Critical Play: Competitive Analysis (Long Cow)

Game: Long Cow


Long Cow is described as a “moo-momentous” card game with a theme revolving around constructing competitive cows. Throughout the game, players collect different body parts of a cow (head, middle, and tail) with the mission to build the longest cow possible, as the longer the cow, the more points are scored. 


Beyond drawing cards and constructing cow parts, other mechanics that are involved include using special cards against other players (ex. stealing from another player’s hand) and breeding different kinds and species of cows (ex. cross-bred cows). These mechanics help contribute to a special type of fellowship fun composed of both competition and collaboration. For instance, stealing other players’ cards via special cards creates suspense in the environment and inserts risk into the gameplay. On the other hand, the ability to crossbreed cows and “frankenstein” different body parts together to create a unique cow gives players creative freedom. The graphic design of the cards helps in these cases, as the visuals of seeing unusual body parts being stitched together to create a long cow is exciting. These mechanics create a fruitful, creative social environment to play in.

This game is differentiated in its focus on construction. The game is of an additive nature, where the more cards you collect and the more the game goes on, the more progress you make in constructing your cows. The way this is manifested (laying down your cards on the table rather than hiding them away) simulates an increasingly competitive environment and is unique from other card games where cards are constantly being discarded or shuffled. Additionally, Long Cow’s use of ribbons is unique. There are only three ribbons in the game and they are provided at the end of the game for players who have, (1) the first cow played, (2) the biggest herd, (3) the longest cow. I believe these add a special flavor to the game as an extra reward to shoot for and a concept that supports the theme of being a competitive cattle game.

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