WBG Score: 7/10
Player Count: 1-4
Published by: AEG
Designed by: Neil Kimball
Ready to wrestle with your nightmares, count some sheep and score some winks? This new push-your-luck game from AEG packs more than the art and box suggests!
Let’s get the main issue with this game sorted right away. This is not just a children’s game. Ok, the art and name very much suggest otherwise, and sure, it works well with children. But this is more than simply that. This is a push-your-luck style game in the same vein as Quacks and King of Tokyo, that works well for all ages, and the game does have hidden depths. Not Mariana Trench depths, but more than a puddle!
With that said, my two children absolutely loved this! The highly visual mechanic of moving your Sheep around the board, trying to avoid the nightmare was instantly understandable for them both on concept and strategy. So much so, I have failed to beat them yet! But what’s new there? My Son often likes to remind me of the games he beat me on his first turn when I had played them many times before! And with Sheepy Time there was no exception!
So how does this play? Well, much like the name suggests, its time to sleep. We play as the sheep that us human’s often count when trying to get to sleep. We need to move our Sheep around the board and jump over the white fence as often as we dare! Each time we do that, we edge closer to victory, and help more people drift off to dreamland.
But beware! There is a nightmare lurking! And if it crosses your path two times or crosses the fence itself, you will wake up. How long you dare to keep circling around avoiding the bad dreams is up to you. But time it right and you could very well just be the sheep that caught the most winks and reach your pillow.
The scoring mechanism has a fun twist whereby you are aiming to move your player token up the board by scoring winks to meet your pillow, but points reset each round. At the start of the game, your pillow starts on the 40 space. The game is won whenever any players token meets or surpasses their pillow. The player marker moves forward whenever any players sheep crosses the fence, takes winks from the card they played, or scores via the dream tiles, but if you don’t make your pillow at the end of the round, all your current points are lost!
But don’t despair, at the end of each round, either when all sheep have been woken up, or have decided to call it a night themselves, fearing the nightmare is coming too close, players will look at their position on the score board and move their pillows closer to them. How far your pillow moves is dependent on the player count and your position. For example, in a four or three player game the player in first moves their pillow 10 spaces back, and in a two-player game they would do this eight spaces. The player in second would move back eight, seven or five spaces in a four, three or two player game respectively. In the solo game, you move the Pillow back one space for each five winks scored.
This makes the chance of victory become more likely as each round progresses. I found the game usually goes two to four rounds. This is perfect scoring mechanism for a push-your-luck game, because if you fall behind, you will need to chance your luck even more in an attempt to catch up. I like games like this that show you visually where you are on the leader board, encouraging players to take more risks if they are in last place. There is no fun in playing it safe, or taking risks when you don’t need to. Its also frustrating not knowing and having to take blind guesses.
Playing the game works very simply. On your turn, players will play one card from the two in their hand. These cards will allow them to move their sheep around the board, scores winks (points) or catch some Z’s. Catching Z’s allows players to place one of their Zzz tokens onto one of the Dream tiles around the board. If on a later turn your sheep land on a dream tile with one of your Z tokens on it, you can then activate that tiles power.