Animal Upon Animal: More Animals
Animal Upon Animal is a fun, easy, and quick family game designed by Klaus Miltenberger and published by HABA Games. If you haven't heard of HABA, they make awesome, high quality board games and toys for kids of all ages, and Animal Upon Animal is no exception.

Animal Upon Animal plays in ~15 minutes with 2-4 players and comes with 29 beech wood animals and 1 die. The game is a fairly standard dexterity game where players are trying to stack all their animals in a central pile with the goal being to get rid of all the animals. To start the game, every player gets the same 7 animals (Sheep, Snake, Penguin, Hedgehog, Lizard, Toucan, and Monkey) and a central Crocodile is placed in the middle of the table. On a players turn, they role the die and take one of the following actions as indicated by the die:
  • Place one animal on top of the pile
  • Place two animals on top of the pile
  • Place one animal at the base of the pile, thereby growing the base
  • Give one animal to another player to place on top of the pile
  • Place an animal chosen by the other players on top of the pile
If a player knocks animals off of the pile, they must take two of the fallen animals into their pile and discard the rest. Whoever gets rid of their animal cache first is the victor.

AnimalUponAnimal OriginalStack OriginalAnimals
Like I said, easy, and probably not the central game of the night, but lots of fun for kids and adults alike. And there's plenty of room for mischievous decisions... Do you place the easy animal or do you precariously perch an animal so the next person is in danger? Do you place your hedgehog because everyone else before you placed theirs, or do you break the mold by placing the snake? Do you play fair or slightly bump the table when it's your significant other's turn? It's up to you, but regardless, I recommend that gamers with kids or gamers who sometimes act like kids pick up Animal Upon Animal.

Now, my favorite part of Animal Upon Animal is the solid, colorful animals, but I'm always slightly disappointed that are only 8 animal types. I also commonly want to play the game with more than 4 players. So, I took it upon myself to make a variety of different animals to add to my copy of Animal Upon Animal.
Animal Templates
I wanted a ton of different animal types so I googled around for ones that I liked and added them to a central document. The main criteria for my animals were that they had to be good from a profile, they had to be fun, and they had to have the potential to stack in crazy ways. I created a few of my own outlines but found most of them online. Click on an images below to download the full PDF (50 animals).

AnimalTemplate1 AnimalTemplate2
Choosing the Right Wood
The pieces in Animal Upon Animal are made from Beech wood and range in thickness from 0.40 in. - 0.55 in. One of the main reasons the animals are so great is their heft (Beech has a density of ~45 lb/ft3).

During my first attempt at making my own animals, I used a Pine board... too light (Pine has a density of ~28 lb/ft3).

Next, I used 1/2 in. Red Oak which had the right feel (Red Oak has a density of ~42 lb/ft3). The local hardware store makes Oak hobby boards that are 1/2 in. x 3.5 in. x 36 in. that are the perfect size. My templates above are organized for these boards.
Cutting the Pieces
I have a scroll saw that is made to make tight turns when cutting, which is just what these animals need. This scroll saw is one of my favorite tools because it is targeted to make small toys and puzzles.

I start by covering my boards in painters tape to minimize burrs left by the blade. Then I print and cut out the template and use spray adhesive to attach it to the board.

Next comes the fun part: cutting. When cutting, the key is to take it slow and stay as close to your template as you can. The best way to get better is to do it more. There are a ton of different blades that can be used; I am by no means an expert, but my favorite type of blade for this work is a No. 5 Reverse Tooth blade. The blades dull fairly quickly, so don't be afraid to change the blade often (I usually change every 10-15 animals).

After an animal is cut out, use some fine grain sandpaper to clean up any rough edges. Then sit back and admire your work.

Glueing Cutting
Painting the Pretties
For this step you have two choices: stain the animals for a classy look or paint the animals for a fun, colorful set. I couldn't decide so made a set of each.

When painting, I used colorful acrylic paints and skipped priming. Is this the right approach? I don't really know, but it worked out okay. After the paint dried, I drew on faces and details with a fine-tipped liquid paint marker. I think they turned out derpy, but my wife says that's what makes them cute; who knows? Regardless, make them your own with a bit of personality.

Making a Bag
I wanted to a nifty bag to store all my new pieces in, so I broke out my sewing machine. Unfortunately, I'm probably more handy with a needle than I am with a saw blade; we all have our own crosses to bear.

Using burlap fabric and a colorful liner, I whipped a bag together and then added a button to hold it closed. I embroidered the name of the game on the first bag I made, but I quickly realized that was too much work, so I switched to using a fabric paint pen, which is much faster.

Rule Variants
I added quite a few animals and made it so that each player has a completely different set of animals, so I change the rules slightly when playing.

Players choose a random selection of animals; all players should start with the same number of animals, but the exact number is up to you. More animals will create a longer game. If having different animals ruins the game or players are selecting their animals based on their desire to win, you are playing with the wrong people.

If you don't want each player to have their own pile, you can use the game bag as a draw bag. On a player's turn, they draw a random animal out of the draw bag and place it on the stack. If a player knocks animals off, they put the animals in a score pile. After all animals have been placed, the player with the fewest animals in their score pile is the winner.