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The Official Road Game of Plucky Survivors sounds simple... you count cows... but you'd be amazed how cut-throat and competitive it can get. It's a great way to wile away the hours as the scenery flies by but be warned: friendships and loyalties will be tested.
Basic Rules - Two Players
The cows must be real, live cows. Pictures, statues, signs, or other inanimate versions of the animal do not count. Similarly, it is worth noting that a bull is not a cow. It's a bull. Admittedly it can be difficult to tell when the four-legged beasties are in a far off field and you're whizzing by at 70 miles per hour, but try to be honest about it.
For your cows to count, you must count them off out loud - individually for the passenger and by twos for the driver so he or she doesn't have to take their eyes off the road for too long.
Now here comes the kicker... pass a cemetery on your side of the car and your score gets wiped out - you go to zero and start over. Players should be on the lookout for cemeteries on their opponent's side of the car since some people (who shall go nameless) have been known to conveniently "not notice" the big, freakin' cemetery that is right outside their window.
To be fair, the passenger should be limited to cows that can be seen ahead and immediately to the side as the vehicle passes. No craning of necks to count cows after they have passed since the driver can't do that unless you want to wind up in a ditch.
Likewise, some drivers have been accused of cheating by speeding up when a field of cows appears on the passenger side or slowing down when one appears on the driver's side. Some drivers merely suggest this is playing defensively, however it is still frowned upon. Stopping the car, turning around, and backing past a herd so they will be on the driver's side is also discouraged.
The game is over when you hit the official city limits of whatever burg in which you are ending your day's journey. The reason for this is that in our experience, there are usually a lot more cemeteries past the "Welcome to..." sign than there are cows and this has ended in a heartbreaking 0-0 score for us more times than we'd like to acknowledge.
Whoever has the most cows wins!
The Police Car Variant
The way this works is if you see a police car on your opponent's side of the vehicle, you must shout out "You should flag down that cop because I've just stolen all your cows!!" Your opponent's cows are then added to your score and your opponent goes to zero.
Official city or town police, sheriff, and highway patrol all count but things like school police, parking enforcement, or park rangers do not. It must be some sort of vehicle - occupied or otherwise, moving or parked - such as a car, truck, or motorcycle. A cop walking down the street does not count.
Important: the police vehicle must be OFF the road on which you are traveling. This means parked on the side of the road, in a parking lot, at a cross or parallel road, or similar. This makes it a little more fair for the driver since most of the police vehicles you see on the road are passing by on the driver's side while on the same road.
The only advice here is to not make up a rule that will cause you to be adding, subtracting, or changing your score every other mile. For instance, don't make a rule that says "pass a church and...". There are a LOT of churches out there. It'll end in tears. In other words, stay away from common things for your arcane rules.
Three or Five Player (AKA Cow-Horse)
The Horse player (no pun intended) is allowed to count horses on either side of the car (there are surprisingly fewer horses than you'd imagine) but watch out because cemeteries on either side of the car count as well.
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