Box Size: 10.25"x7.75"x1.75"
Game invented by Maureen Hiron.
It's time for the Annual Extraterrestrial Cow-Pulling Contest, and aliens from all over the galaxy have come to watch the event! Go head to head with your cross-cosmos rival to see who can abduct three Cosmic Cows first!
Roll different combinations on the dice to choose which tractor beam to use in order to abduct the cows. With a good mix of strategic offensive and defensive manoeuvres, decide which combination of the unknowing bovines to pull toward your spaceship or away from your opponent's! The player that pulls three cows into their Danger Zone wins, in this dicey game of alien tug-of-war!
Object of the game and review by Ben Rainbird, Actor and Games Enthusiast follows:
OBJECT OF THE GAME:
Use dice combinations to pull cows across the board towards your Win Zone (the orange dots towards the alien space ships at either end of the board). The first player to have 3 cows in their Win Zone at the same time is the winner.
IN THE BOX:
Game board, rules in English, Spanish and French, two sets of five dice, and ten very cute little cows.
You start by placing the cows in the green dots at centre of the board, and set the board up so that each player sits at one end. Each player gets a set of 5 dice - one gets the black set, the other gets white. Players roll one die each, and the highest scorer gets the first go.
The player rolls all 5 of their dice. You need at least two dice with the same number (two of a kind) in order to move the cow that is sitting on the “beam” (numbered line) with that same number. For instance, if you get two fours, you can move the cow on Beam 4. If you only have one number you can’t move. However, you can re-roll any of your dice up to 2 times, setting aside the ones you don’t want to re-roll, so that you can attempt to get more of the same number and so move the cow further. 3 of the same number means you can move the cow 3 spaces, 4 means 4 spaces.
If you get 5 of the same number, then the cow in the “Super Beam” (in the middle of the board) moves straight into your Win Zone, unless he’s already in the other player’s Win Zone, in which case he just goes back to the middle. If you get two pairs of the same number, you can move the cows in the appropriate beams two spaces each.
In addition to the numbered beams and the Super Beam, there are the Straight and Chance beams. To move the cows in these beams, things are done a little differently.
The cow in the Straight Beam can be moved 3 spaces if you get 4 dice with consecutive numbers. 5 consecutive numbers (which means all your dice) let you move it 4 spaces.
The cow in the Chance Beam is moved by adding up the scores of all your dice. If it totals to 10, 11 or 12, or 23, 24 or 25, then you have a “Small Chance” and can move the cow 3 spaces. A “Large Chance”, when the score is either 5 through to 9 or 26 through to 30, moves the cow 4 spaces.
Play continues until one player has three cows in their Win Zone, or you yourself are abducted by aliens...
Cosmic Cows is a fast-paced game, and very easy to get the hang of - and it’s nice that the rules are very thoroughly explained. However, once you’ve played a few turns you won’t find yourself having to refer back. Though the box recommends Cosmic Cows for children of eight years and over, its simplicity means it certainly wouldn’t be hard for younger children to grasp the principles.
Luck is the central mechanic of any dice rolling game, but strategy comes into Cosmic Cows when you consider that you can try and pluck cows away from your opponent if they get too close to their Win Zone for comfort, and of course they can do the same to you. This encourages a balancing act between snagging cows for yourself and preventing others getting too near your opponent, and inevitably, enjoyable tension develops as both players vie for the possession of one particular bovine. Of course it’s not the most strategic game you’ll ever play, but it’s at an absolutely ideal level for children, and the little plastic cows seal the deal when it comes to holding their interest. They’re cute, cartoony little fellows, and they perfectly compliment the light feel of the game.
The only real limitation with the game is that only two players can play at a time, although there is nothing to stop you playing with two teams of two people each, with team members taking turns to roll the dice. I can see it being most popular with parents who want to play something a bit more interesting than Snakes & Ladders with their kids, and maybe couples looking for a light way to pass 20 minutes or so on a lazy afternoon.
Were I eight years old, this is the board game I’d want to get out on a rainy day, and quite honestly I still find it a lot of fun at the ripe old age of 22. I strongly recommend it.
Distributed exclusively in the United Kingdom and Ireland by David Westnedge Ltd.