When you think of tabletop games that pit one player against several others, what comes to mind? Fury of Dracula is a masterpiece in that style of game, as is the classic Scotland Yard. What often does not come up in those discussions are games for young children … but all that changes with the arrival of Wilson & Shep from Blue Orange Games!
In this 2 to 5 player game designed by Roberto Fraga, one player plays as Wilson – a literal wolf in sheep’s clothing! Wilson’s job is to hide amongst the flock of sheep and not be discovered by the other players. Speaking of the other players, they share the role of Shep, a kind hearted pup whose sole job is to protect the flock from Wilson.
Inside the remarkably small box is a small pile of circular tiles, which all have identical sheep on one side, and playful sheep illustrations hiding underneath, with the one exception of Wilson, who is poorly disguised in a wooly costume that seems to be two sizes too small. The artwork in this game comes from Stivo, who has been illustrating life into games for over 25 years!
The sixteen sheep tiles are set up in a four by four grid, with the one Wilson tile set aside. Then the Shep players close their eyes, allowing Wilson to sneak into the game, replacing one of the sheep tiles. Wilson’s turns simply involve swapping any two adjacent tiles, aiming to either keep Wilson safe, or throw Team Shep off of his scent. Shep players take turns moving the wooden pup tile to one adjacent tile in any direction, including diagonal. The tile Shep lands on is then flipped over – if the revealed tile is Wilson, the game is over and the Shep Shifters win the match! If the revealed tile is not Wilson, it remains faceup, and the game continues. If Wilson can stay hidden for eight rounds, he sneaks away with a snack, claiming victory in this adorable little game. Everyone who wins the round claims a bone token, and after everyone has had a chance to play as Wilson, the game is over and players count their bones to see who has the most!
For a crazy quick video visualization of the game, check out our recent Little Big Thumbs clip, which clocks in at less than a minute:
LITTLE THUMBS : HOW IS IT FOR CHILDREN?
Hide and seek is a legendary game with young children, and we think it’s pretty brilliant the way that silly experience has been condensed into a tiny box with Wilson & Shep. It’s one of the quickest setups around, and most games only lasts for 10 or 15 minutes. While there isn’t much in the way of variety inside the box, it hasn’t hampered our enjoyment of the game, and I see it hitting the table consistently in the coming weeks and months!
BIG THUMBS : HOW IS IT FOR ADULTS?
While adults are not going to be rushing out to buy themselves a copy of Wilson & Shep solely for their own amusement, the game offers just enough to be worth the occasional game with adults. As the box fits inside a large pocket or small handbag, it could serve as a quick and easy coffee date game. It also has one of those nifty magnetic box lids, which serves as another ringing endorsement to use it as a travel game.
Speaking of magnets, I’m thinking about how I might magnetise these components for car or air travel. It’s the perfect size for this purpose, and it’d be lovely to not have the pieces spilling during moments of turbulence.
So if you’re looking for a tiny game that can encourage sneaky smiles and giggles from players both young and old, Wilson & Shep might very well be a perfect fit! Keep an eye out for this crazy cute Blue Orange Games title, or ask your local game shop to order in a copy!
Our thanks to the publisher for gifting us a copy of this game for review purposes.