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When my daughter turned three I decided that I wanted to start introducing her to board games. I opted to buy board games that had some learning qualities as that way it could be both fun and educational. I bought a selection of games the majority being memory and counting games. One of those games, containing both of the learning functions named above was this game that I am reviewing named counting sheep.
The game comes packaged in a very attractive box as you can see from the picture above. This is a relatively decent size but it is small enough to store with ease. The content within the box consists of the following; 3D sheep counter, 20 sleeping animal cards, 7 sheep cards, 4 cockerel cards and 4 playing boards.
The aim of the game is pretty simple and straightforward. You can have between 2 and 4 players, dividing the 4 boards evenly between the players. The boards each have 5 animals on each; the cards contain a mixture of sleeping animals, sheep and roosters. These should be mixed up and placed upside down in front of all of the players. The idea of the game is to each take it in turns to pick up one of the cards in front of you. If you pick up a sleeping animal you must match it up with one of the awake animals on your board, if however you don't have that particular animal on your board you place it back down and it's the next players turn. If you pick up a rooster which says cock-a-doodle-doo on the card you must put one of your already collected cards back down along with the rooster. The last type of card is a sheep, some of these have 2 sheep on and others just have one. If you pick one of these up you must turn the sheep counter and add to it the number of sheep that are on your card. The game continues until all 10 sheep have been added to the board. Finding all 10 means it's the end of the game and the person with the most animals left on their board at the end is the winner.
I think that the game is very well constructed, it can be a little bit difficult for a young child to get their head around all of the rules at first but my daughter did soon pick it up and she is now able to play a complete game with me without having to ask questions as to what to do. There really isn't much skill involved with the game per say it more about the luck of the cards but it is a fantastic game for teaching children counting and improving memory. My daughter really enjoy turning the little wheel to add the sheep and each time she counts them to see how many more sheep we need to get before the game is over. She has also become very good a memorising where the cards are, for example if she has to put one back, or if I have picked one up that is on her board she is very well at recognising where they are positioned between the other cards.
I am a real fan of this game; it's definitely one of the more popular ones in our house. I would definitely say it is more aimed at younger pre-school children as they are more likely to get some educational value too but I wouldn't rule it out for older children joining in too. My daughter's cousins have just as much fun playing this game with my daughter as she does.
One of the biggest and really the only downside to the game is the turning wheel. It doesn't come with the necessary items to keep it together. The wheel needs assembling and this requires attaching the back number wheel to the board at the front. There are two holes in the middle of each but the plastic attachment that comes with the game does not properly fit causing it to fall apart several times during the game. I have overcome this little problem by using an assortment of elastic bands and hair bobbles but I shouldn't really have to do that, the game should have already come with the necessary components that were working properly.
Saying all that, I would still recommend this game. I think is fantastic in terms of entertainment and educational wise. I would say in total the game takes about 20 minutes to play; sometimes it's shorter depending on how quickly the sheep cards are found. This game can be bought from amazon for only £11.49 which I think is exceptional value.