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Wolf & Hound (Preview)

October 15th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

While I’m a big fan of all things wolves, I can see where in some cases they wouldn’t wanted…like if you were running a sheep pasture, for example.  “Wolf & Hound” focuses on this particular setting, putting players in the shoes of shepherds who are trying to safeguard their sheep.  Before we get started, I’d like to thank Dan Kobayashi from Ninja Star Games for reaching out and providing me with a prototype copy for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything you read about in this article subject to change.

 

Wolf & Hound

Wolf & Hound: 2-4 Players, Ages 10+, Average Play Time = 10-20 Minutes

 

Firstly, I want to address the player count.  “Wolf & Hound” is heavily advertised as a partnership game…that is, a game that encourages team play (in this case, a 2 vs 2).  The prototype manual I was given sets up the game as if you had a partner, though the minimum player count on the box is two.  This leads me to believe that while the focus is team play, you can play this with two players or possibly in a free-for-all mode with three or four if you’re willing to step outside the confines of the rule book a bit.  If you only had two players, for example, then one player could control two fields (so as long as they were opposite of one another).

My prototype copy came with four player cards (two green/two orange), thirty-two number cards (valued 1-4), four pasture boards, nine wolf & hound cards, sixteen sheep tokens, and a manual.  To set everything up, each player receives a random player card to determine what team they’re on, sitting in clockwise order.  All the number cards are shuffled and each player receives four for their starting hand.  Each player also gets three sheep tokens from the supply and are placed on their respective pasture boards (which are placed in front of them). Players will then agree on which Wolf & Hound cards will be included to make the game easier or more complicated…it’s recommended that players draft the Hound Card 01 and the Wolf Card 01.

A player’s turn consists of four phases: 1) Wolf & Hound phase, 2) Check game end condition phase, 3) Play phase, and 4) Draw phase.  If the active player has no wolf or hound card in front of them, then they simply skip the first phase.  If they do, they’ll resolve the card appropriately.  Generally, wolf cards take away sheep tokens, hound cards add sheep tokens, and tornado/metamorphic cards have special abilities.  Again, you don’t have to include the tornado/metamorphic cards if you’re not up to it.  If there are multiple cards, they’ll be activated in a specific order (tornado – blue, wolf – black, hound – white).

Phase two is where the game ends if ANY player has no sheep token at that point in time. Assuming everyone still has a sheep token, the player moves onto phase three.  Here, they’ll play a card which has the potential to move the wolf or hound cards clockwise the number of spaces shown (player pastures act as the spaces).  Players simply move the wolf/hounds of the matching card type.  In phase four, the player simply draws a card from the deck.  If the deck runs out, players draw no more cards.  If a player has no cards, then a game end condition is triggered.

 

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The metamorphic and tornado cards, for those of you who are curious, can alter the way you play out your turn.  Some tornado cards skip the current player and since they activate first, the active player can’t do much of anything.  With that said, other cards that aren’t present won’t activate either, so a teammate could help you stave off a wolf attack by landing a tornado onto your pasture.  Other tornadoes prevent players from playing white or black cards.  Metamorphic cards activate during the play phase and flip when passing player one/the start player.  The manual includes a list of recommended card combinations one could put together during game setup, though you’re free to experiment and customize things how you’d like.

I’d personally classify “Wolf & Hound” as a light and family-friendly game that is perfect for smaller kids and gamer families.  It shines the brightest when you are able to split off into teams of two, though it can work as a free-for-all if you don’t have enough players.  I like how you can choose which cards will be included in the game, allowing smaller kids the ability to play without getting overwhelmed by special abilities.  Wolf takes away sheep…hound adds sheep…it’s as simple as that.  Keeping things that simple has the added bonus of allowing smaller children to focus on what the game is really about…teamwork.  Don’t worry, older players who want more of a challenge can use the advanced cards (like wolf/hound cards 2-5) to make them think a bit more.  While keeping with the formula, they also add modifiers and push their respective effects to other players.

Long story short…if you’re into casual games, then you’ll definitely want to go check out “Wolf & Hound”.  Pledging $24.00 will earn you a copy of the game, plus all unlocked stretch goals.  The MSRP after the fact will be $37.99.  There are other pledge levels, so go check out the Kickstarter page (link below) for more information.

You can learn more about and support “Wolf & Hound” by visiting it Kickstarter page, here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/636070410/wolf-and-hound

 

 

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