Thinkfun has long been one of our go to stops for brainy games and puzzles, so I’m always excited to see what they’ll come out with next. With their fall releases came a new game called Goats’ Day Out which felt like the perfect blend of brainy and silliness for my nine-year-old, W. Thinkfun was kind enough to oblige and send us along a copy.
What is Goats’ Day Out?
Goats’ Day Out is a fast-paced tile placement game that calls on the powers of spatial reasoning as you take the part of a goat trying to eat as many strange items as possible (because goats). The game is designed for 2-5 players ages 8+ and takes about 20 minutes to play. It has a MSRP of $19.99.
Goats’ Day Out Components
Goats’ Day Out contains the following:
- 5 Goat Boards
- 1 Scoring Track
- 5 Score Keepers
- 5 Lap Trackers
- 5 Street Trays
- 66 Food Pieces
- 35 Bonus Pieces
- 7 Stones
- Instruction Booklet
Like the other titles we have from Thinkfun, the components for Goats’ Day Out hold up the quality expectations I’ve come to have. All of the pieces are made of a sturdy cardboard that should hold up for many sessions of family fun play. The artwork is all really fun, especially the goats and all of the little objects that they might eat. The Scoring Track and markers are super useful for tracking points and all of the pieces are designed in a way that’s easy to tell them apart. The only minor quibble I have is it would have been nice to include bags or box compartments to sort the small bits after they were punched out. The instruction booklet is organized well with helpful diagrams too.
How to Play Goats’ Day Out
Goats’ Day Out is very quick to teach and catch onto play. Don’t loose the booklet though, as it is helpful to keep track of what needs to be scored and how a two player game differs from a 3-5 player game.
Getting the game setup is pretty quick and easy, and I think eight-year-olds could easily handle it on their own. The following steps will get you ready to play:
- Each Player takes a Street Tray and a Goat Board at Random. Place the remaining ones aside.
- Each Player Takes a Score Keeper and places it next to the Scoring Track. The Matching Lap Tracker goes on the “0” spot in the center.
- Create a pile for the Bonus Pieces and a separate pile for the Stones, all Players should be able to reach them.
- Place all of the Food Pieces in the box lid and mix them up.
- The last Player to eat a snack is the first Dealer. They reach into the box lid without looking and randomly place 10 Food Pieces on each Street Tray in play.
- Players make sure each Food Piece on their Street Tray are uncovered and fully visible.
You’re all ready to eat all of the things!
The game runs pretty quickly over 3 Rounds as players try to score points based on what their goats “eat.”
A round has the following steps:
- Each Player looks at their Street Tray and silently choses (but does not touch) the piece they want their Goat to eat. When they’re ready, they give a thumb’s up.
- Once everyone is ready, the Players all take their chosen Food Piece and place in in the Goat Tray, aligning it with the grid (Tetris players will thrive here). Players can flip or rotate the piece, but once placed it cannot be moved in subsequent rounds.
- Once each Player has finished placing their Food Piece, the Players all pass their Street Trays with the remaining Food Pieces, to the Player to their left.
- Repeat steps 1-3 until there are no more Food Pieces. If you cannot place anymore Food Pieces before they run out, you still select a Food Piece to set next to your Goat.
Bonus Pieces and Stones
If a Player covers all of the dark squares in the Goat Board, they can take a Bonus Piece or a Stone. Bonus Pieces can be played on the Player’s Goat right away or held onto to play in a later (including in other Rounds). Stones must be placed right away and are played on an Opponent’s Board. They cannot be placed on dark squares though.
Once the Street Trays are empty, it’s time to score for the Round. Use this process to score and keep track of points on the Scoring Track. The Lap Trackers will help keep track once you’ve moved past 30 points:
- Remove Stones from the Goats and return them to the Stone Pile.
- Each Player gets 3 points for each Food Piece and Bonus Piece in the Goat.
- Bonus combos are scored for certain pieces. To count, the pieces must be touching on at least 1 side (diagonal does not count). Some pieces count for two colors. Count up who has the largest group of touching pieces for Red Pieces, Blue Pieces, Yellow Pieces, and Chomped Pieces. The winner of each category adds points equal to how many pieces were in that group. In the case of a tie, both Players get an equal number of points.
- Each Player looses a point for every uncovered space, but a player that covered every space gets 5 extra points.
Between Rounds do the following:
- Remove Bonus Pieces from Goats and put them back in their pile.
- In a 3-5 Player Game return all Food Pieces to the box lid. In a 2 Player game, set all of the used Food Pieces aside.
- Players pass their Goat to the left, in a 2 Player game, Players will select a new Goat that has not been used in the game yet.
- The Player to the left of the previous Dealer becomes the new Dealer.
The game ends once the 3rd Round is over and the Player with the most points wins.
Who You Should Play Goats’ Day Out
Are you looking for a fast, fun family game that requires you to use your brains but not in a way that’s crazy overwhelming? This is the game that hits all of those qualifiers. I particularly like how the game is fast and easy enough for eight-year-olds to play on their own, but not so simple that it will be boring for older players. There is some solid strategy with what pieces you pick and how to place them. W tested into Gifted with solid spatial reasoning scores, and it showed because he was able to completely fill up a board while I was not. I did win more points in a Round by picking Food Pieces that would give me several large groups of combo scores though. Cutthroat players will try to use Stones to sabotage each other, while others will try to use Bonus Pieces as insurance. Like I said before it’s decently brainy, builds good critical thinking skills, but isn’t so complicated that casual gamers are overwhelmed. There’s also a certain element of randomness as you don’t know what pieces you’ll have access too down the road so replayability is high.
Like other Thinkfun titles, it’s well made and designed with quality components. If you don’t have any Thinkfun titles yet, this just might make you into a new fan.
At $19.99 this is super affordable for a family game and great to gift as well. Couple this with a few snacks for a gift for another family or as a contribution to one of those holiday gift swaps and you’ve got a great combo. You can pick up a copy via Amazon or check out your FLGS that carries Thinkfun products.