Shephy (シェフィ)

Designer: Pawn

Artist: Pawn

Publisher: Bouken

Adventure Planning Services eh…. boy, that an interesting company. (Photo credits: Ryan Mayes@BGG)

Shephy came out in 2013 back in the day when the Japanese micro games were the hottest thing on the market. It was impossible to get a copy of Shephy and I had to make a deck for myself. Not quite sure why I did it since I wasn’t really a huge fan of solitaire games to begin with, but I am glad I did. With the recent resurgence of solitaire games and multiplayer games with solo modes, I had a chance to play several back to back games of Shephy and decided to review it.

Shephy has a pretty quirky premise as a solitaire game: Amass an army of good sheep to take on the black sheep over the course of 3 rounds. To win the game, one must have at least 1000 white sheep in your tableau by the end of 3 rounds. Otherwise, the evil black sheep will take over the world.

The game comes with several pile of sheep cards in different denominations: 1, 3, 10, 30, 100, 300 and 1000. As your flock grows, you will be adding more sheep cards in your tableau or exchange them for more valuable ones. To do that, you draw a hand of 5 actions cards and you play one, perform the action and replenish your hand. Cards that help you will allow you to increase either your size or value of your flock. For example, you can duplicate your highest value card, add up as many cards in exchange for one with a higher value, increase the rank of your card and so forth. Of course, there are also negative cards in the draw deck. These cards will ask you to reduce the size of your flock, eliminate the highest ranking card in the flock or the dreaded Shephion card which forces you to discard a total of 7 sheep cards. Fortunately, there are a lot of cards in the deck that help you neutralize the negative events. Some of the cards will remove the negative cards permanently while others will allow you to discard them only to be recycled in a later round.

That’s it. The game is won or loss when you reach 1000 sheep at the end of 3 rounds. You can of course record your victory conditions and try to beat your high score. I have gotten upwards of 3000+ sheep in some of my plays, so it is definitely possible to score well beyond 1000 sheep in the game.

Shephy is probably one of the simplest solitaire games out there. It is also not particularly hard or challenging. I found that it is too easy to eliminate bad cards while playing only the good ones first. Often times, it is also beneficial to hold on to the “duplicate the powers of one card” card and use it to eliminate two negative cards from the game permanently. Once those cards are out of the game, it is then just an exercise to see if you can maximize or sequence the positive cards for maximum output. Of course, you can make slight tweaks or impose some handicap to make life harder for yourself. I am just too lazy to troubleshoot that. So, if you want a challenging solitaire experience, this is not it. Try Friday instead.

Even though I don’t do solitaire games often, it is still nice to have some lying around and pulling them out on occasion. Shephy fulfills that role. It is pleasant, a little mindless but enough to keep you engaged. It is a light solo experience that chews up time and gives you something to mull over while deciding what to do for the rest of the evening.

Initial impression: Average

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