Mother Sheep

Mother Sheep, from Playroom Entertainment, has 10, cute little plastic lambs, and 10 cute little plastic lamb cardboard, name-plated lamb-standing places. 80 fences, of different and oft-multiple colors, a deck of lamb cards and a lamb corral. There are 18 lamb cards. On each card there are five lamb names. Pick a card and be the first player to fence in your given lambs.

Since there are 18 cards, it is quite likely that you will end up with at least one shared lamb. If not several. That’s quite fine. As long as the lambs are fenced, it doesn’t matter actually who does the fencing.

As for the fencing: After you’ve placed all you lambs in some array, close to the mother sheep, but not too close, and not too close to each other, either, the rest of the game is about laying down fence rails. The array-setting is of course very important, since the position of each lamb relative to each other lamb is chock full of strategic significance. You can lay them anywhere in any angle (there’s no board), but you have to make sure that they overlap another fence, and where they overlap, they match colors. Since the fence pieces can have as many as three different color bands, of any width, it can be quite a challenge to find an appropriately matching fence post.

You take three fence posts from the Fence Post Bag. These are your secret fence posts. Your secret fence post stock never gets replenished. So, even though you can use them any time during the game, you have to use them with care. You also get to draw three more fence posts for immediate play. Since you’re trying to corral 5 different sheep, you’ll always have at least one fence post that’s worth playing.

As I said, there is no board. As I also said, the positions of everything – the lambs, the Mother Sheep, the cardboard fence posts – is of dire strategic consequence. This is not a bonus feature – especially if you are playing with the clumsy-prone. On the other hand, it’s fun, not having a board while playing such a strategic, board-like game. And strategically speaking, it’s complex enough to be worthy of pondering, but simple enough in principle to be understood and enjoyed, even by the younger player.

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