Updated: Jun 2, 2022
We received Battle Sheep from Timberdoodle Co in exchange for our honest review. We are under no obligation to write a positive review. I will never promote or recommend a product that I don't find useful or beneficial to fellow parents or homeschoolers. This item is part of Timberdoodles 3rd grade curriculum kit.
Battle Sheep is a two to four player strategy game that changes every time you play. It's a quick game which can be played out in as little as 10-15 minutes. It make take longer with smaller children or until you get a better understanding of the game. It is recommended for ages 7-adult. It was designed by Francesco Rotta. In Battle Sheep players start by constructing a “pasture” or playing field by laying down tiles, each made up of 4 hexes. When the pasture is finished, players place their sheep in a single stack of 16 tokens, then compete to own the most sections of the gaming area by moving a portion of the stack (their sheep) from space to space. The winner of the game is the player who has the most occupied spaces.
Each plater gets 4 pasture tiles. Two players you use eight total tiles, three players you use twelve total tiles, and four players you use all sixteen tiles. When setting up the tiles each player takes a turn placing one of their tiles at a time until all the tiles are laid out. Each new tile must touch a preexisting tile on at least one side. It is nice because this way every game is a new experience. Once the board is set up players take all sixteen of their sheep in a single stack and place them on the edge of the playing field.
Playing The Game
Play starts with the youngest player and then moves clockwise. A turn consists of a player selecting one of their stacks of sheep and moving between 1 and all but one of those sheep in that stack. You always have to leave one to occupy that space. To move, you take the selected number of sheep and move them in a straight line, until you can go no further. You either reach the edge or another sheep or stack. You must always move as far as you can in a straight line and, you can't cross over or jump over yours or another players sheep.
The Things I Liked
The components are super high quality, from the dense, heavy plastic discs (seriously, these things are awesome), from the hilariously marvelous illustrations of sheep belching, or showing their posteriors, or winking. Each tile is identically shaped, but comprised of differently illustrated hexes, and constructed of thick, sturdy cardboard. The insert holds all of the pieces together quite well, without much shifting. It is also a very unique game. I've never played anything like it before. I also appreciated the fact that each round is a new experience. With no one set playing field your strategy is constantly being tested.
The Things I Didn't Like
The only negative things I can say about this game is first, that the tiles don’t lock together. The tokens are high density plastic which means they’re very smooth, heavy and have rounded bottoms. This means when you’re trying to move, or pick up, a stack of them, there’s always the chance they’ll fall over. If only the designers would have created a way for the pieces to lock together. A thin ridge around the top, and a recess on the bottom could possibly solve the issue of the pieces sliding apart. Secondly the instructions were a little less than to be desired. The instructions were not very descriptive and kind of hard to understand. I actually looked it up on YouTube on how exactly to play. Once we understood better how it worked it was easy to play. Overall those are minor quibbles and shouldn’t prevent you from trying out this game.
Final Thoughts on Battle Sheep
Battle Sheep is an interesting and unique game. It’s a short, strategic game, with a very funny theme kids will love. Sheep are usually peaceful, beautiful, calm creatures whose sole goal is to eat as much grass as possible. Not the sheep in THIS game. They’re ruthless, mean and will block you in as soon as they possibly can, making sure they keep the tastiest grass for themselves.
You can ignore, or embrace, the humorous theme of this game and proceed straight to the excellent gameplay. Laugh over the cries of your opponent when you block in an entire stack of their sheep. Revel in the amusing illustrations of sheep as you dominate the pasture. Whatever it takes for you to buy this game.
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