Creepiest Pet Shop Game Review


The Basics:

  • For ages 6 and up
  • For 2 to 5 players
  • Approximately 15 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Hand/Resource Management
  • Reflex & Speed

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Adopt a pet that will lick your face and then chew it off


  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!


Owning a pet is a big responsibility unless that pet is a Hermit Crab. In which case, there isn’t much to do with it. But for most pets, the owner must take on the responsibilities of care and feeding. Depending on the pet, that’s a big or little job. The same applies to monsters who want to adopt their own pet to love. Yes, even monsters want a puppy with four heads to call their own. Maybe you can help them find their perfect adorable companion.

Creepiest Pet Shop, designed by Levi Bushue and self-published via the Game Crafter, is comprised of 49 Pet cards and 88 Monster cards. The cards are as thick and as durable as your standard playing card. The artwork is simply outstanding. Highly stylized and colorful, it playfully captures horrific monsters and displays them on the cards in a way that is both recognizable to horror movie fans and family friendly. Artists Harris Fagotto and Matthieu Cousin did an excellent job.

How Much Is that Mutant Puppy In the Window…?

Note: Remember when pet stores were in malls and you could buy a puppy after or before buying a pair of jeans? Yeah, that was weird…

To set up the game, first separate the cards by type to create a Monster and a Pet deck. Shuffle both decks separately.

Second, deal 5 Monster cards to each player, face-down. Set the Monster deck to the side.

Third, give the Pet deck to a random player.

That’s it for game set up. Time to adopt a pet that can be best described as an affront to God.

The One With the Scorpion Tail

Creepiest Pet Shop is played in rounds with each round consisting of several steps. A single round of game play is summarized here.

Step 1: Resolve Effects

Any player who has an effect Monster card may play it now and have it resolved. Playing the effect Monster card at this time is optional, but this is the only time during the round it can be used.


Most effect Monster cards will require the target of the effect to resolve it immediately. Some effect Monster cards have effects that “linger”, maintaining the effect indefinitely until the effect Monster card is discarded. Worse yet, the effects of lingering effect Monster cards stack, meaning a player could be unfortunate enough to be the target of several effects that stay with them round after round until they are removed.

To remove an effect, the player must discard a “Terrifying Monster” Monster card (any Monster card with 2 or more symbols on it).

Step 2: Discard and Draw

Starting with the last player to adopt a pet, players now select up to 3 Monster cards in their hand to place in the discard pile. Then they can draw Monster cards from the Monster card draw deck up to their current hand size limit (5 by default, but effects will change it).

Step 3: Adopt!

The top 2 Pet cards are now drawn and revealed from the Pet deck.


As soon as the 2nd Pet card is placed on the table, all the players (except the one who is currently holding the Pet deck), can play 1 Monster card that has a symbol that matches a symbol on the revealed Pet cards. These cards must be played next to the Pet card and face-up. Each Monster card can only be used to adopt exactly 1 Pet card, but players can play more than 1 Monster card on a single Pet card as long as the symbols match. This is necessary when a Pet card has more than 1 symbol. A Monster card with more than 1 Symbol provides both.


Some Monster cards are considered “wild”. These can be played to any Pet card and their “wild” symbol will match exactly 1 Pet symbol of the player’s choice.

The first player to match the Pet symbols to all the Monster card symbols has successfully adopted the Pet card. The Pet card is taken and placed in front of the player, face-up. Monster cards used for a successful adoption are discarded. All other Monster cards are returned to their owners.

If a Monster card is played to a Pet card and the symbols do not match or a rule is broken, the player is penalized. They cannot adopt a pet for the round and must discard 1 previously adopted Pet card. Of course, they must first be caught cheating or breaking rules to be penalized.

This completes a round of game play. The Pet deck is passed to the next player in turn order sequence and a new round begins.

Care and Feeding of Cute Nightmares

The game ends when a new round begins and there are no Pet cards to capture. Players now count how many total symbols they have on their Pet cards. Not the total number of Pet cards adopted. The player with the most symbols wins the game.

To learn more about Creepiest Pet Shop, visit the game’s web page on the Game Crafter.

Final Word

finalword_childgeekThe Child Geeks liked the card artwork as much as the fast and furious fun the game provided. According to one Child Geek, “You have to be fast and really watch the cards. The symbols are small so you need to look for matching colors, too.” As the game is little more than quickly matching symbols and colors, even the young Child Geeks were able to play and be just as competitive as their older siblings. According to one young Child Geek, “It’s a lot of fun beating your older brother.” You bet it is! But underneath the horseplay and jabs at each other, the Child Geeks played a serious game of speed and accuracy. Their card plays were exact and the pain of not collecting a pet was visible on their faces. When the games were over, the Child Geeks all voted to approve Creepiest Pet Shop.

finalword_parentgeekThe Parent Geeks enjoyed the game as a family and even with their peers, but it was the non-gamer Parent Geeks who loved the game the most. According to one such Parent Geek, “This is an easy game to learn and a really fun game to play. It has bursts of quick game play and then a cooling off period that lets everyone adjust their seating and get focused for another round.” Another Parent Geek said, “The game works really well with the family and is fun to play with a mixed group of adults and kids, too. It also works with just adults, but it’s pretty light.” The Parent Geeks were also big fans of the artwork and chuckled when they recognized the characters from horror movies illustrated as adorable pets and non-frightening monsters. Without hesitation, the Parent Geeks approved Creepiest Pet Shop.

finalword_gamergeekThe Gamer Geeks loved the artwork but not the game. According to one Gamer Geek, “It’s not much of a game to be honest. You play cards as fast as you can that match symbols. The whole game boils down to who is the fastest with the best eye sight. That’s really nothing to get excited about.” Another Gamer Geek said, “I like real-time games, but this one didn’t work for me. Full marks for the artwork, but the game play left me wanting.” Clearly not a game for the elitists, but they all agreed that the game would be a good one for families, kids, and non-gamers. At least until the got bored with the game. The Gamer Geeks all voted to reject Creepiest Pet Shop.

finalword-fathergeekLike the Gamer Geeks, I didn’t find the game to be all that interesting. It’s the same thing over and over again. And also like the Gamer Geeks (and everyone else), I fell in love with the game’s artwork. Simply outstanding, but visual interest doesn’t translate into an entertaining game. That is until you play it with kids. When you put Creepiest Pet Shop in front of a bunch of Child Geeks, the energy level in the room rises by at least 300 points. The Child Geeks loved the game so much and had such a good time playing it that their enthusiasm became addictive and even Gamer Geeks found themselves laughing while playing the game. That’s why I think Creepiest Pet Shop is best played by the family. It’s a great game that allows different skills and ages to mix and come together at the gaming table. With simple rules and repetitive game play – something that usually doesn’t work very well – the game is straight forward and fun.

If you like fast card games where real-time actions make real-time big plays, then do look into Creepiest Pet Shop. While it won’t tug at the heart-strings of gaming elitists, it’s sure to please the child in you and the children you are lucky enough to play the game with.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.


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About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner. Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....

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