In Longhorn, the players assume the roles of two particularly feared outlaws: Eagle Perkins and Jessie Artist Byrd. The aim of the game is simple: to steal cattle (and a few gold nuggets, if possible) to see who can amass the most money by the end of the game — or who can get his opponent arrested by the sheriff!
Longhorn is set up by shuffling the nine location cards and setting them up in a 3x3 grid. Nine tokens are selected randomly and assigned one to each location (if the Sheriff Token is in play, it must be placed on Nugget Hill), Finally, the colored longhorn cattle meeples are randomly distributed to each location, with each location receiving a specific amount. The starting player then chooses a location with four cattle, and places their player piece on it.
The game ends in one of two ways:
- If a player takes the sheriff token, they lose immediately
- If a player takes all 9 cattle of any one color, they win immediately (if they did both in the same turn, they lose)
On a players turn, they choose a color of longhorn present in their location, and steal all of that color. For each longhorn stolen, the player moves the player piece that many spaces and then flips it to signify that it is now the other player's turn.
If a location is cleared of longhorn cattle, the player who took the last longhorn must take the token present and activate it. Some are positive and some are negative. Once a space is cleared, it cannot be moved to in a future turn, though it can be moved through.
Giddy up, mancala cowboy!
Me and Ty played a best-of-three series:
Tyler took control early and pretty much lead from start to finish. The end cam when there will no legal moves left and after adding everything up, a win for Ty.
I was able to lead Tyler away from the cows I needed and get the rare all-nine-cows-of-the-same-color victory.
Game three was back-and-forth, but in the end the I was able to have four more cows than Ty at the end game tally...and won. I WON!
Since it's a blind draw, there are many tiles you can wind up with. Some let you take another turn, or steal cattle from your opponent, or even gold nuggets. However, this is the greatest piece. It's the Epidemic piece, and when you draw it, you can discard all the cows of any one color from the board, which will make the colored cow not score for the end game. Super powerful!
The cows meeples are great. Also, if you stand them up they look like spies!
The Good, The Bad, The Rating
This is a great little game. You can set up, play a couple games, and put it away in under 30 minutes most of the time. The thing that gives this game replayability is the tiles. There are more tiles to choose from than spaces on the board, so you can get many different tiles and cows in locations based on how it is set up. You will never get the same game twice.
I like the amount of time it take to play. Very quick to set up. As I said in the Downfall of Pompeii review, i like the mancala mechanic. Also, if you can active the epidemic piece, you can cancel a lot of points for your opponent.