In Gamewright’s Long Cow you’re tasked with building not just the most bodacious group of bovines, but the longest. Can your rancher put together the rangiest herd on the range?
Long Cow is a set collection game for 2-5 players that plays best with 4-5.
The object of Long Cow is to create a herd of cows – some long, some short, some crossbred, some calves. The deck is composed of cow “parts” (heads, middles, and tails) as well as a variety of action cards. Each player is dealt 6 cards. A draw pile and a discard pile are started in the table center.
On each player’s turn, they’ll draw two cards from the draw pile or take any cow part from the discard pile. Then, they’ll play as many cards as they like from their hand. Cows are played in front of the player (the herd). Each cow must consist of a head and tail and can contain any number of middles (LOOONNGGG COOOOW – get it?). Once a cow has been played calf cards can be added to the herd. As a general rule, cows must consist of matching parts and once on the table, cannot be expanded.
That’s where the action cards come in. Cross-breeding will allow you to put together different types of cow parts. Food cards allow you to expand a cow that’s already in the herd. There are also attack cards that may remove other players cows. Defense cards will protect your herd. And special cards will allow you to take cards from another players hand or take an extra turn.
There are also some special condition ribbons. The player who puts down the first cow will get a one-point ribbon. Once three cows have been achieved, a ribbon is awarded for the largest herd. This award will change hands depending on who has the largest herd throughout the game. Also, there’s an award for cow longer than 5 cards.
Once the last card has been drawn from the draw deck, the game ends with each player getting one last turn to play cards from their hand. Herd cards are tallied along with bonuses. Highest score wins!
The box is going to catch your eye. Seriously – its shaped like a carton of milk. And you’ll discover its next little trick when you take it off the shelf – there’s a little sound box inside that moos when you tip it.
It’s very straightforward – collect some cows, destroy other peoples’ cows, get the most points. Given the super bright, cartoony art style as well as the simple gameplay, this would be a great game to introduce kids to set collection. That being said, that moo box is going to be the bane of your existence in a group of kids.
The moo box is just loud enough to be annoying, VERY hard to get out of the box, and since its technically a game piece (it’s the longest cow award) you can’t even leave it in the box. Cute marketing gimmick, but I’m likely creating a cardboard ribbon for this game before I pass this along to a friend for her classroom.
Long Cow definitely benefits from more players. At two, this was a little too cut and dry – lay a cow, attempt to take out the opposite players cow, likely get blocked, end turn, rinse, repeat. With 4-5 there’s a lot more going on – a player can quickly go from king of the hill to not-so-jolly rancher in just a few turns, and the back and forth is a lot more fun.
Graphically and color-wise the cows are relatively distinct – black and white spotted, dark brown shaggy, and blotchy brown and tan – making it accessible to those with vision challenges. Some non-neurotypical players may appreciate that almost every single cow type lines up beautifully, making a perfectly neat, organized, and tidy herd.
Overall I thought this was fun and definitely enjoyed using it to introduce the mini-me’s to set collection, but I probably wouldn’t bring it out to an adult gaming group.
Long Cow is a super cute take on set collection that will appeal to younger players. More experienced gamers will likely find this a little thin. Cartoon-like art is fun and gameplay is quick to pick up. That moo box in Long Cow is quickly becomes something you’ll want to put out to pasture.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – Great game for teaching new gamers and kids set collection, probably doesn’t have a place on more experienced gamers’ shelves. Also, did I mention that moo box?
• A little too simple for experienced gamers
• Seriously – that moo box tho