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Wooly Bully
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Wooly Bully

English language edition

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Ages Play Time Players
7+ 30 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Philippe des Pallieres

Publisher(s): Asmodee North America

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Product Description

The wolf wants to eat all your sheep. Get as many of them as you can into a fenced-in field to protect them. Can you count on the hunter to keep the wolf at bay?

Product Information


  • 1 large cloth bag
  • 77 double-sided tiles
  • 1 rule book

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.3 in 3 reviews

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Fun for sheep and tile-laying fans.
March 15, 2004

Apparently farm animals are a popular game theme, especially pigs and chickens. However, sheep are starting to show up in greater numbers, and perhaps they will become the supreme Spielfriek animal. First we had War & Sheep, a clever two-player game, and now Wooly Bully (Asmodee Editions, 2002 Philippe des Pallieres) has joined the ranks. I first heard of this game when I was researching out War & Sheep, and the humorous name, as well as some interesting mechanics, caused me to wonder why I hadnt heard of the game before.

When you go to, the premier board game rating website, and read the comments on Wooly Bully, youll notice one game mentioned in more than half the comments Carcassonne. There is a good reason for this comparison, as players lay down square tiles, matching the edges just like in the very popular Carcassonne series. Yet Wooly Bully is a very different game faster, with possibly more strategy. I really enjoyed Wooly Bully, having a lot of fun with a game that has beautiful components and simple yet elegant rules. As with many tile-laying games, there is always the luck of the draw, but as long as you accept that the game is fairly light, I think the funny artwork and enjoyable play would appeal to most people.

There are seventy-seven double-sided tiles in the game. One of them, the village square, is placed in the middle of the board. Four more tiles, with a question mark on one side, and four sheep and shepherd of one color (black, blue, red, or yellow) on the other side, are shuffled and each player takes one and looks at it secretly. This tells them which color sheep they are. There are four more tiles that blatantly state what color a player is, but they arent used for now, and are set aside. The remaining 68 tiles are shuffled and put in a bag. Each player draws four tiles from the bag and holds them in their hand secretly. The player who most recently visited the countryside goes first, with play passing clockwise around the table.

On a turn, a player chooses a tile from their hand and plays it on the table next to any of the current tiles face-up on the table. A player can put a tile down on either side, as long as the sides of the tile match the other sides of tiles its adjacent to. The sides are: forest, village, blue sheep, black sheep, yellow sheep, and red sheep) The player then draws from the bag one tile for each adjoining tile the tile they place matches. The next player then goes. The tiles are placed in such a way as to put the sheep in different fields, each fences in and/or bordered by forest.

If a player plays a Wolf tile (a tile with forest on all sides and a picture of a wolf in the middle), next to a forest, the sheep in adjacent fields to the forest are in danger. If a player plays a Hunter tile in a forest, no wolf tiles can be placed there further. If a wolf tile is already in the forest, the hunter tile is placed on top of it, and no further wolf tiles may be placed there. Also, a player can play their secret tile, revealing their true color. This also allows them to place one more tile as a bonus tile. They then take the colored tile set aside at the beginning of the game to show everyone what their color is. The wolf, hunter, and bonus tiles may be played at any time even during another players turn. A player can just interrupt and play the tile(s), taking tiles from the bag as a result of matching up the sides of the played tiles.

On their turn, a player can choose to stop playing tiles effectively removing themselves from the remainder of the game. The first player to do this scores six bonus points, the next player three, and the third one bonus point. After the tiles run out, and/or all players have stopped playing, the game ends. Each player counts up the total sheep they have in their largest totally enclosed pen bordered on all sides by fences or forests with no wolves in them and adds this to their bonus points. The player with the largest total wins the game! Ties are broken by second largest fields, etc.

Some comments about the game.

1.) Components: The tiles are absolutely incredible in this game very well done. They are thick, laminated, and beautifully illustrated. (Not to mention they seem to be rather childproof also.) Some have complained about the double-sided tiles, and even when I played, some players mentioned that they would have liked it better if they could have placed them in front of themselves. I personally didnt have a problem with it, but I may try to improvise a fix, by making a tile holder for each player. Everybody agreed that the artwork was very cute and very nice. I was impressed at the abundance of different artwork shown for each and every sheep. Another thing minor of course, was that the grass under each color sheep was just a tiny different shade of green. This isnt a big deal, but it helped the whole board look better aesthetically. Each sheep also had a different pattern on their backs, helping tell the colors apart for those who are colorblind. Since the only major component in the game was the tiles (apart from the cloth bag which was suitable), I was glad that so much effort was put into them. All of this fits in a small, very sturdy box, with bright, eye-catching artwork.

2.) Rules: The game rules are stated very simply, on six pages including full-color illustrations, and helpful hints. Everything was very clear, and I was able to explain the game very quickly. Those who played Carcassonne before actually took longer to catch on, as they werent used to several of the differences.

3.) Carcassonne: The game really doesnt match up that much with Carcassonne, other than connecting matching tiles by the edge. Players are not placing meeples, not scoring points while the game is playing, and have a chance to play one of several tiles. However, the inevitable comparison with Carcassonne will always be made. I personally prefer a full-blown Carcassonne with all expansions added and I like that better than Wooly Bully (a little). But Id rather play Wooly Bully than vanilla Carcassonne because its faster, seems to have more strategy, and just looks so great when laid out on the table.

