I will not rest until Biblios is in the Top 100. - Steve Oksienik
Well I been watchin' while you been coughin, I've been drinking life while you've been nauseous, and so I drink to health while you kill yourself and I got just one thing that I can offer... Go on and save yourself and take it out on me
Cosmic Cows is a lightweigth dice rolling game that is as close to Yahtzee as can be without copyright infringement. Players take the role of aliens trying to abduct cows by rolling 5 dice. The winner is the player who moves 3 cows into their capture zone.
Cosmic Cows is an incredibly easy game to learn and teach. The rulebook has 4 pages for each of several languages. Honestly, they could have trimmed it down to 2 and still had room for examples, but I appreciate how thoroughly they presented it. The rulebook is well layed out and easy to understand.
I will not go into great detail on the rules, but in summary, it is just like Yahtzee. There are 9 cows on the board. Whenever you roll at least a pair, you can move the cow in that number column equal to the number of dice. For example, if you roll three 4's, you can move the cow in the 4 column three spaces towards you. There are spaces for 1-6, Chance, Straights, and Super Beam (Yahtzee). Once 3 cows make it into your red zone, you are the winner.
The simplicity of the rules make this game ideal for kids over 8, but some younger children may be able to play it as well.
There's really not a whole lot in a Cosmic Cows box, but what's there is nice to look at. The board is a small and colorful area to track your cow movement. There is a grass patch in the middle where the cows start. Each of the two ends is adorned with pictures of two different alien species. Between the grass and the aliens are spots representing tractor beams, symmetrical on both sides of the board. The 5 closest to the grass are blue and the last 3 are red representing your goal. The Super Beam has no spaces. Once you roll a Yahtzee, you may move the cow all the way to your side, or back to the middle if it is on your opponents side. At the end of the tractor beam there are pictures of dice with pips or explanations of how to score that column for Straights and Chance.
The main focus of this game is the cows. There are 9 cows and boy are they cute! They have a sort of cartoonish body with big eyes. These pieces are really great looking and contribute nicely to the light feel of this game. If you've ever played Pass the Pigs, these cows are slightly larger than their porcine cousins.
This game, like Yahtzee, is a dice fest. Unlike Yahtzee, this is much more than multiplayer solitaire. There is actually some strategy to be had here which provides ample opportunity to affect your opponents plan. This of course depends entirely on how lucky you are. Each player is attempting to capture the same cows, so if your opponent is close you getting a cow in their red zone, you can attempt to move it back your way. As stated, luck is the deciding factor here, but it can create a small amount of enjoyable tension if you get in a dice war over a particular cow. Obviously there is not as much strategy as many other games, but there are some choices to be made that could actually have some effect on game play.
Cosmic Cows should take no more than 15-20 minutes to play which is about as much as most people can stand for a luck-based dice fest.
Cosmic Cows could be a great filler for heavy game nights, but it only supports 2 players which makes it kind of limiting. I think this game will find a sweet spot with couples looking for a light way to end a day or with parents who are looking for something a bit more entertaining than Chutes and Ladders to play with their children.
If you have ever enjoyed Yahtzee, I would recommend this game strongly. I grew up with Yahtzee and purchased on a while ago for my girlfriend and I, but after playing Cosmic Cows, I can assure you that anytime Yahtzee might be suggested in the future, it will be Cosmic Cows that comes out instead.
This game is a solid 7. Its enjoyable enough that I will probably suggest it when I'm in a dice rolling mood. Due to its length, I don't think I would turn down a play if someone else suggested it. Its not deep or complex and it does not attempt to be so, but it is light and fun and a perfect way to spend twenty minutes chucking dice.