Board Games are Wicked Awesome!
I Love The Board Games!
I picked this game up late 2017 from the Board Game Geek store on account I was looking for a portable, filler card game. It's taken me a bit to get it played but I finally found a willing opponent. The theme is light but you are a shepherd trying to make their sheep happy by arranging them in like colored groups.
The rulebook is a bit rough as this is a Japanese game and there are some translation difficulties. After a few plays, the rules became clear and were quite obvious. The main point of the game is forming groups of like color cards in a grid in front of you. You acquire cards to do this from a 4 column x 2 row grid of cards that are created from the draw deck. On a players turn, they have two options: pick a column of two cards or place cards. If you ever start your turn with six or more cards in hand you must place. If you ever start with zero cards in hand, you must pick a column.
Placing cards with the same number - Each card has two numbers at the top that are used for placement. You may choose a card in your own grid as a starting point and create a path of cards of the same number next to that card.
Placing cards with the consecutive numbers - Again, you choose a starting card from your own grid and may place one or more cards either ascending or descending adjacent to that card. One difference with this placement rule is that you can utilize more than one edge of the starting card to create multiple paths.
Placing a single card - If you choose to place a single card that is neither the same number nor increasing/decreasing next to a designated start card, you must also discard a card from your hand.
In addition to numbers at the top left and right of the card, there are also some symbols: bells, stars, hearts, victory point signs, and a green card. These will help determine the final score.
1. Whoever has the most connected bells gets either 8, 4, or 2 points depending on if they 1st, 2nd, or 3rd
2. Whoever has the most stars (adjacency doesn't matter) gets 4 or 2 points.
3. Whoever has the most hearts (adjacency doesn't matter) gets 4 or 2 points.
4. Each victory point symbol counts as 1 point.
5. Sheep grouping will score if there are exactly that number of colors adjacent to each other. If you have more than the required number in a group, you do not score those points.
6. Finally, you subtract the number of rows and columns from your score. E.G. a 4x4 grid would cost you 8 points.
The game comes in a 3"x 4" box. There are 108 cards in total: 100 sheep cards and 8 scoring cards (and a start player card). While these cards are quite small, they work perfectly in place of tiles. Essentially, that's what this game is: tile placement. Each color card has different facial features on the sheep to help differentiate between colors which I appreciate as I play with some people that are color blind. The game takes about 20-30 minutes for two players and I usually end up playing at least two games in a row. The mechanics are simple but the choices have some meat to them. Do you just try to create groups of sheep? Do you worry about connecting bells? What about gaining the majority of stars and hearts? So far, I have found it more beneficial to focus on the groupings and keeping the size of my grid under control. I have only played two player but it is so good at two player I am looking forward to trying it out with more players. As of this date (April 19, 2018) there are a few copies left in the Board Game Geek store. I would definitely recommend this card game. It is portable, easy to teach, and offers some thoughtful choices.