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Goat Lords Review

Quick Look: Goat Lords

Designer: Wesley Marriott
Publisher: Gatwick Games
Year Published: 2016 (Re-released 2019)
No. of Players: 3–6
Ages: 7+
Playing Time: 30 Minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

He who has the most goats is the Goat Lord. In Goat Lords it is all about building the biggest herd of goats. You can add to your herd by giving birth to new goats or taking goats from another player’s herd. All that counts is when no more plays can be made, whoever has the most goats is the Goat Lord.

We played Goat Lords with 5 players, a couple of them were closer to the lower suggested age. Because of the similarity to another game everyone had played (Cover Your Assets) we were able to start playing without having to go through the rules. Because of that I had to ask how it went when they first learned the rules. They told me they were all able to understand the game because the mechanics are straight forward and similar to an old playing card favorite Steal the Pile.

The kids enjoyed Goat Lords. They liked it better than the other one they have and play because of the theme of goats and the artwork that goes along with it. The parents like the game because it is one the kids can play on their own.

Goat Lords is a good game for those times when the game is more about the socializing going on around the table. There isn’t any heavy strategy and play can be interrupted and restarted easily.

Goat Lords is also a good cabin game. These are the games that are small and easy to pack and take with you on a trip. A game that can be brought out when the weather’s not cooperating and only a little space is needed for playing.

Shuffle the cards and deal. Each player starts with 5 cards. There is a Draw Pile, Discard Pile, and Trash Pile. The Draw Pile are the cards that haven’t been seen yet. The Discard Pile starts with 1 card turned over from the Draw Pile. And, the Trash Pile is for the Action Cards that have been used and are removed until the next game.

Each player creates a herd of goats by creating pairs of cards or stealing cards from another players pile. The first pair must be made by a birth or assisted birth. A birth is a pair taken from the players hand while an assisted birth uses 1 card from the players hand and the top card of the Discard Pile. If you can’t start your herd you discard then draw to mark the end of your turn. Your first pair cannot be taken from you and until you have your herd started you can’t take other actions.

Once you have a herd started you can add to it and you are able to play Action Cards (but only if the player you are taking an action against has also started their herd).

On your turn you can add to your herd in the same manner as you started it—adding a pair by birthing or an assisted birth. You can also add to your herd by dueling with another player for some of their goats.

Dueling is playing Steal the Pile with the ability to immediately steal the pile back. Using the cards in your hand, you match the top set of cards in another players herd. You either have to match it with the same type of card or by using a wild card. The player who you are attempting to steal the goats from can counter by playing a card from their hand that meets the same requirements. The duel continues until one player stops adding a card, because they can’t play or choose not to. Whoever played the last card adds the top set to the top of their pile. Remember that you can never dual for a player’s original pair (this means no player can score zero).

If you can’t add to your herd in either by either of these means, you discard a card and draw another.

At the end of every turn, all players draw to replenish their hands back to 5.

The end of the game is triggered when the Draw Pile is depleted. Play continues as normal except for replenishing until a player no longer has any cards in their hand. Once a player runs out of cards, no more action cards can be played. Players continue playing until they run out of cards or are unable to make a play.

Theme and Mechanics
Goat Lords build on its theme from the title all the way through to the end of the game. We had players challenging each other to see who could make the best goat bleat. And there was some posturing at the end when the Goat Lord was announced.

The mechanics were easy for all players to understand and play without problems. The creating of pairs is done with either a matching pair or using a wildcard. The dueling is done in the same manner.

Artwork and Components
There are 127 cards, roughly 2 1/2 standard playing decks. They are of the quality I see in most playing cards.

The artwork fits the theme. It is light and fun and for some of the players it was enough to spark the imagination with quips and action taking place at the side of the table.

The Good
  • Family friendly
  • It’s goats—there aren’t any pygmy goats, but there are fainting goats
  • Cabin game
The Bad
For experienced players, back-to-back games become repetitive in action

Final Thoughts
Goat Lords is a great game for families with younger players and for introducing gaming to new players. It uses mechanics people are generally familiar with, even if they aren’t gamers. The people I played with have used the similar game before for just that purpose. Now they have one they can use with friends and family that has a more humorous theme.

Players Who Like
  • Cover Your Assets (or A$$ets)
  • Games that allow for stops and starts without disturbing the game much

Check out Goat Lords on


Daniel Yocom - Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel's reviews HERE.
Goat Lords Review Goat Lords Review Reviewed by Guild Master Gaming on June 17, 2019 Rating: 5

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