Sheep and Wolves

A game for two, six years old and up.

Game Pieces: twenty white Sheep (to be cut out and folded), two black Wolves (to be cut out and folded), game board, rules, story of the game.

The Board:

  1. The meadow is indicated by the solid lines.
  2. The Sheep pen is indicated by the dotted lines. When full, the Sheep pen holds nine Sheep.

Object of Game:

  1. Player One with the Sheep wins if he or she can move nine of the Sheep from the meadow safely into the Sheep pen.
  2. Player Two with Wolves wins if he or she removes twelve Sheep from the board. A Sheep is removed when a Wolf jumps it.


  1. All twenty Sheep are placed on the circles in the meadow.
  2. The two Wolves are placed on the Ws in the Sheep pen.

To Play:

  1. Player One with the Sheep makes the first move in a game.
  2. A player must make a move when it is his or her turn.
  3. Each move is made along a line, from one corner to another corner.
  4. Sheep move only forward, sideways or diagonally toward the Sheep pen.
  5. Once in the pen, Sheep may move in any direction, but may not leave the pen.
  6. Sheep may not jump other Sheep.
  7. Wolves move in any direction along the lines, from one corner to another corne:
  8. When a Wolf jumps, it goes over the Sheep and lands on the next corner, and the Sheep is removed. If there is no empty corner to land on next to the Sheep, th Wolf may not jump.
  9. A Wolf cannot jump two Sheep next to each other, but it may jump one Sheep after another if there are open corners to do so.
  10. A Wolf may not jump another Wolf.
  11. When facing a possible jump, the Wolf must jump the Sheep.
  12. If a Wolf faces two possible jumps, he may take either.
  13. If a Wolf faces a jump and does not make the jump, that Wolf is removed from the game by the Sheep. This Wolf is returned to the game when the other Wolf jumps another Sheep. The returned Wolf can be placed anywhere on the Board.
  14. If a player cannot move, the other player wins the game.

Sheep and Wolves

This game is known in Ukrainian as Wiwtsi.

"Wiwtsi" is Ukrainian for "sheep." It is pronounced "veew-TSEE."

This is an old Ukrainian game whose origins are lost in history. Nobody knows who invented the game, and it could be that people other than Ukrainians have similar games. These days, not many people know the game, and it is time we reintroduced it to the world.

The game was introduced to Danny Evanishen of Ethnic Enterprises by Gloria Atamanenko, who learned it from her father, Peter Chomiak. Peter, who emigrated to Canada, learned the game when he was working for some Ukrainian farmers near Prelate, Saskatchewan.

Peter Chomiak came from a village called Radelych, Drohobych County, Halychyna, Western Ukraine. He came to Saskatchewan in 1926 and worked as a farm labourer until the spring of 1930, when he had earned enough money to bring his fiance to Canada and go homesteading.

In those long and cold winter prairie evenings there was a need for entertainment. Peter enjoyed reading and he worked for a couple who loved it when he read to them in winter. Card games were played in many homes, but some people felt that cards were morally suspect in some way. "Wiwtsi" was definitely a game beyond reproach!

Although the game does not appear to be widely known or remembered, Gloria was once on a train in western Canada, when she taught it to a young bored fellow passenger. As she and the child were engrossed in making and playing the game, the conductor came by, took one look and said, "Oh, you're playing Wiwtsi!"

Gloria taught the game to her son Peter, and when Evanishen was visiting for Ukrainian Christmas in 2004, they showed him the game.

Now you and your friends can play and enjoy this wonderful piece of history!

© www.ETHNIC.BC.CA   May/2004