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Shear Panic!

When I first saw Shear Panic! by Mayfair Games with its cute Wallace-and-Gromit-esque game pieces, I thought it must be a game for children. Shortly after beginning to play, however, I discovered that this strategy game is designed with both adults and young adults in mind and is a good choice for a game night with family and friends.

A flock of sheep including two for each player and one independent black sheep, push, jostle, slide and turn to get to the highest scoring positions in the flock. The highest scoring position changes during each of the four phases of the game. During the first phase the goal is to flock your own sheep together and scoring occurs during each player's turn. During the second phase all of the sheep turn their attention to the handsome, red rose carrying Roger the Ram. When the marker that tracks the progress of the game reaches specific points, the sheep closest to Roger score the most points. The third phase is similar to the first phase, only now the goal is to be next to the black sheep in the flock. In the final phase, sheep are mercilessly pulled out of play to be sheared. The longer you can avoid the shearer, the more points you will gain.

Each player is limited to 12 different moves, so you may want to save your most powerful moves for higher scoring phases two and four of the game. My favorite moves are the "lamb slam" where one of your sheep gets to move in any direction pushing all of the sheep that get in its way, as well as the "ewe turn" that rotates all of the flock 90 degrees to the left or the right. This can either really mess things up or provide instant benefits during phases two and four, since Roger and the Shearer also get moved to their proper position in front or back of the flock.

I played this game with a group of four and found that even with the most careful thought as to your strategy, with each player's move unexpected events would occur and sometimes even huge reversals as to who had the best positions in the flock. This helped to keep the game fun, interesting and balanced and prevented any one player from dominating the game. I would imagine that a two player game would be somewhat different and would even allow a bit more control over your strategies. This game is suitable for 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up. I'm definitely looking forward to playing Shear Panic! again at our next game night!


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Comments

Loved the photography!!!
The quality of the sheep is seen on the pieces faces.

I have played this game and really enjoyed it. It is a great gift idea for friends and family who like something challenging, but can allow for conversation. Thanks

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