Gather some farm animals in “Barnyard Bunch”


It’s up to you to help the farmer and Lilli, the shepherd’s bitch, to keep the Pile of barnyard to wander off the farm.

What is Pile of barnyard?

Pile of barnyard is a game for 1 to 4 players, ages 4 and up, and lasts approximately 15 to 30 minutes. It is currently available for purchase for $ 14.99 direct from HABA or check your FLGS.

Pile of barnyard was designed by Justin Lee and published by HABA, with illustrations by Anna-Lena Kuhler.

Pile of barnyard Components

In the box you will find the following:

  • 1 rulebook
  • 1 barn board
  • 8 path strips
  • 1 wooden die
  • 1 barn
  • 8 wooden animal pawns
  • 40 card deck

Like most HABA games, the components are simple and of good quality. The barn sign and path strips are brightly spaced apart to clearly mark the path with minimal design, while the illustrations on the cards reflect the various farm animals and are in a style that my kids found very. engaging.

The cards feature cute farm animals that my kids loved! | photo by Michael G. Pistiolas

How to play Pile of barnyard

You can download a copy of the rulebook here.

The goal

The object of the game is to prevent all the animals from leaving the farm. If you manage to go through the entire card game without any of the animals leaving their respective paths, then you win! However, if an animal escapes before the bridge runs out, you and the farmer are out of luck.

To install

To set up the game, place the octagon shaped barn board in the center of the table and randomly butt the 8 path strips, one on each side. Then, randomly place the 8 animals on each of the colored squares of the barn board. Shuffle the deck of cards and place them within easy reach of everyone. You are now ready to coral some animals!

Game setup is quick and easy | photo by Michael G. Pistiolas


In Pile of barnyard, a player’s turn consists of two parts: a roll of the dice and a draw of cards. During a player’s turn, he will roll the dice, and depending on the result, one of the following will happen:

  • If a colored face appears: Move all the animals currently on this colored space of one space in the barn.
  • If the farmer shows up: Move 1 animal 1 space closer to the barn.
  • If the dog is showing: move any animal to its starting position on the barn board. Good girl!

After that, you draw a card and perform the indicated action:

  • If it is an animal card: Move this animal away from a space in the barn.
  • If it’s the farmer: Move 1 animal 1 space closer to the barn.
  • If it’s the dog: move any animal to its starting position on the barn board. Here’s an extra treat for my sweet girl!
  • If it is a decoy (i.e. a carrot for the horse): Move that specific animal 1 space towards the barn.

After that, the next player takes their turn.

The turns are quick and easy in Pile of barnyard. | photo by Michael G. Pistiolas

End of Game

The game ends when either there are no more cards to draw or one of the animals has moved out of the way.

Why you should play Pile of barnyard

Pile of barnyard is a breeze with a high luck factor. In fact, the lid of the box says that “lucky rolls of the dice will attract the animals to the barn.” I appreciate honesty. Regardless of the fact that the outcome of the game is heavily influenced by random dice rolls and card draws, my kids and I really enjoyed this one!

The reason for this is the fun and straightforward nature of the game combined with cute illustrations, bright colors, and an awesome tabletop layout. When the tray is set up you have this colorful ray on your table with a 3D barn in the middle and 8 little animals, ready to run away. Then you start rolling and drawing, and the painting comes alive as the animals move back and forth on their paths, like the gentle sway of the wind through a field of wheat. The pushing and pulling of animals running away from the barn only to be lured back creates that fun tension throughout the game, especially when one of your backyard buddies is nearing the end of their path. Then, if luck is on your side, you roll a farmer or a dog, pulling that animal friend over the edge. It is very rare to have a turn where no animal is moving and this makes the game very interactive.

That being said, my only big negative is that the game can get repetitive. To win you have to go through the entire 40-card deck. This means that you will have 40 turns to roll the dice, move one or more animals, draw a card, move one or more animals. When you play 2 players with a three year old, that makes a lot of turns each! However, the game moves quickly and there will be times when an animal runs to freedom, ending the game sooner.

Also, if you are someone who wants all the components to stay neatly in place on the table, Pile of barnyard maybe not for you. My kids were constantly bumping into the paths, causing the whole board to move. I found myself regularly realigning the paths with the central barn plank. I didn’t mind, but wondered if there was an easy way to connect the paths to the barn panel, while still being able to take them apart to put them away in the box?

I have to note that I taught this game to my 3 and 6 year old kids, and since then I have been playing it at least once a day since last week. Indeed, the mechanics of Pile of barnyard are simple enough, that both of them have played it several times by themselves. And when the game is over, they put the cards and dice away and just play with the other components! And because of that, Pile of barnyard is a caretaker in my house. It provides a quick game that my kids can play, with or without me, with engaging components, a fun theme, and just the right amount of tension to keep you engaged despite the repetitive rounds.

Watch the cute animeeples! | Photo by Michael G. Pistiolas

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