My flock consists of four sheep of rather indeterminate breed. I'm guessing they're ewes, but it's been a bit hard to check on that.
They have black faces, white coats, and a staple that varies widely based on the sheep's state of anxiety. Sarah's gift also included a most unlikely companion: a wolf.
This week, the flock came out of its cardboard pen to spend time with me. And this is what I discovered.
Those of you with Lego-obsessed kids may already be familiar with Wild Wool, aka item 3845 in the Lego pantheon. It's a thoroughly entertaining, albeit wildly flawed portrayal of how we get wool, for ages 5 and up. You'll find it wherever Legos are sold (including the rocket-ship empire) for upwards of $27 new. You can also find used ones on eBay.
After a few minutes of smugly winging it, then frowning at the results, glancing at the pictures, disassembling everything, and trying again according to the instructions...
you have your flock.
There it is, happily grazing, minding its own business.
When lo. The wolf appears.
In one nod to accuracy, the mere presence of that wolf terrifies the sheep. But what ensues is fortunately not a brutal and gruesome physical attack (as evidenced by the lack of red Lego pieces). They never even come into physical contact with one another. Instead, the wolf simply scares the wool right off the sheep. Poof. Off it goes.
And that, my friends, is the whole objective of the game.
Roll a die to determine your course of action. You can grow wool, swap your sheep with an opponent's woolier one, nudge the wolf over to an opponent's sheep to scare it (and take the wool), or shear your own sheep.
Your goal is to amass as much wool (by which I mean those blocky white pieces) as you can. The person with the most wool wins the game.
While the steps taken to achieve that objective may dwell squarely in the realm of fiction, the objective itself is quite possibly the most important thing people can do.
Now go play!