8 Best Animal-Themed Board Games for Ultimate Fun

Discover the wild world of board games with our top 8 list of whimsical, strategic animal-themed favorites!
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Hey, fellow board game enthusiasts! When we crafted this top list featuring the 8 best Animal-themed board games, we wanted to capture not just the essence of fun that comes with board gaming but also the sheer diversity that resides within this charming theme. We difted through forests of cardboard, sky-scraped clouds of meeples, and dived deep into oceanic analog adventures. In searching, we prioritized games that balanced strategic depth with accessibility, ensuring that whether you’re a savvy fox or a new fish in the pond, you’ll have a wonderful time. Brace yourselves for a list that’ll make your animal spirits soar high on board gaming glee!

Games on this list:

8 Happy Salmon

Happy Salmon cover

  • Age Range: 6+
  • Players: 3-6
  • Play Time: 2 minutes

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Nothing beats the sheer laughter and physical fun that ‘Happy Salmon’ brings to the table. Remember that time we were all flapping our arms and trading high-fives? Yeah, this card game’s fast-paced, easy-to-learn actions that mimic animal behaviors create such a hilarious and active social experience. Perfect for breaking the ice and warming up for game night!

7 Dixit

Dixit cover

  • Age Range: 8+
  • Players: 3-6
  • Play Time: 30 minutes

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With its whimsical and surreal art featuring various creatures and fauna, ‘Dixit’ challenges us to interpret these elaborate illustrations that often depict animals in unusual ways. It’s a creative guessing game where our imaginations rein supreme, always reminding us of the stories we’d dream up in our minds about the creatures on the cards.

6 Hive

Hive cover

  • Age Range: 9+
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 20 minutes

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We often refer to ‘Hive’ as chess with bugs. The way each insect moves adds a layer of strategic depth that can’t be underestimated. It’s the competitive tension that we love, paired with those chunky, satisfyingly tactile tiles, representing different insects, each with unique movements. Embodying the smart and collective nature of insects has never felt so competitive.

5 Aquarium

Aquarium cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 2-6
  • Play Time: 45 minutes

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Buying and selling fish to create the most impressive personal aquarium, that’s ‘Aquarium.’ Each turn presented new tactical decisions that reminded us so much of those visits to fish stores—negotiating for the best prices and angling for those exclusive species. The game’s fluid market mechanics swim elegantly alongside its family-friendly charm.

4 Wingspan

Wingspan cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 1-5
  • Play Time: 40-70 minutes

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Do you remember how we always admire the birds outside during our coffee breaks? ‘Wingspan’ brings that serene beauty indoors. Featuring hundreds of unique bird species, its engaging engine-building mechanisms made us feel like avid bird watchers growing our own avian sanctuaries. Not only is this strategy game illustrious, but it’s also educational, pushing it up our favorites list.

3 Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 60 minutes

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The circle of life unfolds with trees in ‘Photosynthesis.’ Never has competitive forestry been so absorbing. We reveled in the thoughtful planting and growing of our trees, ever-reaching for the sunlight needed to thrive. It’s ecological competition at its most beautiful and cutthroat—an outstanding combination of strategy and theme exemplified in one soothing yet brainy package.

2 Evolution

Evolution cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 2-6
  • Play Time: 60 minutes

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Darwin would be proud of ‘Evolution.’ We found adaptability to be key as we evolved our own species of animals in response to the surrounding environment—and each other’s creatures. Selecting traits like ‘Long Neck’ or ‘Carnivore’ made for some intense evolutionary arms races. With its dynamic gameplay and eye-catching artwork, ‘Evolution’ forces us to think like Mother Nature.

1 Everdell

Everdell cover

  • Age Range: 13+
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 40-80 minutes

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Theming, art, richness of play—’Everdell’ has it all, making it the crown jewel of our animal-themed board game collection. Building a city of critters within an enchanting forest was an experience that is both deeply strategic and aesthetically heartwarming. It’s remarkable how the game blends worker placement and card management so seamlessly. It’s this unmatched enchantment paired with its intricate game design that earns ‘Everdell’ our top spot in The 8 best Animal-themed board games.

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.