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Subject: Sheep Shaving Fun - But Minus The Fun rss

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Graham Charlton
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Summary

Shave A Sheep is one of the latest in the range of Lego games. As with all Lego games the box contains the pieces needed to build the game components, along with the rules to play the game.

In Shave A Sheep you are attempting to grow wool on your sheep and then sheer it before the wolf can steal away all the wool. Most wool at the end wins.

It is, without a doubt, one of the worst games I have ever played. I have played a few of the other Lego games and, whilst clearly aimed at children, they have at least been fun. This is barely a game, and certainly not fun. The Lego wolf looks cool though.

How to Play

At the start of the game each player takes a Lego sheep. The sheep will be initially bald, leaving 5 spaces for the wool cubes to be attached. The wool cubs in question are placed in the middle of the table, as is the wolf.

On your turn you roll the dice and act according to the colour rolled. If you roll a face that has two different colours on it then you get to do either action. The actions are:

Add wool to your sheep. As you might expect, simply take a wool cube and attach it to your sheep. A sheep cannot have more than 5 pieces of wool attached. There is also a x2 face on the dice that lets you add two pieces of wool.

Shave your sheep. Remove all the wool from your sheep and place it in your score pile. This wool is now safe.

Swap sheep. Exchange your sheep with the sheep belonging to another player.

Move the wolf. Take the wolf figure from the middle of the table and place it in-front of another player. That player removes all the wool from their sheep and puts it back into the middle of the table. The wolf then returns to the middle of the table.

And that’s it. Keep rolling and passing the dice until all the wool has gone from the middle of the table. Players get one last shave of their sheep. Most wool wins.

What I Thought

Well the components are nice. The Lego sheep and wolf are very nicely done, and the basic white Lego blocks used for the wool make a fully wooled-up sheep look rather good. The dice is the same as the other dice in the Lego range, with rubber edges. This means when you roll it you never quite know where it is going to end up. I must get one of these with 1-6 on it somehow for D&D.

However, as you may have noticed, the wolf piece is entirely pointless. It is just a complex way of pointing at a player when you roll the “take that” face. It doesn't stay in-front of a player, it always returns to the middle of the table. Why does it exist?

But most damning of all, the game just isn’t fun and it goes on forever. The wolf moves far too often for anyone to ever get more than a couple of wool on their sheep before it gets eaten. The faces of the dice that have multiple colours on don't really offer a choice, it is always obvious what move to take. Add a wool or swap a sheep? Well I'll swap a sheep if there's one with more wool on, otherwise I add a wool.

I suppose the question here is what I should have been expecting from a Lego game. After all, they are games for children rather than experienced ‘serious’ game players. However in my opinion a game doesn’t have to be at all complex to be fun. I would expect one of these games to teach children the basics of game playing in a fun setting. What I was expecting from the game was a simple “push your luck” game – perhaps similar to Heckmeck (a favourite of mine).

But as the rules say, you should change the rules of the game if you don’t like them. Perhaps I’ll go away and do just that. For now all I can do is recommend you avoid this unless you want the cool Lego sheep and instead try the far superior Monster 4.
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Boyd Ludlow
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The bits are so cute. What a shame that the game play is not up to much.
 
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Andreas
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I know I am the resident Lego hater on this website. But allow me the omment that in ALL Lego games the components are cool. But the gameplay is, even for a childrens game, much too dependent on luck, much too simple. There are tons of recommended good childrens games. From other publishers.
 
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Greg Ullrich
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I have to say though, for the 4-5 year old set, this game looks fantastic. 6+ and there are plenty of other games that provide real game play for both the kid and the adult. But for the 4-5 set, all they care about is the sheep and the wolf and all the putting on and off of the wool. Winning/finishing the game is secondary at these ages so I'd recommend it based on that.
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BT Carpenter
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This game is more of an activity than a game, which is why it is ideal for small children and the adults that are attempting to teach them game manners.

I'd easily rank this game in there with Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and that ilk.

Does that make it the worst game ever invented? No.

Children love dice and finding out what the die lets them do.

They have to decode the die face (is it a wolf? is it wool? can I trade?).

They have to decide, when trading or wolfing who gets the short end of the stick. Daddy will always get the short end if you've raised them right.

They get to count up to five and watch their wool stack get higher as they shear.

The wolf is a cool extraneous piece and is probably overblown. When has that stopped gamers? Agricola pimping? The chariot in Tribune? The pieces in Steam? Pillars of the Earth's timing mechanism?

