The animals have escaped from the zoo, and it’s up to the zookeepers to get everyone back in their cages — but lots of things can happen while you’re chasing critters…
In Zooscape, originally released as Curio Collectors (はんか通骨董市), you must prove yourself the best zookeeper by rounding up animals worth the most points, but remember that all the animals need enough space in their cage to stay happy! Shove too many in one cage, and they’ll be worth almost nothing to you.
In each round, someone deals a line of twelve cards face up on the table; each card depicts an animal (a curio in the original version) along with a point value and a limit. The starting player splits the line in two by choosing a dividing point. Each player holds two cards showing the left or right group, and each player chooses, then simultaneously reveals which group of cards they want. If only one player chooses a side, they take all the cards in that group and add them to their personal tableau. If a side is chosen by more than one player, however, then one of the players who chose it splits that group into two smaller groups, then everyone who originally chose this group secretly votes again for which group they want. This process repeats with each group until either each player has taken some number of cards or groups have been reduced to single cards and two or more players are still voting to take them; in this case, those single cards are placed in a special pile. At the start of a round, the starting player adds a special card to the line-up and whoever wins this card collects all of the animals in this special pile.
Players complete three rounds this way, then score points. If a group of cards has exceeded the limit on it — say, by collecting four cards when the limit is three — then the owner of these cards scores only 1 point per card instead of the point value for each card. Some cards in the game allow you to remove cards from your collection, possibly allowing you to stay under the limit and score more points. You might also start trying not to win cards so as not to spoil the value of what you’ve already collected. (In Curio Collectors, you would effectively crash the market value for an item by trying to sell too many of them at one time.) Whoever has the most points wins!
Zooscape has also been published as Kimono, with players collecting Japan-related collectibles and cultural objects.