"I like the back-and-forth of the COWBELL card..."
How to Play COWBELL™!
If you're a visual learner, check out the COWBELL™ video.
If you're like my Mom, and you prefer to READ THE RULES, you've come to the right place.
And here are some helpful FAQ's from folks who've played!
There are 57 cards in the COWBELL™ deck, including 9 different cow characters, each appearing on 4 different scenes: BARN, FENCE, FIELD or SKY.
The Cows: Cowabunga (4), Brown Cow (4), Cash Cow (4), Cat Cow (4), Holy Cow (4), Cow Poke (4), Mad Cow (4), Sea Cow (4), The Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon (4). Meet the Cows >
Action Cards: Horseshoe Magnet (8), Milk It (4)
Wild Cards: Don’t Have a Cow (3), Beef It Up (3), Cow Tippin’ (2)
And the COWBELL™ card (1)!
The Object of COWBELL™
Be the first player to go out, but you can't go out without the COWBELL™! Even if you only have one card left, you can't play it without the COWBELL™. Draw and keep playing. When you have the COWBELL™ in your hand and you play your last card, play the COWBELL™ card on top of it - YOU WIN!!
There's only ONE COWBELL card in the deck. You must have it in order to play your last card and go out of the game.
How to play COWBELL™
COWBELL™ is for 2, 3 or 4 players.
1.) Deal 7 cards to each player.
2.) Flip the top card of the "Draw Deck" face up next to the draw pile to create a "Play Pile" and start the game.
3.) The person to the dealer's left goes first.
4.) Any action on the opening card on the "Play Pile" applies to the first player. If it’s the COWBELL™, the first player picks it up and discards a card to start the game.
5.) You do not have to draw a card to start your turn. Players take turns discarding cards by matching the scene or the character or by playing an action or wild card.
6.) If you don't have a play, draw until you do.
Take Your Turn:
For example, play a cow that matches scene, or play the same character.
6.) When the draw deck runs out, save out the top card from the play pile, shuffle the deck and continue play until someone goes out by playing their last card along with the COWBELL™.
The Rules of COWBELL™
1.) Match the scene or character on the Play Pile, or play an action card or wild card.
2.) A turn consists of playing one card at a time unless a specific card allows you to play more than one card at a time. Follow the scene by playing cow, Horseshoe Magnet or Milk It cards in the same scene or change the scene by playing a matching cow character or Wild Card. If you don't have a play, draw until you do!
3.) Play Milk It in the same scene or on another Milk It card to force the next player to draw two cards and lose their turn unless they can also play a Milk It. There are four (4) Milk It cards in the deck; one in each scene.
"Stack" the Milk It cards... when you play a Milk It, the next player has to Draw 2 UNLESS they also have a Milk It, which they can play and force the next player to Draw 4. If that player also has a Milk It, they can play it and force the next player to Draw 6... and so on!
4.) Horseshoe Magnet draws out the COWBELL™ from your opponents. When you play a Horseshoe Magnet, you collect the COWBELL™ from the player who has it. If YOU have the COWBELL™ you must give it up to the person who played the magnet. If a magnet is played and no one gives up the COWBELL™, it could still be in the draw deck, OR the person who played the magnet might have it...that's a great strategy to "hide" the COWBELL™ early in the game! There are eight (8) Horseshoe Magnet cards in the deck; two in each scene.
Play a magnet - GET THE COWBELL!
Play a Horseshoe Magnet that matches the current scene. Take the COWBELL™ card from an opponent if it's out. After you play a magnet, you must cover it with a matching scene or wild card to complete your turn. You can play an unlimited number of magnets from different scenes in the same turn, but you must cover the last magnet played. You can't leave a Horseshoe Magnet exposed, so plan accordingly and make sure you have it covered with a matching scene card or wild card before you play it. If you can't cover a magnet you played with any of the cards in your hand, you must draw until you can.
Play a magnet in the matching scene - for example, BARN Magnet on BARN Cow. Collect the COWBELL if an opponent has it. You must cover the magnet with a matching cow card or wild card to complete your turn. For example, cover it with a BARN Cow.
Examples of covering the Horseshoe Magnet you played in order to complete your turn:
Play unlimited magnets in one turn! You must cover the last magnet with matching scene or wild card.
5.) Wild Cards are playable on any scene, but under different circumstances:
Don't Have a Cow
Play this card to call out a new scene only when you don't have a cow in the current scene. There are three (3) Don't Have a Cow cards in the deck.
Play Don't Have a Cow when you
don't have a cow in the current
scene in your hand. Place the
card on the Play Pile and call a
new scene. The next player then plays on it.
Play this card on any scene to rotate hands and change the direction of play as shown on the card – clockwise or counterclockwise. If the card shows clockwise, players will pass their hands to the left. If the card shows counterclockwise, players will pass their hands to the right. If you are dealt or passed a Cow Tippin' card, you can play it at any time. If you DRAW a Cow Tippin' card from the draw deck, you must play it immediately. After the hands are rotated, whoever played Cow Tippin' can change the scene or keep it the same. There are two (2) Cow Tippin' cards in the deck, one (1) clockwise and one (1) counterclockwise.
Pass hands to
Pass hands to
After passing hands, the Cow Tippin' player calls a new scene or keeps it the same and play continues in the direction shown on the Cow Tippin' card.
If you DRAW a Cow Tippin' card, you must play it IMMEDIATELY.
Beef It Up
Play this card on any scene and play up to 3 cards matching scene cards or matching cows in one turn. You can include magnets and play MORE than 3 cards because you always have to cover the last magnet you played. You do not have to play exactly 3 cards on Beef It Up; you must play at least 1 card. The next player can play on any exposed Beef It Up card. If you are dealt or passed a Beef It Up card, you can play it at any time. If you DRAW a Beef It Up card, you must play it immediately. If you can't play on it (e.g. you only have one card left and no COWBELL™), the next player can play on it. There are three (3) Beef It Up cards in the deck.
If you DRAW a Beef It Up card, you must play it IMMEDIATELY. If you can't (or elect not to) play on it, the next player can.
Examples of combinations playable on a Beef It Up card:
Matching Scene Cards (up to 3)
Combo of Matching Scene or Character Cards (up to 3)
Combo of Matching Scene, Character or Horseshoe Magnet Cards - must cover last magnet (More Than 3 Possible)
How to Keep Score - "Cow Chips"
Each card has a value.
Game winners earn "0" cow chips because they went out with the COWBELL and played all their cards!
Losers add up "cow chips" for their remaining cards after each game.
Keep score over a series of games to determine the ultimate COWBELL™ Champion.
Smallest pile of cow chips wins!
Any Cow = 5 cow chips
Milk It = 15 cow chips
Horseshoe Magnet = 15 cow chips
Beef It Up = 25 cow chips
Cow Tippin' = 25 cow chips
Don't Have a Cow = 25 cow chips
Single game times vary from less than 5 minutes up to 20 minutes.
>> Pay attention to where the COWBELL™ is when it’s revealed. If YOU draw it, act cool. Don’t moo. It’s best not to give it away...until you have to.
>> Don’t be afraid to use Cow Tippin’ to rotate hands, and change the direction of play, even if you have the COWBELL™. You might have to let it go to get it back!
>> Play multiple Horseshoe Magnets in the same turn to reduce your card count - be sure to cover the last magnet played with a cow in the same scene or any wild card.
>> Play more than 3 cards on Beef It Up by combining a series of matching Horseshoe Magnets and covering the last one!
>> If you have to draw a lot of cards in one turn to make a play, don't panic! You can get rid of multiple cards in the next few turns if you...play your cows right!