Are you looking for a cute game that is deceptively simple, super fun, and offers a ton of replayability? If so, look no further than Wolf & Hound. For 2 – 4 players, Wolf & Hound is a light card game perfect for the entire family. It plays in 15 – 20 minutes, has various modes of play, and offers a bit more strategy than what is apparent on the surface.
Wolf & Hound is based on a popular card game in Japan, called Tamamooool, which is being brought to the States by Ninja Star Games, who also published the English versions of The Majority and The Majority 2. In Wolf & Hound, players take on the role of sheepherders trying to protect their flock of sheep from hungry wolves. Like any good sheepherder, you’ve got your trusty sheepdog as a companion.
The typical set up calls for four players, which will be divided into two teams. Teammates will sit across from one another and will receive three sheep to put in their pasture. Everyone is dealt four cards, and the start player plays a card then draws a card. In the basic game, there are two types of cards: one that controls the wolf, and the other that controls the hound. Each of the cards are numbered and the numbers correspond to how many spaces (one space equals one player area) the wolf or hound moves. If at the start of your turn the wolf is in front of you, it will take one of your sheep. Conversely, if you start your turn and the hound is in front of you, that faithful dog will return one of your lost sheep. There is definite strategy involved in where to place the wolf or hound on your turn. The luck of the draw will also play a role, however, as you might not have a super beneficial card to play. Also, you’ll have to keep your opponents in mind, as well as your partner, as the cards that they play can wildly throw off your well intended plans.
Consisting of cute little sheep standies, Wolf & Hound comes with some nice components and the Kickstarter campaign has stretch goals for even more/better components (more cards, standies, tuck boxes, etc) so check out the campaign page for more details. The artwork is done in a cutesy anime style that reinforces the lighthearted “take that” theme of the game. The rulebook is available for download from the campaign page, so you can check that out as well.
For me, Wolf & Hound hits a lot of sweet spots. Its duration, weight (or meatiness), and skill vs luck ratio all fall right where they should and therefore I really enjoy playing Wolf & Hound. And I think that even if the game only came with the basic Wolf and Hound cards, it would still be a fun game with a decent amount of replayability. I can see myself bringing out the basic version time and time again for new players that I introduce to the game. However, Wolf & Hound doesn’t just come with the basic cards, oh no. Instead, it comes with 16 (with stretch goals for more) different Wolf & Hound cards, some of which aren’t a wolf or a hound, but something different like a Tornado. These cards greatly, for real, greatly, increase the replayability of the base game. This is because the strategy of the game increases when these new cards are added. Instead of just activating for the player the card stops in front of, an advanced card might say “Target the player to your left”, or “1/2 movement speed”, or “You cannot play a card of a value 3”. There are even a few cards that change from a wolf to a hound (or vice versa) during play. Adding one or more of these advanced cards really changes things up; the whole dynamic of the game changes. Because of this, you can play what feels like a completely new and different game of Wolf & Hound every time you play it.
Wolf & Hound is a great game to pull out as an opener on game nights. It is fun and doesn’t take long to set up, teach, and start playing. I don’t think it will be uncommon for players to say “Let’s play one more time” after the first game is finished. Wolf & Hound is definitely in the buy column for me; I think it is a solid investment for the amount of fun you’ll have and the number of times it will make it to the table. And with the possibility of extra cards and components, backing Wolf & Hound on Kickstarter is a no-brainer.
((A prototype copy of Wolf & Hound was provided for the purposes of this review. Components, artwork ,etc are subject to change before the final production printing))