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Fox in the Henhouse

Card Background - Day
Card Background - Night


Fox in the Henhouse is is a micro-game, for 2-4 players that can be played in 10-20 minutes. Each player is trying to accumulate the most Eggs (points) from their Hens. The Fox is a tricky scoundrel that shows up in all the wrong places and chases off the Hens and destroys their Eggs! It’s your job to keep the Fox out of your Henhouse and keep your hens safe so they can produce as many eggs as possible.

Quick set up guide

2 Players:

7 cards: 1 Fox, 1 Farmer, 1 Farmer’s Wife, 4 Hens (values 1-4)

3 Players:

10 cards: Add 1 Farmer’s Dog, and 2 additional Hens (values 1 & 3)

4 Players:

14 cards: All cards are in play: 2 Foxes, 1 Farmer, 1 Farmer’s Wife, 1 Farmer’s Dog, 1 Rooster, 8 Hens(2 sets of values 1-4)

Detailed Setup

2 Player

Follow the quick setup guide for 2 players. The seven cards are shuffled together and three cards are given to each player. You may look at only one card and must leave the remaining two face down in front of you. These two cards are called your Henhouse. The remaining one card not belonging to either player is placed in the middle, facedown. This space between players is called the Field.

3 Player

After following the quick setup guide for 3 players the game is nearly identical to the 2 player set up as each player has one card in their hand and two cards, face down, in their Henhouse and 1 card face down in the Field.

4 Player

Follow the quick setup guide for 4 players. There will be two cards in the Field instead of one.

Rules and Gameplay

Each player is allowed to take one action on their turn. An action consists of taking a card and placing a card. You may draw one card from anywhere you choose (examples include your Henhouse, an opponent's Henhouse, an opponent’s hand or the Field). Once a card from one of these places has been selected you must discard one of the two cards now in your hand (yes, that means you can put the same card back from where it came or give your old card instead). After taking an action the next player is free to go and will also take an action. In a two player game a player may not take back a card that was taken from their hand in the previous turn.

When each player has completed one turn it is considered the end of a day. Four Season Cards, each with seven calendar calendar days will be provided so after all players have taken a turn then a token should be from Sunday to Monday etc. After the Saturday round is complete then all points are totaled up and players receive Eggs (points) accordingly. The first Season will be the Winter phase. Cards will be shuffled and redistributed for the Spring phase (days 1-7), and again for Summer and Autumn, each time players will total points and acquire Eggs at the end of a season. After the Fall/Autumn season players will count their total Eggs from all four seasons and the winner is the player with the most Eggs.


When the round has ended each player counts up the total value between their hand and their Henhouse. The winner is the player with the most points at the end of five rounds.


-1 if ending in your hand

If ending in your henhouse then negative double the value of any Hen in the same Henhouse. (Players cannot lose Eggs which have been earned in previous Seasons)


0 points

Farmer’s Dog

0 points

Farmer’s Wife

0 points


0 points in hand

Negates value of Hens if in the Henhouse with the Rooster


If ending in your hand then double the value on the card*

If ending in your henhouse then value on the card

*Have you ever hear that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”?

Card Effects


Will force you to discard a Hen, if you are currently holding one in your hand. You may not discard the Fox unless you are also holding the Farmer, the Farmer’s Wife, The Farmer’s Dog or the Rooster.

The Farmer

Will allow you to discard the Fox if you currently hold it in your hand.

The Farmer’s Wife

Will allow you to discard the Fox if you currently hold it in your hand. After discarding the Farmer’s Wife all players must choose a card from their Henhouse, without looking at it, and shift it to the player to their left.

The Farmer’s Dog

Will allow you to discard the Fox if you currently hold it in your hand. After discarding the Farmer’s Dog that player may swap two facedown cards of their choice without looking at them.


Will allow you to discard the Fox if you currently hold it in your hand. The Rooster also negates the value of any Hen in the Henhouse with it.


Are worth points.


Playtested Tonight

I playtested the game tonight, first the 7 card, two player version with my daughter age 11 and then the full game with the whole family (adding my wife and other daughter age 16).

With explaining first and talking about the game after we were done, I think it was around 45 min total but I think the game itself was only 20 min or so max

It took us a round or two to work out what we needed to do, but after that it was smooth. The family gave it 4 of 5 stars and said it would be fun to play again.

I will need to make a better prototype soon!

Everyone thought the rooster should double the egg production if in your hen house but make you lose your highest value hen if in your hand... so we did that as a house rule.

We did not like the "feel" of the Wife and Dog special powers, as that gives away what card you were putting down and then everyone else would know what that card was.

Some off the cuff suggestions, none of these are "needed" as the game was fun as is:

  • Don't use the word "discard" in the rules... instead use "swap/switch/trade"

  • Change the Rooster scoring as above

  • If you have the farmer and his wife you can choose to "turn in for the night early"

  • Give the dog a unique power and/or scoring option (like can only be played in the field)

Because it is a small game, I am not sure this will sell as a Kickstarter. I think a publisher who already sells kids games would be a better fit. But either way, you should push on to getting a nice prototype made and then take 10-20 self-published copies to game groups or a convention.

We had a great time and I am sure we will play it again soon!


Your playtesting experience

So glad you playtested this for me! All my playtesting thus far has been with people I know so this is essentially my first blind test. I really appreciate the feedback! Your suggestion about the Rooster is definitely worth trying out. I'll play with it and get a feel for your house rule.

Could you tell me more about what you were thinking with:

"If you have the farmer and his wife you can choose to "turn in for the night early"

I'll play around with the dog. Perhaps the dog can be played in the field switched with someones hand but limit it from entering any henhouse. In another version of the game I have a Goose that can also chase away the hen and is worth one egg.

Well, this gives me some good information to work with. Thanks again for your feedback! Glad you liked the game!

Farmer & Wife

Basically, the farmer & wife rule would give a player one way to end this round before it normally would. If I know I have two hens in my hen house and the farmer is in my hand, I can look for the wife so I can end the round before everyone else is ready. This event would end a "season" and start scoring for that round. It was just a thought... and we have not tested it yet. Having a story type event happen when you have both the farmer & wife at the same time sounds cool.

Combos that sound cool

Farmer & Wife (End a round)
Fox & Hound (+5 points)
Dog & Cat (switch any hen house with the field)
Hen & Rooster (Reveal any players hen house to all players then hid again)

The issue with having activatable powers is that all players know what cards you have. That is why the farmer and wive one sounds good... the new round makes that not matter...

just brainstorming...

My 11-year-old asked if we can play your game again tonight, so that should make you feel good about where it is as a game!


The feels

Yes! That makes me feel fantastic! My favorite compliment thus far!

Thanks for the clarification. That's a very good suggestion and I'm interested to play with the Farmer/Wife end of season effect. You've given me a lot to chew on and I can't thank you enough for taking the time!


Here is what I made for the prototype... just a fun little game!


Pen and paper

Ha! Looks like the first one I made when I came up with the idea. Funny how some simple note cards or some cardstock is all we need when designing. I have a pack of them next to my bed and when an idea spurs I begin scribbling away.

Thanks again!

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut