Crazy Circus


2 Chits, 4 Giggles

Roll up, roll up! The circus has come to town. Wax your moustache (or stick one on), don your top hat and get ready to entertain beneath the big top.

In Crazy Circus you are playing against your opponents to be the best circus animal trainer. The game mechanics are simple. Three animals; a lion, a polar bear and an elephant, are placed randomly onto the two podiums. A card is drawn from the trick stack and the players must work out and then shout the commands to get the animals from their current positions to match the positions on the trick card.

There are only five commands:

  • Ma: bottom left animal moves to top left position
  • Lo: top left moves to top right
  • So: top left and top right swap
  • Ki: top right moves to top left
  • Ni: bottom right moves to top right.

It is that simple. When a player thinks they have the correct sequence of commands they shout it out. The commands are checked and the player gains the card/point if correct. If they are wrong the animals are returned to their original positions and that player can not shout any more commands this round.

There is a lot of chaotic hilarity as players shout these insane sounds across the table and on more than one occasion the knights who say "Ni" have made an appearance. It is simple and fun. This is a very accessible game for the family and I would highly recommend it for family game nights.

On the box 'Crazy Circus' claims to be for one to infinite players. This is a bold claim and one we tested when we had infinite friends over...

Anything above 5 and this game gets unmanageable. The noise of people shouting these strange sounds puts the crazy in 'Crazy Circus'. It all goes 'Clown Town' as we have named this chaos. It's just too much insanity and players soon lose interest.

We love playing this game though and so have tried out a few different ways to play with larger gaming groups. Here are a few ideas-

Timed Play
Use a 30 or 60 second timer. Everyone writes their commands and submits them when the time runs out. Those who have given the correct commands gain a point. 

Individual Timed Play
Play goes around the circle, players are given 30 seconds to shout commands (Other players may try to distract them by shouting random commands or making animal noises.) RAWR!

Circus Duel
Two players are picked to go head to head. First one to shout the commands correctly wins. Get it wrong and the opponent wins.

The concept of 'Crazy Circus' is brilliant. You do get better at it the more you play. You soon learn the command sounds and so no longer need to translate your thoughts into 'Crazy Circus' language. This gives you a big advantage over newer players. Some people are just better than others at these sorts of games. It can be quite frustrating for some players. That said, children are very good at this game. Some of the children I teach are much better at this game than I am which only goes to back up the idea that this is a great family game.

The game benefits from a few tweaks to suit your groups play style. Try out some of the ideas in this review or let us know some of the rules you have come up with. 

No animals were harmed in the writing of this review.

Review by David Murcutt