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Game Review

Unexploded Cow

Ages 12 and up
Cheapass Games
Game © 2001 Cheapass Games
game in play

3-6 Players30+ minutes


In Europe, the year 1997 -- the top stories of the year were Mad Cows in England and unexploded land mines in France. So, this game offers a solution that could cure both problems... march the cows through the mine fields to make some cash!


Players are all given the same amount of cash to start -- the rules recommend $2000. Players must ante about $100 -- $50 goes into the pot and $50 goes into the bank. Three cards from the Cow deck are dealt to each player. The remaining Cow cards are stacked in the middle of the table face down, and the city cards are placed in a stack face down next to them.

A player's turn goes like this:

  1. If no city card is revealed, turn the top city card over.

  2. Draw two Cow Cards.

  3. Play as many cards as you want to from your hand.

  4. Roll the 6 sided die to blow up a cow.

Cow cards are either a cow or an event. Every card played has a price. If you play an event card, or a cow that goes into your field, you place the amount of money in the price into the pot. Event cards allow you to do special things like trade cows with another player, or draw extra cards. Cows are the most common cards. When you play a cow card you place it face up in front of you lined up from left to right -- the line of cows is called your field.

Players can play cows in each other's fields as well -- when this is done, the field's owner pays for the cow, and typically that player owns the cow, too. This is usually done with cows that have a negative dollar reward (you pay if it blows up, instead of receiving money.)

Once the all of the cards are played, the die is rolled. Starting in your field, you count from your rightmost cow (to the left) the number on the die. Counting continues through all players fields as necessary. The cow that is landed on explodes! The player who owns that cow collects the reward from the pot (or pays if it was a negative amount).

Some cows have special abilities -- General Cows can hand a bomb to another cow in your field, mechanic cows can defuse a bomb...and there are a few others. The use of the special cows is a lot of the game's strategy.

If on your turn, a cow explodes in your own field -- you collect the revealed city card. Each city card has a point value from 1 to 12. The game ends when the last city card is collected. When the last city card is won, any remaining money in the pot and the money in the bank is awarded to the player with the most city points.


an event

Winning Conditions:

A player wins the remainder of the pot and the bank if they have the most city points after the last city card has been won.

The player with the most cash at the end of the game wins.


Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up!The easiest thing to say about this game is "blowing up cows is fun!" The outlandish premise is politically incorrect enough to amuse most people, and the card illustrations have a subtle wit about them that really is funny when you realize what some of the cards parody.

This game is fast and easy. It's like playing a poker game, but it's more entertaining than that. The strategy can get to be cutthroat, but usually, players are struggling to keep cows in their fields to make money. The game can be played successfully with 8 year olds, once they understand the rules, in fact we did just that! They liked it, too -- the entire family that we showed the game to loved the game because it was so fun. There isn't any gore in the game... it's very PG-rated in a surreal sort of way.

The price is very good for this game -- Kudos to Cheapass Games for this. All you have to supply is fake money (poker chips or monopoly money work great) and a 6 sided die. There really isn't a good excuse to not buy this game -- it's very fun.

Where to buy:

Check your local game store -- Our copy cost about $8.

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