CRITICAL HIT: "Unexploded Cow"

"Unexploded Cow"

Publisher: Cheapass Games

Players: 2-6

Average Play Time: 25 Minutes

Cheapass Games' Website


Because the publisher did such a good job at this, an excerpt from the instructions:

Europe. Summer. 1997. You and your “friends” have discovered two problems with a common solution: mad cows in England and unexploded bombs in France.
Mad cows are thick on the ground in England, and they’re selling cheaper than dirt. So you’ve decided to spread them thick on the ground in France too, by giving them a patriotic pep talk and setting them loose in the no-man’s land behind the Cordon Rouge. 
The upside? You’re ridding England of insane cows and their tainted meat, ridding France of unwanted leftover bombs, and (just maybe) making some money on the side. The downside? Eventually someone’s going to catch you.
So round up your herd, drive them through the Chunnel, and set them loose in La Belle France. If you’re lucky you’ll make a little money before Greenpeace shuts you down. 

Seriously, if that little bit of set up story doesn't sell you on the game, I don't know what will. 

First created in 2001, and then funded by Kickstarter back in September of 2012, this is a game that sounds so outlandish, that I'm surprised PETA wasn't knocking down their doors, even though no cows were harmed in the making or playing of this game. I had the pleasure of demoing this game at a local game store recently, and had too much fun not to review it. 

The Box contains: 

  • 81 Cards (12 City Cards, 69 Cow Cards)
  • 78 money tokens (in 100,200,500, and 1000 denominations)
  • one 6-sided die, and rules

If you play the free version, they recommend that you use poker chips or some other such token to represent the money. Oh, that's right. Did I mention, there is a free print and play version? Yeah. You can play this wonderful game without paying a dime. Well, I suppose the materials to print it on might actually cost you something, but... that's unimportant.

Game play is very simple. Each player is given 3 cards, and 5000 money to start off. Then, each player ante's 500 to the pot, and then rolls to see who goes first.  Play follows these basic steps: 

  1. Draw 2 cards
  2. Play as many cards as you want
  3. Roll to blow up those sides of beef.

Each cow comes with a purchase price. To play the card, you pay the purchase price to the pot, and place him anywhere in your herd. Each cow also has a detonation prize. This is the money you collect when you manage to blow that cow up.   There are different types of cows as well:

  • Spies-That you force other players to pay for, and you reap the rewards)
  • Generals- That can pass the bomb to another cow in the herd
  • Mad Bombers- If they blow up, they also blow up their neighbors
  • P.F.C.'s- They can take the bomb from another cow in the herd
  • Mechanics- They can defuse the bomb, instead of blowing up
  • Plain old cows- Nothing special about them really.

In addition to these, there are also event cards that can help turn the tide of bovine devastation in your favor.

Each turn, when you roll the bomb die, you're attempting to blow up your cows. If you manage to blow up a member of your herd, you claim the topmost city card, and follow the directions there. 

When all the cities have been cleared of land mines, you take your cows out into the countryside, and begin SUDDEN DEATH! At this point, players take turns rolling the die until either all cows are exploded, or the pot is out of money. Then, the player with the most money is the winner.

And that is Unexploded Cow in a nutshell!  

RECOMMENDATION: If you have the money, I recommend you pick this up. It is quick, easy to play, and requires very little set up. Also, the retail versions art is much better than the free version's. If you don't have money... Click here, and download all the files you need to print and play. Either way, the point is... PLAY IT!

 FINAL THOUGHTS: This is one of those rare games that is cheap, fun, and carries a healthy dose of demented humor. The Two player version lacks some of the strategy of the 3 to 6 player versions, but it is still quite enjoyable! The game goes by quick, and it is easy to play multiple rounds. There is room for slight variations on the rules, and there is the potential for expandability, but in this case, I think the game stands just fine on its own.

FINAL SCORE: 4.7 out of 5 (Critical Hit) 

Buy the game below!

From Paizo:

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