Review: Wolf & Hound – once upon a time in a sheep-fold
People are not so quick to guard a her of sheep. That’s, why I’m here. I got confidence from a pair of cowherds and whenever there is danger, I am here to take good card of these small shaggy creatures. Under my watch, sheep are guaranteed to be safe!
But when a wolf decides to drive away and catch one lamb, dogs will not have it easy at all. Sheep will probably run off into nearby woods and whoever finds it first, wins. It looks just like this also in the board game Wolf & Hound, created by Fukutaro and illustrated by Matsuda98. Playing under flag of newly established company Ninja Star Games won support on Kickstarter. 182 players contributed to its creation, gathering over ten thousand dollars and its journey after the campaign ended in 2016, when it got published. We received it from its distributor – Esdevium Games.
Game will certainly scare you at first with length of its rules. They spread across a staggering 36 pages. However, large majority of this space is covered with illustrative examples. The authors got in this direction a little overboard, because a lot of information is repeated again and again. Still, the game basics can be learned in fifteen minutes, because the box has just the right amount of components.
All this is hidden, covered by a flock of sheep somewhere in the hills of Japan. And we start to uncover its secrets with one square game board. It only serves as a placeholder for the cards. Now those are the truly main component of the game. We can find wolves and sheep there and then a series of numbered cards, white or black. For every player, there is also a longitudinal board and four cardboard parts to form an enclosure. There is a bag and inside it is crouching number of plastic stands, serving as a base for cardboard sheep figurines.
At the start of the game should typically sit four participants around a table. They make partnerships in pairs, whether accidentally or agreement. The players then have to take seats at a table in the order determined by their identity cards – two will fight for the blue team and others for the yellow color. Both groups represent cowherds.
Each player gets a game board, building a fence on the left and places his four sheep in plastic stands there. For basic game, players choose character cards of dog and wolf. For some more advanced experience, others can be used or their number increased. These cards are placed in front of player number one. They will partly cover common square game board placed in the middle. On this board is a position for draw pile of motion (numbered) cards, black and white. These cards create shuffled deck and each participant receives four cards, whose identity he must not share with anyone.
Game rules are unexpectedly simple. If there are any dog or wolf cards in front of a player, he must follow their lead at the start of his turn. And it all involves his sheep. Wolf successfully drives away one of the players sheep from the herd (its moved behind the fence on second part of the player board), while dog runs along one trail and eventually finds the lost sheep (which is then moved back into the enclosure).
Position of cards is but a consequence of other phases. The most crucial is to play a card from hand. Active player can choose dark or light card with different numbers and thus affect, whether wolf (dark) or dog (light side) move in clockwise direction and also how many steps forward will they go. Also pink cards of sheep may intervene with the game, that does not move figurines, but is changing the rules of the game instead. At the end of his turn, player draws a card from a common deck and his performance at the moment is over.
Players of the same team must also help each other and move ahead card to attack the other team or at least avoid losing their own sheep. Game can end in exhaustion of drawing cards pile (teams add up sheep remaining and winner is group, which has more of them), but above all by one player losing all three sheep. Just when it happen to one player, his team lost immediately.
Wolf & Hound is really a thoroughly interesting team game, which attracts mainly by its exceptional simplicity. The game revolves around actually only playing one card and moving creatures around the board as a result. But it is surprisingly enough, and the game still manages to maintain interest not only of beginners, but it carries surprisingly enough tactical options for more advanced players.
The basis is cooperation, and without it a team simply can not win. Players must help each other, because they themselves can not effectively defend against the rigors of cards. That’s because the cards are activated at the beginning of each turn and they are moved by other players before that.
Big guns in this game is length of the game. It takes a beautiful fifteen minutes to get to the end, which will usually not be enough for you. Instead, you will want to try a series of games for a greater experience. Conversely, a slight problem is the need to get together always with exactly three other players.The rules also contain options for two or three players using virtual characters, but once players have more roles to manage, it’s not it. Game simply works best with full number.
Cards in your hand are random. But there is sufficient number of them for every choice to make sense, move the right characters, or at least avoid any inconveniences. From all this then follows a very good impression of the game. This follows figures constantly changing place and nothing is ever certain during the match.
Game offers tremendous versatility. There’s plenty of cards, that can be used to adjust the experience, and thanks to them, there are great opportunities to change and modify the game. Overall, you can be sure, that this box will definitely hold your interest for a long time due to different experience across matches.
Maybe you thought, that miniatures are needed for good overall impression, whether wooden or plastic. But a well-used cardboard component can make a comparable or perhaps even better experience. Combinations of pens and cartoon figures looks really nice, as is the entire game with unique illustrations.
Wolf & Hound is a very good team game, that requires four players to show its true weapons. These are, besides cooperation, also variability and simplicity. Yet the game is able to reach even the most demanding audiences and offer tactical fun with a very nice graphics. Wolf & Hound is the story of sheep, that from time to time runs away into the forest and must find a way out or its a game over for it.
Review: Wolf & Hound – once upon a time in a sheep-fold
Wolf & Hound is a game, in which two teams compete. But you will not become wolves or dogs as title would suggest. Instead, everyone will be left alone to protect his sheep and in doing so, they must help each other. Wolf is circling around and chases sheep away, while shaggy watchdog leads them back into the pen. There is a lot of additional cards in the box, that enrich the game and adding more options to it. Everything even does not last very long. Wolf & Hound can be recommended to those, who like to work together, but also want to compete.