Rolling with Benny and 13 SheepJuly 22, 2019
Benny Sperling reviews the print-and-play roll and write, 13 Sheep.
Welcome in friends, today we get to chat about wolves and the inadequacies around fencing in sheep in a field. In the print and play game, 13 Sheep, designed by Moritz Dressler, the player can never, mathematically, fence in all of the 13 sheep. At best you can probably get 6 in an enclosure, or less.
I will say this about 13 Sheep, it brings me back with determination each time I play and save only 4 or so sheep. It has that itchy part of the brain that likes spatial puzzles and wants to keep working until the problem is solved. It also helps that the low ink print and play has 12 puzzles on 1 sheet plus the rules. Though the small size can be a problem especially when determining if you can build a fence.
Each turn the player rolls 1 six-sided die. Then fills in the matching fence type. I suppose you could make custom dice with the faces. Though please contact the designer and publisher before doing so. There is also an alternate puzzle titled B; on its print sheet out there are 16 puzzles. I found B to be easier.
On the whole, 13 Sheep to me is interesting in that after I’ve played it, I want to immediately play again to try to get a better score. Typically my scores fall while I’m playing more. That said, I’m not sure I would recommend 13 Sheep. It is a puzzle, but it is an increasingly frustrating one. Players will note they can have up to 11 turns. 7 turns are guaranteed. From turn 8 to 11, if the player rolls a die that matches or is higher then the game ends immediately. Well technically you only ever get 10 turns. That last round shouldn’t even be part of the presentation as you cannot roll below a 1 on a standard d6.
I like the puzzle aspect of this game. I think it is a visually interesting presentation (other than that “1” space that makes no sense. However, the level of frustration I feel with the game makes me think the designer and publisher could have taken more time to develop the game into something more. I get time constraints (I have 3 children under 5 years old and work a full-time job). I get that it may have been a quick idea and let’s see what happens with it. I know I have been guilty of that as a young game designer (many many moons ago).
The downside is probably about equal to the upside of this game/puzzle. I would encourage players to at least try it once to see what it is about as it is a short time commitment. Though I would offer the above cautions as well. I really do hope the designer and publisher plan to put more effort into this one as it could have a very cool game/puzzle.
Until the next time, keep your sheep fenced and the big bad wolf far away. Be kind, friends.
About the Reviewer: Benny is the game designer behind Yakitori and Bones of the Caribbean. Lover of roll and write games, husband, and father of three. When Benny isn’t playing or designing roll and writes, he can be found gardening in his fruit and vegetable garden. Benny Sperling can be found on Twitter at @benny275.