Herd Mentality is the cow themed party game from Big Potato Games, released towards the end of 2020. Designed by Rich Coombes and Dan Penn, the game sees 4 – 10 players rustling cows, trying to stay as part of the herd for points. Taking around 20 minutes, the game sees players answering questions not how they would answer them, but how they think most people around the table would. However, is this like the majority of games or does it do something special to stand out? Let’s find out!
Herd Mentality is a race to 8 points, where players want to be part of the majority when answering the questions that come out of the deck. Passing everyone an answer sheet and finding everyone a pen/pencil, the game is ready to begin. Each round a card is flipped over from the deck and read aloud. Everyone then secretly answers the question, writing their answer down on their sheet. For example, the question may be “What’s the best Queen song?”, so one player might write We Will Rock You, whilst another puts Bohemian Rhapsody.
When everyone is ready, and as per the rules you are supposed to moo at those taking too long, the players’ answers are revealed. If there is a single answer that the majority of players have said, say Bohemian Rhapsody from the above example, everyone that wrote that gets a point. If there isn’t a majority no-one gets a point. If there is a single answer which has only been said by a single player they get the Pink Cow.
The Pink Cow doesn’t stop players participating, nor does it stop that player gaining points in future rounds. However, a player cannot win if they have the Pink Cow in front of them, regardless of their number of points. Therefore, if you have the Pink Cow you need someone else to be that completely odd one out to take the Pink Cow off of you. With points and potentially the Pink Cow awarded, the next round begins. Play simply continues until someone reaches 8 points. If two players manage to reach 8 at the same time, the game continues with 9 being the new goal and so on until a single winner is crowned.
Herd Mentality flips around the normal logic of party games like this. Often players are trying not to match or come up with something others won’t have thought of. Instead, players are actively trying to match and more interestingly trying to work out what others around the table might write. Even the multiple choice questions can trip players up, as they have to write down what they think will be the herd mentality and not necessarily their own answer to a question.
A brilliant example of this was when the following question came out of the deck: If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Everyone around the table thought what they would honestly answer with, but then looked up and around the table at the others. I was in the position of thinking Chinese but I knew others around the table wouldn’t be able to look past pasta and pizza. Italian turned out to be the majority, and if I had written down Chinese not only would I not have got the point I’d have gained the Pink Cow!
With 160 question cards in the deck you’ll be able to play around 8 games before even reusing a card. Unlike trivia games there will be little problem in reusing the questions, especially as soon as an extra player joins or a different player swaps in. Instantly, the same question could yield different answers and, importantly, a different answer could become the majority.
The questions aren’t all wide open, with some being a multiple choice, though all allow for light-hearted discussions after the answers have been revealed. Some are certainly weirder than others, each being a fun view into other players’ minds, even if the topics are about having robot arms or legs, or if cheddar cheese is better than The Beatles. The rulebook even suggests that players can make their own questions up, which can allow the game to break the ice and cause even more laughter.
Party games rarely wow gamers when it comes to the components, and Herd Mentality is at least average if not slightly above. It comes with a big deck of cards, that are of decent card stock and shuffle easily. You won’t need to be shuffling them regularly and they should remain in great condition for many, many plays and years. The game comes with point tokens, which is somehow above the standard – and in two denominations. The pen to hold the points works well, though the stand out component is of course the squidgy pink cow. When it comes to possible improvements, the sheets for writing answers are a bit small. Plus, a combination of whiteboards and dry wipe markers would have made for a better production quality.
Herd Mentality is the sort of game that can be brought out for a spot of fun at the start of a game night, or any family gathering. The rules are super simple allowing the game to hit the table, the lid lifted and play almost instantly commence. It’s hard to play a single game, or simply stop when someone reaches 8 points, a great sign that no one is ready to stop playing. With Christmas fast approaching I can see a lot of families and friends getting a lot of fun and entertainment out of Herd Mentality, and with it’s high replayability for years to come too.
(Editor’s Note: Herd Mentality was provided to us for the review by Big Potato Games. The game is currently available at your friendly local game store!)