Shepherds: a hand game


2 players, 15 minutes, Ages 8+

The_Wolf_and_the_Sheep

Your sheep have been scattered by a pack of hungry wolves! Round them up in the farmhouse with the help of your fellow shepherd and trusty dogs before they’re eaten.

Set-up

Each player secretly, and as randomly as possible, lowers any amount of fingers on one hand. Players then lower the opposite fingers on their other hand, so that 5 fingers are raised and 5 are lowered in total. Each finger represents a wayward sheep.

Gameplay

Both players win this co-operative game if they succeed in lowering all of their fingers within 12 moves.

Players take turns ordering one of two possible actions.

  1. A player can name a specific finger (players should agree beforehand which finger is 1 and which finger is 10). Both players must then lower that finger. If both players cannot lower that finger the game is lost.
  2. A player can indicate a horizontal direction with their head. Both players must then, if able, lower a finger and raise a finger next to it in the specified direction. For example, a player might lower 3 and raise 2. A finger may only be able to ‘move’ to an adjacent available finger. If a player cannot move a finger in the indicated direction they do nothing.

Players should not give any additional sort of information to one another during the game. Metagame strategies established in-between games, however, are encouraged.