Posts Tagged ‘sheep’

I think it’s a cow in disguise

August 16, 2015 Comments off

We have a few games that feature sheep now, though none yet have really caught Miss B’s imagination. Here’s another one, though: Te Kuiti is brand new and shiny, comes in a smallish box, and was sent to us by one of the designers, who thought we might like to take a look at it. Miss B was at first a little sceptical, but gave it a go anyway.

Looking for another fat sheep...

Looking for another fat sheep…

The game is a straight two-player game (though there are rules for a solitaire variant), but is interesting in that it involves the two players playing in completely different ways. The game is set up with a set of twenty-five tiles arranged face-down in a five-by-five square. One of the players, taking the part of the sheep, plays the classic game of “memory”, turning over two tiles at a time, and if both depict the same sheep, that pair is claimed into a scoring pile. What makes it interesting is that the other player is the shepherd, and lays wooden “fence” sections between the tiles and, if one or more tiles become completely surrounded by fences, the sheep player may no longer turn them over, and instead they score points for the shepherd. There are a few special tiles that allow for extra adding and removal of fences, and that’s it. The idea is that you play two rounds, so each player plays each role once, and then add scores up across the two rounds to find a winner.

On a personal level, I love the concept of this game: mashing together a couple of ancient games that most “gamers” would find dull (memory and boxes) and making something new from them. I’m also pleased to report that we both enjoyed the game rather more than we expected. After completing our first play, Miss B’s initial reaction was, “That was fun, can we play again?” I think it helped that she wiped the floor with me first time, but apart from that the game plays smoothly, and both players can see clearly what they are trying to do. The “ram” and “shepherd” tiles, which allow removing and adding extra fences respectively, are just enough chaos to mix things up and give you something to hope for if things are going badly for you.

So, we have another winner here. And if we take the game out of its box, the tiles and fences will fit into a small bag, so I think it will make it into this summer’s Compact Travelling Games Cupboard of Doom and maybe get some extra plays while we are on the move.

Incidentally, in case you are as uninformed as I was, Te Kuiti is a place in New Zealand, where they have a lot of sheep.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 8½): “It’s obviously a thumbs up from me because we’ve played it more times since it came than we often play games that we’ve had a longer time. I’d recommend it to people who like memory games.”

The game: Te Kuiti (Ludically), 1 to 2 players aged 6+.


Why can’t they jump over the fences?

April 11, 2013 Comments off

I only heard about Sheepland a couple of weeks or so ago. It looked cute, so I checked out some reviews and had a look at the rulebook. Simple rules, what looked like the need for a bit of thinking, plus (and this was the clincher) sheeples! (Sheep meeples, right?) So I had an opportunity to pick up a copy at TringCon over the weekend and did so.

The black sheep ambles its random way down from the mountains.

The black sheep ambles its random way down from the mountains.

Basically the game starts with a bunch of sheep distributed evenly around a map and you move shepherds around to build fences and manoeuvre sheep into fields of a terrain type that you favour, until you score points by counting up the terrain tiles that you have collected during play (and the one you had to start with) and the sheep in the different terrains to get your final score.  Oh, and one of the sheep, the wilful black sheep, wanders randomly around the board.

We set up the game and off we went.  Miss B had a little difficulty with the rule that in a two-player game you have two shepherds each but you are only allowed to use one of them on each turn.  Maybe we shouldn’t have bothered with that restriction, but lately we have been almost always been playing with “proper” rules unless they massively complicate things.  We got about two thirds of the way through when Miss B announced that she was fed up and didn’t want to carry on.

So we called off the game and had a chat about this.  What Miss B told me was essentially that she had problems with the theme: if you were a shepherd, surely you would go into the fields to round up the sheep and not just walk up and down on the roads. She has a point here, though in other games we have played similar thematic issues have not proven to be a problem. I suspect this may have been her trying to express a general dissatisfaction with the game and reaching for the first explanation that made sense to her. Either way, though, this is the most surprising failure we have had yet.

For what it’s worth, though, I quite like Sheepland. I’m planning to take it into work as it could be a good little lunchtime game.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 6¼): “I don’t like it because it didn’t make sense as much as other games that I’ve played because the shepherds can’t go into the fields and the sheep can’t go onto the roads and usually the shepherds go into the fields as well as the sheep.”

The game: Sheepland (Cranio Creations), 2 to 4 players, aged 8+.

This one is the baby and he’s called Timmy

June 21, 2011 Comments off

On Fathers’ Day Miss B proudly presented me with a copy of the Lego Shave a Sheep game. Later that day, we opened it up and spend a happy few minutes assembling the pieces, which include a mean but goofy looking wolf and four sheep. Oh, and it has the special Lego die that you stick different colour tiles onto to affect how the game plays. B has a bit of difficulty with some of the fiddlier bits of construction, but was very pleased with the results.

Now, it must be said that this is a game with less than glowing reviews out there (follow the link above and you’ll see some — although alongside that there are positive comments) but this gave us a lot of fun.  Play can drag on a bit when someone decides that the best approach is to use the wolf at every opportunity (though this policy didn’t last for ever, thankfully), but making the appropriate noises for the wolf and sheep adds to the fun, the whole thing is cute, the game mechanics are clean and simple, and some decision making is required.  All in all, I’d say that Shave a Sheep is absolutely spot on for Miss B right now, and not odious for Mummy and I to play, so win all round really.

The rules also suggest ways to vary the rules, from modifying the die (I do really like the die!) to adding a more significant role for the wolf (who, in the standard rules, just sits there as fun but purely decorative fluff).  A few other variations also come to mind, so I’m sure we will be experimenting in future.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 4½): “It was good that there was two winners, I didn’t expect that. I liked building the sheep and shearing the sheep.”

The Game: Shave a Sheep (Lego), 2 to 4 players aged 5+.

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