Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kid Games Reviews: Wiggling Cow

Wiggling Cow

  • designer: Brigitte Pokornik
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2009
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/4.33
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 1-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $21.59 (

My feelings about this game have been a veritable roller coaster of highs & lows:

  • LOW (looking at the cover when Haba shipped it to me) - who in the world OK'd the English name? Maybe it's me, but it just sounds wrong. (Though not as wrong as Pocket Rockets - which actually sounds like a decent kids game but won't be entering my house because I don't want to have to keep my boys from loudly talking about their "pocket rockets" and not realize what kind of problems they're causing me & their mother.)
  • HIGH (opening the box for the first time) - the cow is very, very cute & well-made. The tiles are thick & chunky... and there's a wooden fork in here! As usual, excellent components from Haba.
  • LOW (after our first play) - did we do something wrong? Why wasn't this any fun? The idea seemed promising... but our first play left us cold.
  • HIGH (after playing with our problem "fixed") - Aha! The primary audience for this game is kids... this is a dexterity game that little guys (for example, my 4 year old) can play.
So, I'm guessing you'll want to know how we "fixed" the game... but before we get to that, I need to explain the game.

See, there's this cow, standing on a pile of hay (tiles). We (for some unexplained reason) need to get the hay without tipping the cow over. (Yes, I realize I've made subtle reference to the sport of cow tipping - now move along.) Using the wooden fork, each of us tease one (and only one!) piece out from under the cow and off the edge of the board. If you knock the cow over, you don't get a tile that turn & reset the cow for the next player. The game ends when all of the tiles are gone or (this hasn't happened yet) all of the players tip the cow over in succession. The most tiles wins.

There's a variant scoring rule which we use as a regular rule - the tiles have 1-3 flowers on each side... and some of the tiles have different amounts on opposite sides. When you take a tile, you get as many points as there are flowers on one side of the tile - whichever side you like!

And now that you understand the intricate workings & strategic depth of the game (he says, grinning), I can share with you our "fix": don't EVER put the cow on one tile. If you do, the cow will essentially "surf" on this tile while the players tease out tiles with impunity. You need to place the cow with her front legs on one tile & her back legs on another. Seriously, that took the game from "so what?" to "this is a lot of fun."

I will say that Wiggling Cow has worked best with kids or with mixed groups of adults & kids. It's not one of those "kid games that adults play when the kids are bed" kind of games... but it is a great deal of fun and very accessible even for age 4+.

No comments: