Contrary to the name of this card game we picked up at Goodwill, TikTok has proven that cows can dance. Maybe they got the name wrong because it was published well before social media was a thing. Maybe they hadn’t grown up on a farm. Either way, the name of the game still grabbed us and it was worth taking a chance for a couple of dollars.
Cows Can’t Dance was originally published by Gamewright Games in the early 90’s. It was republished at some point under the sub-brand, G2 Games. There were very few changes, and the rules appear identical. In this quick card game, you are trying to score the most points by pairing up dancers and even allowing the bovines to take part.
The game consists of fifty-two cards made up of cows, bulls, male and female dancers, and Miss Lana Legwarmers, a dance instructor. The entire deck is shuffled, and six cards dealt out to up to five players. Remaining cards are placed in the center of the table as a draw deck, with the top card flipped and set next to it. This represents the dance floor.
The object of Cows Can’t Dance is to pair up dancers from four different dance styles, one female and one male. On your turn you will refill your hand to six cards and then begin pairing up cards. Each pair must be one card from your hand and one on the dance floor. Take a card from your hand and match it with the same suit (dance style) of one of the unpaired dancers on the table. This pair is then put in front of you, face-up.
You may also choose to play a Lana Legwarmers card. She can be paired with any dancer, male or female, on the dance floor or may cut in to any pair of dancers owned by another players. When doing the latter, pair Lana up with either dancer and place them into your own area, moving the other single dancer to the middle of the dance floor. They are now available for a new partner. Note – once a Lana card is paired up with a dancer, they may not be split up.
Lastly, it is time to see if you can make a pair of a bull and cow. At the beginning of the game, it should be decided whether to play as “bulls ask” or “cows ask”. This simply means which of the two must be in your possession to ask for a pair up. If you have a bull (or cow), beginning with the player on your left, ask them if they have the opposite. If so, they must give it to you to pair up to your area. If not, you may move on to the next player and ask them the same question. You can only make one bull/cow pair per turn.
Finally, discard any one card from your hand and place it onto the dance floor. This ends your turn and play moves clockwise. Players continue making pairs until all cards are gone from the draw pile and all possible pairs have been made. Each person scores one point for every dancer pair they collected and two points for each cow and bull set. The person with the most overall points wins Cows Can’t Dance!
Cows Can’t Dance is no longer in print. You can find a couple different printings on eBay for around $12 shipped. It really is a mediocre game, so we’d wait until you can find an example at a thrift store or yard sale for much less.
Do you think cows can naturally dance?