Sunday, May 3, 2015

Branding Longhorn a Top Two Player Game

Designed by Bruno Cathala
Published by Blue Orange Games
2 Players
10 - 15 Minutes
Variable Movement, Set Collecting
(8/10 Stars)

I am a huge fan of great two player board games.  With a full-time job and kids at home, there just isn't as much time for getting a group together for games.  Often it is just my wife and I who will pull out a game.  Some other 2 player games we enjoy are Jaipur and Pagoda.  Longhorn published by Blue Orange Games and designed by Bruno Cathala (also designer of Five Tribes) is now another favorite 2 player game of ours.

Longhorn is a quick (10 to 15 minutes) strategy game for 2 players in which each player takes on the role of a cattle thief.  The game mechanics and components are really great.  The theme works well in the game and the action tiles fit that theme well.  That being said, the game still feels pretty abstract to me.

The game's mechanics are what really make this game a winner.  Simple to teach and play, and yet providing some strategic depth.  The game plays off of a somewhat similar idea from Bruno's other game, Five Tribes, although still very different.  Both games have an aspect that to me seems like a bit of a tip-o-the-hat to Mancala, which works out nicely because the game mechanic while fresh has a similar well developed feel to it.

Pick up all the cattle of one color and move the player token a number of spaces equal to how many cows you took.  The game ends if someone is caught by the Sheriff, a player is able to get all the cattle of 1 color (9), or what happens usually - the player token doesn't have any legal moves.

The other interesting thing about this game is that as you take cattle of one color, you are getting more points, but you are also degrading the value of that cattle too!  Cattle are only worth $100 times the number of that cattle color left on the board - so if all the cattle are taken, you may have 6 cattle in that color, but they would all be worth $0.00!  Players also need to be careful with placement of the player token to think ahead of possible future moves for your opponent.

The game is just the right length for this type of game and the box is perfect size for the components and for travel.  The cattle meeple are fun and if you like 2 player strategy games, I highly recommend Longhorn and that is How Lou Sees It!

(I was provided a free review copy of this game from Blue Orange Games.  There is a more detailed video review below.  If you liked this video review, please like and follow me!)