And... what's to say you don't change the game to be more to your liking? Maybe make the wolf more useful, or change the mechanics of shearing. One of the variants in the rulebook suggests imposing a 'tax' of 1 wool every time you shear, which means now you need two or more wool to make a profit. Another variant says that the wolf stays with the player who got wolfed and if they get wolfed a second time, they lose two wool (after which the wolf returns home).

LEGO lists this as a 7+ game, and I'd even take it a bit lower provided the kids have been exposed to the smaller LEGO pieces previously.
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Kevin
Canada
Abbotsford
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@ BT Carpenter - Bravo. I'm tired of seeing snobs posting comments about the Lego games saying they're "dice-fests" and not worth the money.

My kids are 2 and 4 and they both enjoy the game. They like the cute sheep, the like screwing their dad every time the wolf tile is roled, and I like seeing them decide if they should steal someone else's sheep or invest in their own - to them it's a matter of choosing to be nice or choosing to be mean to someone, not an exercise in optimization.

The wolf is not pointless - its a fun toy, and when the wolf tile is rolled the kids enjoy making the wolf attack the victim's sheep. There's also a variant rule that says when the wolf tile is rolled the first to grab the wolf gets to use it.

Put things into perspective, this is a children's game. The age range for this one is the lowest of all the other lego games, and I agree it's listed too high at 6 but its probably because Lego expects the kids to build the sets too (my 4-yr old wouldn't be able to read the building instructions). When they out-grow the game, they get some sheep and a wolf to add to their existing lego collection. I'd definately buy it again as a gift to a pre-schooler.
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Andreas
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Please I would not think of myself (and the other posters too) of being a "snob". Anyone is aware that this is a childrens game and neither chess nor caylus. BUT I can compare this to other childrens games from the likes of Haba, Selecta, Queen, Ravensburger, Drei Magier. And those other publishers have some great offerings for children. Yes its memory or roll and move most of the times but its this with a twist. Lego reviews tend to end with "Lego 8 points, game play 2 points". There is a reason for this. And when You look at the prices for Lego games they are not cheap either.
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Farrell Seymore
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After playing this game a few times with my 7 and 5 year-old children, I have to come to the defense of the game. The game is what it is--a simple, fun interactive game that the family can enjoy together. Any time I can have my kids begging for a play and wanting to introduce it to others, I believe it serves its purpose.
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Mathijs Booden
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Xeenu wrote:
Please I would not think of myself (and the other posters too) of being a "snob". Anyone is aware that this is a childrens game and neither chess nor caylus. BUT I can compare this to other childrens games from the likes of Haba, Selecta, Queen, Ravensburger, Drei Magier. And those other publishers have some great offerings for children. Yes its memory or roll and move most of the times but its this with a twist. Lego reviews tend to end with "Lego 8 points, game play 2 points". There is a reason for this. And when You look at the prices for Lego games they are not cheap either.


Oh come on..

Sorry not constructive I'm afraid
 
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Andreas
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No that is not a valid response. The people that think of Lego games as unimaginative roll and move variants lacking new ideas have valid points. Lego knows how to make games look cool and has a mighty marketing machine. But Drei Magier has good games. Haba and Selecta have too. Your choice which one You prefer. But I am not a snob when I prefer the game play and the nifty idea and thorough playtesting above the 10000th roll and move game.
 
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Mathijs Booden
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Xeenu wrote:
No that is not a valid response. The people that think of Lego games as unimaginative roll and move variants lacking new ideas have valid points. Lego knows how to make games look cool and has a mighty marketing machine. But Drei Magier has good games. Haba and Selecta have too. Your choice which one You prefer. But I am not a snob when I prefer the game play and the nifty idea and thorough playtesting above the 10000th roll and move game.


Well, yeah. No one is calling anyone a snob (right?). But...

... I think the LEGO games may appeal to a bigger audience than Drei Magier, Haba and Selecta, and a couple other companies together.
... the LEGO games are available in many low-profile retail locations.
... the LEGO games are specifically designed to be easy to 'get' and quick to complete, really aimed at 5+ year olds.
... the LEGO games are specifically designed so that the non-gaming parents of these kids can teach their kids in two minutes how to play, then enjoy the game with them or do grown-up stuff while the kids are busy.

Having played some of these games with kids, I can vouch that TLG did an excellent job on the latter two points. The simple fact is, out of the billions of people who have children, only a couple million have the time, money and personal interest to play a tabletop game with those kids. Even then, this will generally be more traditional card and board games. Among a certain demographic (heavily concentrated in a very few countries), it may be relatively common to introduce children to more avant-garde games. TLG simply does not aim at that relatively small audience as there is no money in that for them.
 
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