Hide and seek was one of my favorite games as a kid. We would play this so much every summer. I remember when we figured out, we could use more than one yard to play in and all the kids in the neighborhood got into it. Oh, the possibilities for fun!
In Wilson & Shep from Blue Orange Games, you’ll get to play hide and seek again, only this time it’s a little different. The game takes about 10-20 minutes to play and can accommodate 2-5 players.
Wilson & Shep is a one-versus-all game of hide and seek. Players will take turns as either the mischievous Wilson the wolf or Shep the sheepdog. The wolf player tries to stay hidden while the sheepdog player wants to find him. At the start of each round, the Wilson player sets up the sixteen sheep and replaces one of them with a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Then the Shep players will place their dog on one of the sheep.
Each round lasts eight turns with players alternating between swapping tiles (in the case of the wolf) or jumping amongst the sheep trying to find that dastardly wolf. The round ends if the wolf is found before the other players have flipped over eight sheep. Everyone gets a chance to play as the wolf and the sheep a certain number of times, depending on the player count. Players get points when they play as the wolf and avoid detection or if they help find the wolf. The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the game.
Wilson & Shep is rules-light and very approachable for kids eight and under. My kids were able to take their turns with my gentle reminders about their available actions. We struggled a little bit with hiding the wolf token amongst the sheep. We got there eventually, but I’d encourage parents with younger players to set up the grid of sheep for them. I set the wolf token just off to the side and encouraged my son to replace it with one of the sheep already out there while I covered my eyes. This made it a lot easier for me to double-check that he did this correctly, so maybe this will help you too.
Wilson & Shep is an attractive and interesting-looking game for kids. The sheep are all unique and individual in their artwork, something I also appreciated about Dragomino. It gives kids something funny to discover each time a sheep is flipped, to see what silly expression that sheep has on its face. Anytime a kid’s game manages humorous and colorful artwork, it’s a plus in my book.
The wolf is where players will have the most interactive and enjoyable role in the game. You’re getting to be sneaky, moving around tiles and taking all the wolf’s turns. In games with two or three players, you’ll play as the wolf twice; more players than that and you only get one chance. The sheepdog, on the other hand, takes turns in between the wolf and this role rotates throughout the round. So, if your kiddos are younger and have a harder time with waiting their turn, I’d suggest keeping it to no more than three players. This way everyone gets to be a bit more interactive and remain engaged in the game.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about who I think this game would entice. This isn’t a deep, strategic game, which is to be expected from kids’ games. I’d say if you have a slightly older gamer that has started to move out of some of these lighter kids’ games, they might find the lack of strategic choices limiting. A player gets to exercise some of this in the wolf role, deceptively moving tiles around that aren’t necessarily where they actually are. A younger kid might not even take an action like this, unless they forgot where their wolf is hiding. But as a sheepdog, you’re really just trying to get to a hidden sheep and hope you luck upon the wolf being in a space around you. It’s ok that this is a light game; I think it’s important to find an appropriate fit for a young player. I would simply caution that a third or fourth grader might not be as interested.
Overall, I think Wilson & Shep is a good, quick filler for kids. The artwork has a nice look and will draw kids into wanting to try it out. I really like that everyone gets a turn as Shep and Wilson. There can be a lot of interaction, depending on how many players there are. This will definitely be helped if the player count is lower; there’s just going to be less downtown between turns. I would direct parents to look elsewhere if their kids have shown interest in something a little more advanced than a light kids’ game.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – an attractive, quick-playing game of hide and seek.
• 4-5 player game might be too long for shorter attention spans
• Little strategy for younger, budding gamers looking for more