Anyone who’s ever been to Scotland or Ireland can tell you that the sheep wander about as they please, with no regard to you, your car, or your agenda. They roam until they find something in their way, then divide, surround and engulf while slowly continuing onward. These wooly ways are the core concept of Battle Sheep, a family-friendly board game where players split herds of these clever little beasties in an effort to consume the most pasture.
This area-control board game is super cute and fun– kids love the simplicity and style of it. Our youngest daughter enjoys Battle Sheep so much that she took it to school for game day in second grade and taught her classmates how to play. They especially enjoy the artwork of each token and can’t help but giggle at all the silly sheep.
Battle Sheep’s game board is made up of hexagonal pasture pieces that interlock to your preference. This makes for a quick and easy setup that changes the game board each time you play. You can leave holes between tilesets if you like but these will become advanced obstacles for the sheep. Up to four players each select a color and take all corresponding sheep tokens.
Taking turns, each player selects the perfect start for their entire stack of sheep on one hex around the board edge. Place all of your sheep on that space creating a tall tower of sheep. On each move, you must divide and move a portion of your herd in a straight line as far as possible. This might mean that you can go to the other side of the board or that you hit a blank spot in the board or even another sheep. With each move, you leave a minimum of one sheep behind on your current location. You can instead leave more than one, even the whole stack minus one moving sheep if you prefer. These decisions will make or break your sheepish domination.
Players quickly find there is more strategy to this game than it appears. It is easy for other players to block off your paths, especially when playing with four players. If you leave too many sheep behind with a plan of spreading your wool in an area, another player may block that same area, stranding all your sheep.
Turns continue as long as there is a legal move to be played, skipping any poor shepherds who no longer have available land for their herd. The winner is the player with the most sheep spaced out singularly across the board. Sometimes more than one player may have the same amount left. For example, two players spread all their sheep and have no stacks left. In this case, the player with the largest herd in one area is the better shepherd and wooly winner.
Simple, fast, and fun. Battle Sheep is a great game to turn a few kids loose on and a good starting foundation to teach them how to plan out a strategy and then change direction when needed.
Interested in another great game to play with younger kids that won’t drive adults to the brink of absolute madness? Be sure to check out our delicious review of Go Nuts for Donuts!