Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life: A new family favorite!

If you follow The Game Aisle’s Instagram page, I’m sure you’ve seen several stories that include Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life, because we’ve played it so much in the past few weeks.  Yes, we are stuck at home like many of you are, but Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life has gotten almost daily play and we’re not sick of it!

seikatsu gameSeikatsu: A Pet’s Life was released by IDW Games previously as just Seikatsu. Instead of being about adorably drawn pets, it was about birds and flowers.  And while it is lovely, I think the pet version is 1000x better. Why? The theme is a bit more family friendly.  And given that the game doesn’t require any reading, just placement of tiles with cute characters and kid-friendly color, this new look made super easy to get my child interested in learning it!

How To Play

There are rules to play with 1-4 players, but I think Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life plays best with 2-3 players.  The game board has three distinct color sides to it, which is where you should position players. The game play is easy, you draw 2 tiles (super beefy and nice ones) at the start of the game.  On your turn you’ll play one of those two tiles and score.  You’ll get one point for each similar animal in the group you placed your animal in. Then you draw a new tile from the bag and it’s the next player’s turn.  Unicorns are wild, so if you play a unicorn next to a large group of turtles, you’ll score 1 point for your unicorn and 1 point for each turtle in the group. On subsequent turns unicorns don’t score as the part of any group. The score is kept on a track on the perimeter of the board, much like in the game Ticket to Ride.

A Pet's Life game box showing lots of animals huddled together

End Scoring

Once all of the tiles are laid, it’s time for the end scoring portion of the game.  Remember how I mentioned that players should be positioned on their color side of the board?  It comes into play now.  Players are going to score based on how many of the same COLOR tiles have been placed in the rows that align toward them. Because of seating, the rows are different for each player. You’ll look at your the rows one at a time, looking for how many you have of any one color — and at this point unicorns count as wilds again!  If you have no matching colors, it’s 1 point.  2 matching colors it’s 3 points, 3 matching colors = 6pts, 4 matching colors = 10 pts, 5 matching colors= 15 pts, and 6 matching colors is 21 pts. Now not all rows even have 6 tiles in them, your outermost rows will only have 4, whereas the center rows will have 6 tiles.  At the end of this scoring phase, the game is done and the player with the most points is the winner!

Pets Life Board form the top with scoring track around the outside and lots of circular animal tokens lined up in the middle

Why I LOVE This Game

The decision time is so quick in Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life! You only have 2 tiles to choose from, so sometimes the best move is obvious.  But you always want to keep in mind that end scoring phase when you’re playing your puppy next to all of the other cute puppies.  It’s wise to place it in a row of yours that already has a bunch of similar colors — but since everyone else is looking at the board from their perspective it’s not easy to get large rows of colors.  There’s a bit of “oh wait.. I don’t want to put another pink in their column” thinking as well as, how can I maximize my points now AND later.  Again, it sounds like it’s complex, but when you have only two tiles, there’s no analysis paralysis!  The scoring during the game is fast, and while it takes a minute at the end, there’s a bit anticipation to see who is going to win!

Whoever suggested re-theming Seikatsu to Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life!, THANK YOU!  The cute artwork and friendly colors definitely make this more family-friendly.  Although, the game still says it’s for players 10+ but my 5 year old got this the first time we played.  She instantly understood how to place her kitty token near other kitties, and it took a game or two of us helping her to see which rows would bring her the best score at the end of the game.  I would recommend placing the youngest player on the red side as it’s easiest to see, but whether you’re playing with a 5 year old, an 8 year old, or an adult or two, I highly recommend this adorable version of Seikatsu.

Seikatsu: A Pet’s Life Stats:

~$30 at Amazon (this may be hard to find but worth it)
1-4 players (2-3 is best)
~20-30 minutes (depending on how quick players play and score)
Ages 10 and up (I say 5-6+)