4.) Strategy: The hints provided in the rules really provide basic strategy for the game. One should try to close off others players fields, keeping them as small as possible. Or they can set it up so that the other player can never possibly finish a field. One can use the wolves and hunters, also but they seem more of a delaying tactic than anything else (not denying the use of that.) One of the biggest decisions a player must make is when to reveal their bonus tile and use it. If they wait too long in the game, then its use is greatly diminished. Yet if they do it too early, everyone knows what color they are.

5.) Deduction: Unlike other games that have players with secret colors, I found it quite easy to quickly deduce what color each of the other players were its impossible to do well and keep that fact hidden for a while. So if the secrecy is a factor, I wouldnt recommend playing. In fact, the rules state that each player in a two-player game should play with two colors each reducing the uncertainty factor, and almost turning it into a tactical abstract game.

6.) Time and players: I really recommend playing the game with its full compliment of four players, although three seems to work okay. Two just really didnt cut it for me. Ive stated several times that the game goes quickly BUT a paralysis analysis player (you know who you are!) would probably not do to well with this game. The game rules recommend using an egg timer to speed up people on their turns, but I found that merely reading this optional rule aloud helped hurry people along.

7.) Fun Factor: The game was a lot of fun although because of the thinking of the players as they determined where they would put their tiles, there was quite a bit of silence. This is no party game and despite the cute theme and cool tiles, there is a layer of strategy and thought here that some will enjoy, but that might bore others.

I really, really liked this game. I enjoy tile-laying games exceedingly, and here is one that is a light game whose strategy can border into the medium game range. Its a pleasant way for four people to pass some time and the artwork is just fantastic. Its a lot of fun for those who like to stand back at the end of the game and just admire the fields that theyve created. If you like tile-laying games at all, or sheep, then this is a must-buy as it moves quickly, is of great quality, and really doesnt cost that much. If youve never heard of this game before, give it a try youll find yourself having a good time, penning up those sheep.

Tom Vasel

by Kitty
cute sheeps!
September 20, 2003

I bought this game in Montreal so I got the french version of it. I didn't know this game at all when I first looked at it, but thought it looked really cute, and the tile laying machanic is very similar to carcassonne, so I took a chance. I really like this game, it's playable with 2 people like carcassonne, but ofcourse instead of the castle/city theme, it has sheeps in it, cute sheeps. Scoring is different than CC in thaty only your biggest lot counts so strategy is different too with cc, but it has the feel of cc. I really like this game, definitely recommand it to anyone who likes CC, or cute sheeps. =)

by Dr Jay
Baa Baa, Wooly, where are my sheep?
September 19, 2003

As the two of us started to play Wooly Bully, I found nostalgia with Carcassone tile game. In Wooly, you hold four tiles (printed both sides) in your hand and try to match to the initial village tile.

Then, the fun begins. You initially have one shepherd with the color of the sheep on the opposite side. You may declare that sheep color early in the game for a bonus tile. However, you may want to keep the color secret for a long period.

Your objective is to provide the largest sheep pen and achieve the victory points. Suddenly, you discover the game is not as easy as it looks. The tile you place has to match the sheep's color and the terrain on at least one side. You strive mightily to achieve a match on two sides or more to enable the drawing of more tiles. For example, if you can match the village terrain and one other sheep's color, you may draw two tiles (instead of one) from the bag provided. At one point, my opponent matched four terrain and sheep features to draw four tiles. Obviously, that gives you more leverage in deciding which tile to place on the next turn.

Eventually, I lost to the gray and white sheep that had the largest pen. The opponent and I became somewhat enamored with the game and decided to try each player having two different sheep and the largest pens added together again winning.

The second game proved even more formidable than the first. This game, I ended up with gray and white and orange sheep. As my opponent commented, you must be careful where the tile is laid, because it may be impossible to match the sides later. Both of us held wolf and hunter tiles, but the backside of those reveal four sheep of the same color. I commented to my opponent that some of the sheep look downright unhappy on their respective tiles. Some of the tiles show sheep kissing over the fence.

The second game went lively enough until my opponent (blue and pink sheep) achieved a rather large fenced-in herd. Then, the tables turned during the last play. My opponent, to cause difficulty, laid a tile with four orange sheep. It seemed impossible to fence in the herd (a possible 16 sheep) except I still possessed two fences with one orange sheep apiece. When all the tiles are drawn from the bag, you just have to rely on the tiles you possess in your closed hand. The two fences worked all right, but I was left with one blank space on the tiled board and no fence to finish the closure. Does that remind you of being so close and so far away? The opponent's final score was: Pink sheep, 10; Blue, 10. I received Orange sheep, 8; Gray and White, 9.

You have another good beer-and-pretzel game with Wooly Bully. The game is playable many times, because each combination is different from the previous one. Also, cutthroat competition can improve with four playing the game. Baa Baa, Wolly Bully, where are my orange sheep when I need them? Also, Drawing Bag, please give me another fence.

Other Resources for Wooly Bully:

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