Help for the Game of Mutton

Welcome to the network Mutton server. The challenge command is described here. Other commands are the same as for all pbmserv games.

  mutton challenge [-size=number] [-num_sheep=number] [-num_wolves=number] [-berserk|no_berserk]
  [-reveal|no_reveal] [-remove|-no_remove] [-escape|-no_escape] [-rifle|shotgun] userid1 userid2

starts a new game for two players.

The -size parameter specifies the board size (default 4 cells per side, range 2..8).
The -num_sheep parameter specifies the number of sheep (default 26, range 2..26).
The -num_wolves parameter specifies the number of wolves (default 4, range 1..num_sheep/2).
The -no_berserk option specifies that the Farmer may not shoot multiple suspects at once.
The -no_reveal option specifies wolves are not revealed immediately upon being killed.
The -remove option specifies that corpses are removed at the end of each turn.
The -escape option specifies that isolated wolves may escape for bonus points.
The -rifle option specifies that the Farmer shoots each suspect quietly (default).
The -shotgun option specifies that the Farmer shoots each suspect noisily, scaring its neighbours.


All is not well in the farmyard. The cock crows, the farmer wakes and sees another sheep eaten in the night. Grabbing his trusty gun he takes careful aim... but at which blood-spattered suspect? Can he shoot the wolves in sheep's clothing before they eat all his sheep?


A match is played over two games. Each game has a Wolf player, who scores 1 point for each dead sheep, and a Farmer who tries to shoot the wolves hidden amongst the flock as quickly as possible, thus minimising the Wolf's score.

After both players have had a turn at being the Wolf, the player with the highest score wins.

Start: The Farmer places 26 sheep labelled 'A' to 'Z' on the board and the Wolf secretly chooses four sheep to be wolves in sheep's clothing. The Wolf may find it convenient to choose four letters of a common word (e.g. "HIDE") so that the hidden wolves are easily remembered.

              1 2 3 4 
             / / / / 5
                    / 6
       a-  A B C D   / 7 
      b-  E . F . G   / 
     c-  H I . . J K
    d-  L . M . N . O
     e-  P Q . . R S
      f-  T . U . V
       g-  W X Y Z

Play: Each round consists of a Wolf move followed by a Farmer move, as follows.

1)  Wolf Move: The Wolf player must kill a sheep adjacent to one of the hidden wolves and indicate its death by turning the corpse upside down. Each immediate neighbour of the corpse (including the killer) then runs away to an empty cell that is not adjacent to the corpse.

If the -escape option is used, then instead of making a kill the Wolf may remove any hidden wolf with no immediate neighbours to make it escape for 3 pts.

2)  Farmer Move: The Farmer may perform one of the following actions:

If the Farmer shoots a wolf, the Wolf player confirms the kill immediately, in the time-honoured fashion: “Aroooo!”. If the Farmer shoots a sheep, the Wolf player should say “Baaa!” as pathetically as possible.

If the Farmer goes berserk and shoots multiple suspects then the game ends, and any surviving wolf eats the remaining sheep as the Farmer reloads. Multiple shots should be used as a last resort only!

Aim: The Wolf scores 1 pt for each sheep killed (eaten or shot) over the course of the game.

Each game ends when the farmer succeeds in killing all the remaining wolves. The Wolf scores 1 pt for each sheep killed (eaten or shot) over the course of the game. The Wolf's score is noted and the second game started with the Wolf and Farmer roles reversed.

The player with the highest score over both games wins the overall contest.


The following example shows a game in progress. Corpses are marked '*'; this position is not blocked from use next turn if the -remove option is used.

              1 2 3 4 
             / / / / 5
                    / 6
       a-  A B X M   / 7 
      b-  E . . . O   / 
     c-  G . * . L P
    d-  I V . . . . T
     e-  K F . . . N
      f-  Y . . . Z 
       g-  U C Q R 

Score: 5 (10 to beat).
Sheep   : A B C x E F G x I x K L M N O P Q R x T U V x X Y Z
Round  1:           +   x   +                       +         
Round  2:     + +           x                 +               
Round  3:       +   +           +   +                 x     + 

The table below the board shows a record of killings and sheep movement following each Wolf move. Dead sheep are marked 'x' in the top row and in the table, dead wolves are marked 'w' (unless the -no_reveal option is used) and sheep movements are marked '+'.

This information helps the Farmer deduce which animals are the hidden wolves. For example, animal F has moved twice and hence been adjacent to two killings; F should be one of the Farmer's prime suspects. Knowing which round the animals moved in can reveal further insights.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times can I go berserk?

Once. After that, you have either caught all the wolves, or the wolves eat all the remaining sheep while you reload.

Where can sheep run to?

To any empty cell that is not adjacent to the sheep just killed. Sheep may jump over obstacles.

Strategy tips



The Mutton Song

One dead sheep upon the grass, 25 to go.
One dead sheep upon the grass, 25 to go.
If any of the wolves out there should want to say "hello", there'd be
Two dead sheep upon the grass, 24 to go...

Iterate as required.


Farmer to place sheep randomly:
  mutton move board# userid password random

Farmer to manually place sheep in the order and positions specified:
  mutton move board# userid password f3,b2,a3,c4...

Farmer to place sheep using the sparse packing showed in the first figure above:
  mutton move board# userid password sparse

Farmer to mirror the first game's sheep placement in the second game:
  mutton move board# userid password mirror

Kill a sheep and move its immediate neighbour(s):
  mutton move board# userid password K:L-a2,E-f4

Shoot a sheep (or make an isolated wolf escape if the -escape option is used):
  mutton move board# userid password G

Shoot multiple sheep (berserk Farmer using a rifle only):
  mutton move board# userid password G,A,X


Mutton rules and design by Stephen Tavener and Cameron Browne, copyright (c) Cyberite Ltd 2008.

Official Mutton page:

Graphical web interface:

Implementation and Help file by Cameron Browne, October 2008.