Review: Tier auf Tier – get on your back


Animals are special creatures. When people look at them, they seem to be the biggest enemies of each other. Dogs chase cats, crocodiles eat everything that goes around them and sheep flee from everybody. In fact, this is not real, but just a show. They all joined together. They do not fight, but they are definitely friends.

If you hide well in the bushes, you can see friends of different animal species, sizes and colors as they climb on each other to create a pyramid. Why? Just for fun. And for the same reason we will do it in the Tier auf Tier board game, which has a long history. But this year it celebrated 12 years since its first release in 2005. It has remained still under ’s headquarters, although it has found a number of imitators throughout the years. But the original is only one and its author is Klaus Miltenberger. Michael Bayer took care of the illustration in this classic game.

The box has a bright yellow color and we can see lots of animals having fun on its lid. Inside, all pyramid builders are expecting wooden figures and they receive them. A total of 29 animals that have printed black body parts creating their silhouette and give them a personality. Along with these figures, there is only a red wooden dice and rulebook in different languages in the box.


In the beginning, kids will spread all the characters on the table and find a crocodile among them. He has a difficult role, because he will always be basis of the pyramid due to its large dimensions. The players put him in the center of the table. All the participants get their part of animal group. There are seven different animal species in the box and each opponent will have one copy of each.

Before player starts a game, there is funny rivalry about starting position of the player. They all get out of their chairs or try standing on one leg. The one who can balance for longest time, becomes starting player. Once the player has reached his turn, he rolls dice and has to act according to result.

The most striking result is the dots. Whether one or two points, the whole turn is always about placing the pieces on the existing pyramid. Players will place one or two animals (depending on the number of dots on dice) anywhere on crocodile or higher. A rustling hand again means adding creatures. This time, however, player will not be fully responsible for it. Instead, he selects one of his characters, gives it to selected opponent and he has to place it immediately according to piling rules.


If image of a crocodile is rolled on a dice, player does not build a pyramid, but he will provide help to the creature holding the whole pyramid. He will attach any animal from his reserve next to crocodile’s head or tail, thereby expanding base for further building – for all the participants in the game.

On the contrary, the player will not be pleased, if dice roll stops on the question mark symbol. This is because he will not be the one, who will choose next pet to – all his opponents must agree on an animal he has to add to the building.

If, in any such effort, some of the pieces fall off, then two of them (maximum) go to the guilty player in his reserve and in the future, he will have to put them again up in addition to animals he already has. The remainder of fallen animals is put in the game box. The game does not end with a pyramid fall. Instead, it is always over, when one of the participants gets rid of all his wooden figures.


Tier auf Tier is a beautifully looking wooden skill game, that was in the front line of all these fun action stacking games. We do not want to say, that it was first, because its probably not true. People have built things on top of each other much further in the past. But it must have been one of the pioneers who gave some phason to all this.

The rules in this game are great. First of all, you should be delighted, that there will be no elimination during the gameplay. If anyone causes a pyramid of animals to fall, he will be punished only by taking a maximum of two new figures to himself as a punishment. However, this is a sufficient penalty, because he will need at least one more turn to stack them away and two animals are difficult to get rid of again.

Contents of the box can be used in other ways. Loners can test themselves in trial of how many animals they can place on top of another without the whole thing falling down. They can even measure their creations, always looking for new uses and placement of characters to get even higher.


The player’s turn is often result of luck. But he practically always gets rid of some characters, it only depends on whether he can choose which one or not. The coincidence, then, does not have such a crucial word as it may seem. It just adds an interesting smack and unpredictability for every turn. But if the player is a handy man, then he’ll fight it. Perhaps the only time a dice could affect the player as such is if he rolls two dots in a difficult situation on the table (whole pyramid can fall down). Usually, however, this is perceived positively as the player gets rid of two characters at once.

It does not matter at all how many rivals will participate. It’s great in two, three or four players, because it’s always just about building in the center. The matches themselves are pleasantly fast and the winner is known within ten or fifteen minutes regardless of the number of participants.

We have also prepared some words about processing. Wooden animals are all similar, but there are also black lines and dots that give them a final look. And children just want to play again and again due to look of this game.

Tier auf Tier proves that building a pyramid is a great theme. It’s really easy this time, but it does not matter at all, because it is in this simplicity, that it approaches the smallest players. They can even build from four years age. That’s why Tier auf Tier is a great kid’s game.


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