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Fleeced! is a superb classic-in-the-making board game. There's no moving parts or assembly required, there's no DVD or electronic gadgety business and not a AA battery in sight! "Just how games used to be!" - you all cry! Yes, yes it is.
After ten years in development (so I've read) Nick Park, the genius behind the Wallace and Gromit empire, brings to you 'Fleeced!' the Wallace and Gromit board game. It's for kids and adults and gameplay is for 2 to 6 players. I got it before Christmas in Debenhams for £25 (steep right?!) read on...
The idea of the game is to rustle sheep either from their hideouts or from other players and make it back home. Rustle as many sheep as you can before all the sheep have been rustled back to the characters' homes and the winner is the one with the highest score (the little plastic sheep all have different point values on them). Some are clearly more valuable and more rare than others, and I have to say that things got quite aggressive around the table when a black sheep came out of its hideout and everyone made a mad dash to steal it... black sheep are worth 6 points you see! When sheep are rustled from their hideouts you are instructed (by a card) how many sheep were hiding and this is the amount of little plastic sheep you place in the middle of the board in the 'Village Green'. You can then rustle the sheep for yourself - blow your whistle and roll the dice to see how many sheep you can take and line them up behind you on the board. You then have to try and make it all the way back to your home with all your sheep in tow but be warned - other players will be making every effort to steal your sheep! Gameplay ranges from quite frantic (rustling and stealing etc) to quite slow when you're waiting to land on the right spot so you can free some sheep onto the board. This is the only downside in the game.
Each player gets a character to move about the board - Wallace, Grmmit, Wendolene, Shaun, Preston and Feathers McGraw and you get a bag full of little plastic sheep. I have to say that the build quality of the pieces is solid and the board is of very high quality. The entire game is nicely manufactured and it's an impressive package which really is worth the steep price tag (£25 - ouch!). We made sure we got our money's worth out of this game over the Christmas holidays and we enjoyed playing it very much. So don't be put off by the price too much, it really is worth it. My only gripe is the red plastic bit inside the box that holds all the pieces. It's quite thick and tough (quality, strongly made...) but it makes getting the pieces and cards out difficult and little red marks have rubbed off onto Shaun and Gromit! A slight design oversight I think.
The rules were a bit bambooziling on first read. There's cheese cards, and whistles to blow and it really isn't like any other game you've played. Once you understand the rules, gameplay is quite straight forward really and my parents (who are smart people but have gotten to that point where board game rules, microwave meal instructions and text messaging takes a while to fully sink in!! - no offence) they got into the swing of it just fine though and we all had a fun time. (I had a good enough time just messing about with the sheep I had at the side of the board! standing them in pyramids, making them talk in funny voices, some of the sheep have worried expressions... maybe I was paying them too much attention... maybe that's why I only managed to win once... oh well!)
If you like games with a bit of strategy behind them then this one is for you. It's a roll of the dice game so you don't need any general knowledge skills and you don't even need any background knowledge of Wallace and Gromit to play although if you've seen some of the Wallace and Gromit films and TV shows then that obviously would give you more appreciation of the quirky illustrations on the board and the funny looking character pieces etc. But it's not essential!
Fleeced! is an excellent family board game to have stashed away for rainy days, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays or anytime you feel like rustlin'!