Review – Wollmilchsau

2-6 Players, Aged 8+ with a 15-20 minute playing time
Wollmilchsau - The box artwork
A review copy of Wollmilchsau (released in 2011), designed by Liesbeth Bos was kindly provided  German publisher Zoch GmbH.

Wollmilchsau is an awkward name to the English tongue and in translation means something akin to ‘all-purpose’ or ‘allrounder’. The idea of this dice throwing card game is to call out the name of the wanted animal. Not sure how this ties into the games name – you are not the only one! Essentially this is a game of speed of recognition that has some similarities to other Zoch games Geistesblitz amongst others.

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game ComponentsSetting Up The GameHow To Play The GameWhat Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

The Game Components
66 Cards – 11 of each animal type, Pig, Dog, Cat, Sheep Cow and Mouse.
Wollmilchsau - The six animals, the deck of cards and the dice
1 Dice - With images of the six animal depicted on the cards.

Setting Up The Game
To set up, shuffle the deck of animal cards, and then divide it into two face-up piles of cards. Take one card from the top of one deck, and insert it face-down halfway through that deck.

How To Play The Game
One player rolls the dice. The first player/s to call or yell (!) out a correct animal will score.
Wollmilchsau - The Dog card & dice
The three rules for calling out are that:

  1. That you call out the name of the animal on the dice except;
  2. If the animal is on one of the face-up cards; in this case, players must call out one of the animals not visible on the top of the decks except;
  3. That the animal named correctly in the previous round cannot be called out in the current round.

If two or more players call an animal's name correctly at the same time, they all score.

Note – When multiple valid animals are called the largest correct animal is the one that players cannot name in the subsequent round.

Wollmilchsau - The Mouse card & dice
If you score, you either:

· Take one card from the top of one of the face-up decks and place it face up in front of you, or

· Turn all the face-up cards in front of you face down to make them safe.

If however you called out an incorrect animal, you must discard any face-up cards in front of you; and if you have no face-up cards, then you must turn one safe card (if you have any) face up to put it at risk again.

Once the face-down card in the deck appears, you split this deck to create a third face-up pile, increasing the difficulty of the game.

Once all the cards have been claimed, the game ends and the player with the most cards wins whether they be face up or safe (face down).

What Did We Think?
Wollmilchsau - The Cat card & dice
Personally I like  Geistesblitz  but am rubbish at it and am roundly trounced by both my wife and one of our young friends at it every time I play. Largely I sit looking at things trying to work out what to grab whilst they steadily accumulate more cards. It seems to me that Wollmilchsau offers a similar level of torture, a torture that children seem to delight in it – just not this one!

I personally also had difficulty with the images on the dice with the Mouse and The Dog in particular appearing to me (I am also colour blind so the different colours on the dice didn’t seem to help me) to be confusingly similar – maybe that was the intention. I suspect that this is a game where children will beat adults more often than they lose – the advantage of young brains.

Wollmilchsau - The Pig card & dice
With our game it also took longer than the suggested 15-20 minutes as there were so many wrong calls – this may have been because we had too many adults playing!

Again this made the game which I was sadly not enjoying seem even more interminable.

On the up side the artwork is as amusing as we have come to expect with Zoch’s games.

Who Do We Think Will Like It?
Our experience is that (like Geistesblitz) children will give any adult a good run for their money once they understand this game; so families with children looking for a game that helps with speed of thought / recognition and where the need to shout out is be part of the attraction will probably delight in this game.

It has an age on the box of 8+ but we thought this would work for children aged significantly younger although it might be wise to reduce the number of cards so the game can be played in a time frame that will keep the little ones engaged.

If you liked this review then other games I have reviewed can be seen here

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