|Designer: Francesco Rotta
Artist: Andrea Femerstrand
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Year Published: 2010
No. of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
To set up Battle Sheep each player takes 16 sheep tokens of the same color along with 4 pasture boards. Taking turns each player will place a pasture board in the center of the table creating the playing field. Then each player, in turn order (youngest to oldest), places all of her sheep tokens into a single stack on one of the outer perimeter spaces.
|Two player set up.|
|Two player game ready to go.|
On a player's turn he will do the following two actions:
1) Divide one of his sheep stacks into two stacks. The only rule here is both stacks must contain at least one sheep.
2) Leave one stack where it is and move the other stack in a straight line until it reaches another sheep stack or cannot go any further (IE hitting the edge of the playing field). Note: you can not combine or jump over other sheep stacks.
A player is finished when he can no longer move any of his sheep. Once all players are finished the final score is tallied by adding up the number of spaces (pastures) your sheep occupy. The player with the most pastures wins!
|Black wins 14 to 12.|
Battle Sheep is a game I have been eyeing for quit some time now, so when Blue Orange approached me to do a review for it I jumped at the chance. Not only did the cover art intrigue me I was also very interested to see how it played knowing a little bit about it.
As you can see from the above run down Battle Sheep is very simple to set up and play. In fact the rule book is a single sheet of paper about 5" by 5" folded in half. I was able to learn to play and teach my kids with in a matter of a few minutes. They easily picked up on it and were ready to go without any additional instructions.
Although Battle Sheep is easy to learn and the turn sequence is simple to do, mastering the game is another matter. Much like Chess and Go, Battle Sheep is 100% strategic so your opponents know exactly what you have and what you can do at all times. You better bring your "A" game, luck won't save you in this one. Player interaction is high as you are watching your opponents' moves and guessing what they will do next, so there is no time for texting at the table. Take you eye off the game for too long and you will find yourself trapped and unable to claim any further pastures.
The variable set up, with players placing tiles at random can, creates a little different play from game to game. The number of players also can alter how the game feels as you are tracking more than one opponent's moves and options.
The artwork is fun and playful which is what I have come to expect from Blue Orange Games. I was somewhat surprised to see the level of attention given to it considering the abstract nature of the game. Each set of sheep contains sixteen different sheep illustrations! The artwork also really ties the theme in with the mechanics of moving sheep around pastures trying to claim space. Even though just about any other theme would work here, I really enjoy this one.
|What comes in the box.|
|Looks at all these adorable sheep!|
Battle Sheep is super fast to play so you can easily get several plays in at one time or use it as a filler game during a big gaming night. It is also very accessible to players of all ages, the rules say 7+ which I think works well here.
I really enjoyed playing this one with my kids and can see it hitting the table often with them especially if we are trying to play a bunch of shorter games. It will be interesting to see how it fairs over time, I am hoping that the different set ups can keep the game fresh. If not I did notice there are also some user variants on Board Game Geek which can spice things up.
Players who like strategic games like Chess, Go, Yinsh, Blokus, and Onitama will love Battle Sheep.
I am giving Battle Sheep 7.5 out of 10 super meeples.
We are giving away two copies of Battle Sheep between February 23, 2017 and March 9, 2017. Enter HERE.
About the Author: