hold a player's interest. In fact after the first few games we were all playing the same way, shuffling our personal decks and laying them out randomly. By doing this we found that the ratio of correct guessing was still about the same as when we diligently selected which numbers to place and where. This may be ZOO POLICE and there are suspects and crimes but there are no clues so it really is just a game of luck. Kids aged 7-10 enjoy it when playing with adults but it's not really a game for adults to play without kids due to its lack of substance, strategy, player interaction or tactics.

Games Gazette Online applauds dvGiochi for bringing new game designers to the market. ZOO POLICE plays in 15-20 minutes, is for 3-4 players and is designed by Lorenzo Tarabini Castellani with resplendent art from Andrea Guerrieri. 


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015