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Frequently Asked Questions - How to Play the COWBELL Card Game


1.      How do we start the game?
Deal 7 cards to each player.  Place the remaining deck of cards in the center face down.  Flip over the top card to create a “play pile.”  The person to the dealer's left starts the game by playing on top of that card.  If that card is any type of action or wild card, it applies to the first player.  If that card is the COWBELL, the first player picks it up and discards a card to start the game.  Continue play by discarding cards onto the play pile.


2.      What is a turn?
A turn for each player consists of discarding a card or cards from their hand to match the card shown on the play pile next to the draw deck.

3.      Do I have to draw a card to start my turn?
No.  But if you don't have a playable card, you must draw until you can make a play.  You can keep drawing even if you draw a playable card (you might have a different plan in mind!), but when you draw a BEEF IT UP or COW TIPPIN' card, you must play it immediately.


4.      How do I change scenes (colors)?
There are 4 scenes – BARN (red), FENCE (brown), FIELD (green) and SKY (blue).  
To change scenes:
a.      Play a matching cow character in a different scene at any time.
b.      Play a DON'T HAVE A COW wild card and call out a new scene (only if you don't 
have a cow in that scene).
c.      Play a HORSESHOE MAGNET in the current scene, then play another magnet from 
a different scene on top of it.  You must then cover the last magnet played with a cow in 
the same scene or a wild card to complete your turn.
d.      Play a BEEF IT UP wild card and play cows in a different scene.
e.      Play a COW TIPPIN' wild card, rotate hands, and then call out a new scene based 
on your new hand.

5.      Can I play a card on DON'T HAVE A COW?
No.  You call a new scene, and the next person plays on it.  You do not play a card on DON'T HAVE A COW as part of your turn. 

6.      If I draw a BEEF IT UP card, do I have to play it right away?
Yes.  If you are DEALT a BEEF IT UP card in the beginning of the game, you can play it at any time.  But, if you DRAW a BEEF IT UP card during the course of the game, you must play immediately.  If you can't play on the BEEF IT UP you draw (you only have one card left but no COWBELL), the next player can play on it.


7.      What does it mean to “rotate hands” when the COW TIPPIN' card is played?
A “hand” is the collection of cards you currently have in your hand.  To rotate hands, give all of your cards to the person on your right or left depending on the direction (counterclockwise or clockwise) shown on the card.  Following the direction on the card, give your cards away to the player next to you and accept the cards of the player on the other side of you.  If there are only two players, simply swap hands.

8.      If I draw a COW TIPPIN' card, do I have to play it right away?
Yes.  If you are DEALT a COW TIPPIN' card in the beginning of the game, you can play it at any time.  But, if you DRAW a COW TIPPIN' card during the course of the game, you must play it immediately.  Rotate hands as shown on the card, and then when you have your new hand, you can either call a new scene or keep it the same.  The next player then continues play in the scene you called or plays a wild card.

9.      When a COW TIPPIN' card is played, do we rotate hands AND change direction?
Yes, if the rotation is opposite the current direction.  After rotating hands, continue play in the same direction that the hands were rotated.  

10.      How can I get the COWBELL?   You can:
a.      Be dealt the COWBELL.
b.      Draw the COWBELL from the draw deck.
c.      Play a HORSESHOE MAGNET and steal the COWBELL from an opponent.  
d.      Play COW TIPPIN' and rotate hands to get the COWBELL from the player next to you.
e.      Be given a hand with the COWBELL in it after a COW TIPPIN' rotation.

11.      How many HORSESHOE MAGNETS can I play in one turn?
The first magnet played must match the current scene.  (Magnets are not wild cards.)  You can play as many magnets as you want on top of the first magnet but you must cover the last magnet played.  You can't leave a HORSESHOE MAGNET “exposed.”


12.      What does it mean to “cover” the HORSESHOE MAGNET?
When you play a HORSESHOE MAGNET, you must play another card on top of it from the same scene or a wild card to complete your turn.


13.      What if I play the HORSESHOE MAGNET and no one gives me the COWBELL?
It's still in the draw deck…or someone is CHEATING.  If the COWBELL is “out” (in someone's hand), it must be given to anyone who plays a HORSESHOE MAGNET. 


14.      What do I do when I have the COWBELL card?
Hope you can hold onto it while you play out your remaining cards!

15.      What if the COWBELL card is the first card flipped over to start the game?

The player to the left of the dealer picks it up, puts it in their hand and discards one of their cards to start the game.  If they are able to play their entire hand in that turn, they could win instantly!  For example, pick up the COWBELL card, discard a BEEF IT UP and then play on it a combination of matching cards and HORSESHOE MAGNETS, topped off with the COWBELL card!  That would be some luck.

16.      What do we do when the draw pile runs out?
Save out the card on top of the discard pile and shuffle the rest of the cards to create a fresh draw pile. Place it face down next to the last card played and keep going!  Re-shuffle every time you run out of cards in the draw pile to re-set the deck and play until someone wins.


17.  How do I win?
When you have the COWBELL card in your hand and you can play your last card, play the COWBELL on top of it in the same turn to go out of the game and win!  

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