Quick Look: We Have Goats!
Designer: Oliver Smith
Year Published: Launching on Kickstarter today, Link at the bottom of this review!
In We Have Goats, players embark on a whimsical adventure where their victory is entirely unique every time they play. By creating different pathways and making strategic decisions, no two games are ever the same! With the inclusion of Zombie Kitties, Chupacabrasauruses, and unpredictable Goat-Astrophes, players will be laughing, strategizing, and dealing with unexpected twists and turns throughout the game.
We Have Goats stands out in the crowded board game market by delivering a gaming experience that is both hilarious and strategic. We wanted to create a game that not only brings people together but also keeps them on the edge of their seats with its witty gameplay and unpredictable elements. With We Have Goats, players have the freedom to carve their own path to victory and create memorable moments with friends and family.
I’m a fairly logical thinking person, but I do like a bit of chaos from time to time, and this game delivered an abundance of that. The game seems fairly straightforward, get your Goats back in your pen, but the game action is wild and non-stop from the beginning of the game to the end of the game. Many times it seemed as if a player was going to win, only to be hindered or affected by some other play. The game was enjoyable, but I would probably only play the game when I wanted to play a game that is heavy on chaos.
The rule book includes setup instructions and a simple overview of the game. Also included is a description of the blue Goat-Astrophe cards and the G.O.A.T. Power cards.
Note: Since this was a demo game it is likely the rule book was not in its final form.
The setup is simple and not time consuming. Players take the Goat Pen of their desired color, and places one of their Goat tokens in each of the other 3 Goat Pens. Players are then given 3 Land cards, 2 G.O.A.T. Power cards, and 5 white action cards. Players then take turns placing one of their Land cards into play within a 5×5 grid.
In We Have Goats! you are a Goat Herder trying to herd your Goats back into your pen while trying to prevent your fellow Goat Herders from doing the same. The player that can wrangle their Goats the quickest will be the winner.
The mechanic of the game is simply card based actions. Each turn you draw a card and then play a card from your hand, taking the action on the card. The game includes a bit of take-that action since many of the actions are meant to affect other players.
We Have Goats! is played over an indeterminate number of rounds. After the game is set up, players take turns playing cards that affect the board, move a Goat, or work to pay for a G.O.A.T. Power card. Play continues until one player has successfully returned all of their Goats to their pen, winning the game.
On a player’s turn, they draw back to 5 cards in their hand, if they have less than 5, and then draw 1 more card. The player then selects one of the cards in their hand to play. Players use green cards to move one of their Goats or apply the card toward funding a G.O.A.T. Power card. Players use blue Goat-Astrophe cards to affect the game board or game play. Players use the yellow action cards to perform a variety of actions. Once the action(s) is resolved, play passes to the next player.
By spreading the Goats out across the play area, it makes it so a player can’t focus solely on one area. It also means that the laying of Land cards is fairly cooperative, what works for one player will also likely work for the other players with Goats in the same area. This makes the laying of Land cards very strategic. You want them to work well for you and limit their benefit to the other players.
The game is very chaotic. It is hard to make any kind of plans for your turn as the game board and/or position of your Goats is likely to change. Getting a Goat from one pen to another is unlikely to be as simple as playing movement cards (the game could use a few more movement cards to counterbalance the action cards).
Paying for G.O.A.T. Power cards can be problematic. The higher value cards take a number of rounds to fully fund. That is a number of rounds where your Goats don’t move and you don’t affect the board. In addition, until the card is funded and locked, it can be stolen, the funds removed, or simply discarded, meaning those are lost rounds for that player.
I did not play the original version of this game, so I couldn’t tell you how the second edition differs from the original. If you like games of chance or chaos, though, then this will be a game for you. I like these types of games when I am in a wacky mood, so it is good for the start of a game night, or as the last game when everyone is punchy. Some people thrive in chaos, I’m not really one of those and I never felt like I was going to win when I played the game, but I did have fun trying to mess up the other player’s game play. I’ll likely keep this game in my collection for those times when I want to play a game like this.
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I grew up loving to solve puzzles, play games, and have fun. In my younger years I had fun playing pencil games, enjoyed the creativity of playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends, and generally hanging out with others. My favorite thing to do was to make puzzles of all kinds, mazes, word games, picture games, etc.
Sadly my career took me in a different direction, solving computer problems rather than gaming problems.
Gaming came back into my life, though, in a big way about 15 years ago, and I have held onto it since. I still enjoy designing games and have 9 published titles, which I did through my own game publishing company, Toresh Games, prior to the Covid pandemic. Sadly I was not able to sustain the company through the pandemic.
I highly encourage people to play games, make friends, and have fun. As a game enthusiast, I would love to see a return to games as the best social media platform for the masses.
All of Thomas Shepherd’s reviews can be found HERE.