I split, you choose (wisely or unwisely) in Animals in Espionage

July 15, 2022 - 2:29pm

Animals in Espionage: Natural Selection had a successful Kickstarter campaign that ran and fulfilled in 2021. The two-player, "I cut you choose" game is now available directly from publisher Twin City games, and will be making the rounds at conventions. 

Animals in Espionage sees each player control a dueling spy agency trying to recruit animal agents. Each round, one player will use four cards from a hand of five to form two piles. The opposing player will add the fifth card to one pile, and then select one pile to add to their agency, sending the other pile to the agency of the player who performed the split. Each card depicts one of six animal types and has a variable number of icons for that animal, determining the card's value. At the start of the game, each player is secretly assigned one animal type they are trying to recruit to their agency (Identity animal), and one animal type they are trying to send to their opponent's agency (Spy animal). One of the remaining two animal types is publicly revealed as the double agent, which both players try to recruit. The last animal type does not score for either player. After six rounds (each player performing three splits and three chooses), the players will wager 1, 2, or 3 points they can guess their opponent's Identity animal. Players will then score for the animal icons of their Identity animal and the double they recruited to their agency, as well as the animal icons of their Spy animal that end with their opponent. 

The game also has two modular expansions in the form of additional animal types that can be incorporated into the game. First, mole cards act as a reverse double agent, so both players score for the mole icons that end up in their opponent's agency. Second, walrus cards feature a walrus icon and one icon of the six base game animals. When playing with the walrus variant, the double agent starts out as hidden information. Whenever a player collects three walrus icons in their agency, they get to peek at the double agent card. 

Animals in Espionage is designed by Joe Hout, who has designed many print-and-play roll-and-write games. It features art by Mariana Moreno.,who also illustrated Dino Dunk, the previous game published by Twin City Games.