I got to say that I didn’t have high expectations heading into playing Don’t Tip the Cows!. I honestly don’t even remember when or how I acquired the game, but it was probably because I found it for really cheap at a rummage sale. The reason that I didn’t have high expectations for the game was that it just looked like another generic dexterity/stacking game. I wouldn’t consider myself to be the biggest fan of this genre in the first place, and on top of it they rarely differentiate themselves. There really wasn’t anything about Don’t Tip the Cows! that made me think that it would be anything different. Don’t Tip the Cows! may appeal to some people, but all I saw was another generic stacking game that had nothing new to offer the genre.
How to Play Don’t Tip the Cows!
Don’t Tip the Cows! includes three different games that you can play with the cows. The details of how to play each game are shown below.
Single Stack (2 Players)
Divide the cows equally between the two players. The youngest player will start the game.
The game begins with the first player placing one of their cows with its hoofs down on the table.
The players will then take turns placing one of their cows on the top of the stack of cows that has been formed. After the first cow; cows can be stacked on their head, hoofs, back, tail, or front. The cows that are placed should alternate colors.
The player that knocks over the stack of cows loses the game.
Double Stack (2 Players)
In this game both players place one of their cows hoofs down on the table near one another.
Starting with the youngest player, the players will take turns placing cows on one or both of the cows already placed on the table. The cows in the stack should alternate colors.
The player that collapses one or both towers will lose the game.
Three Player Game
Each player is given six cows to start the game. Each player will place one of their cows hoofs down on the table.
Starting with the youngest player, the players will take turns (clockwise) placing one of their cows on one of the three stacks.
When a player knocks over one of the stacks, they are eliminated from the game. The last player remaining wins the game.
My Thoughts on Don’t Tip the Cows!
Honestly I don’t have a whole lot to say about Don’t Tip the Cows!. To its very core the game is a very basic dexterity/stacking game. Players take turns taking one of their cows and stacking it on top of the tower of cows that has already been created. The objective of the game is to place your cows carefully so as to avoid knocking over the stack. The player that knocks over the stack is eliminated from the game. The last player remaining wins the game.
We have taken a look at a lot of different stacking games here on Geeky Hobbies. Games from the genre rarely differ from one another, and that holds true for Don’t Tip the Cows! as well. Honestly the only thing that differentiates the game from every other stacking game is the shape of the cows that you end up stacking. All of the cows are the exact same shape. The shapes in theory are kind of interesting since they have a couple different flat surfaces that you could use as a base. In practice though this really isn’t the case.
The game has few restrictions on how to place the cows. Therefore you can pretty much stack them however you want. Outside of trying to make the stack significantly more unstable for the other player(s), there really is no reason to deviate from the standard placement strategy. Basically you want to alternate the pieces so the head of one piece is on the back of the next cow. This creates the most stable tower as the pieces share a larger surface area. You could place the shapes in a different way, but due to their shape and weight the tower will have a hard time supporting cows placed in a different pattern. You could successfully place a piece in a different way making it considerably harder for the next player, but you are much more likely to knock the stack over yourself.
This is honestly the biggest issue that I had with Don’t Tip the Cows!. The game is just kind of dull. There really isn’t much of a reason to deviate from the best way of placing the cows. Thus players just take turns placing cows in the exact same way over and over again until the tower eventually tips over. I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of the “stacking” genre of dexterity games. The fact that there is no variety to Don’t Tip the Cows! though makes it worse than most other games from this genre. Maybe if the shapes were a little different the game could have been a little more interesting as there would have been more choices for what you could do on your turn. Instead you are just left with a really dull game.
As for the components I don’t think they good either. The game basically just comes with 18 stacking cows. The cows are made of a pretty sturdy plastic which means that they could take a beating. The problem is that they are pretty heavy which hurts their ability to actually stack. I am curious if the pieces were a little lighter if they would have given players more options for how you could stack them. Otherwise the cow artwork is just thin pieces of cardboard that are slid into the grooves on both sides of the plastic pieces. These cardboard pieces will slide out from time to time. The artwork is really generic, and every cow looks exactly the same. On top of all of this the game comes in a circular box that kind of looks like a ice cream carton. The box is considerably larger than it needed to be and its odd shape makes it harder to stack with other board games.
I honestly didn’t really care for Don’t Tip the Cows! and I don’t see ever playing it again. The game does have two aspects that could make it appeal to some people though.
First is just the cow theme. The theme is just cosmetic, but I could see it appealing to people who really like cows. I don’t think there has ever been another game made that involves stacking cows.
The bigger selling point is just the fact that the game is really easy to play and it plays quickly. If you have ever played a stacking game before, you could jump right into the game. Those who haven’t played a game from the genre should still pick up the game really quickly. I would guess that the whole game could be taught within a minute or two. On top of this Don’t Tip the Cows! plays really quickly. I would guess that most games will only take around five minutes to play. Because of these two facts I could see the game appealing to younger children or people that rarely play board games.
Should You Buy Don’t Tip the Cows!?
I didn’t have high expectations for Don’t Tip the Cows! before I played it, and it didn’t disappoint. Simply put it is another very generic stacking game. Take turns placing cows and hope that the other player(s) tips over the stack before you do. That is the whole game. The genre is littered with a ton of other games with the exact same premise, and Don’t Tip the Cows! does nothing new at all. This isn’t helped by the fact that all of the pieces are exactly the same, and are designed in a way that really limits how you can stack them. This leads to a really dull game that I don’t plan on ever playing again. People who really like cows or want a really simple game may get some enjoyment out of it, but there are games in this genre that are much better.
I honestly have a hard time recommending Don’t Tip the Cows! as there are many other games in this genre that are more enjoyable. The only people that I would maybe recommend the game to are those who really like cows or those looking for a really simple game that can be played with younger children.