A downloadable game

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1-4 Players

About this Game

Shadow Animals is both a board game and a personal narrative that explores love and loss through the perspective of queer (gay and bisexual) men in the aftermath of the HIV & AIDS crisis.  The game is played across two boards, one that leads the player towards “Love”, the other towards “Death”.

How to make Shadow Animals

  1. Download this PDF pack and print the following pages, ideally at size A3, either at home or at your local print shop.
  2. Print the player pieces, boards and cards on heavy printable card in full colour.
  3. Cut out the player pieces, the two boards and the Change Cards.
  4. Shuffle the deck of Change Cards and place 8 on each board.
  5.  Play the game. 

How to Play

The aim is for each main player to successfully find love and avoid death. Players can compete with both each other and individually playing against their own “Shadow Animal”.  Each player controls both their main player piece and their shadow player piece (the Shadow Animal). Each main player piece starts on the Love board, the Shadow Animal starts on the Death board. The Shadow Animal always plays on the opposing board to the main player. 

When players are asked to switch boards each player piece switches to the opposing board, moving to the same number space on the opposing board, ie if you are on number 12 on the Love board you will switch to number 12 on the Death board and vice versa. You do not switch to the same space as your other player piece.

Players play in order of age, with the oldest player going first. This is because older players will have been disproportionately effected by the AIDS crisis compared to their younger peers.

Each player starts their turn by tossing the silver coin. If it lands on heads you roll the die and move the main player piece. If the silver coin lands on tails, you roll the die and move the shadow player piece.

Players may have to flip a copper coin if they land on a Portal or a Change Card space. This may lead to the player having to change between boards.

If the Shadow Animal reaches love or death ahead of the main player, the main player piece is stuck on their board and can no longer switch, their fate is already set.


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Shadow Animals by Rob Elford.pdf 25 MB